A/N: This is an example of an after-dinner speech, a humorous speech presented to a group of people. This is the first one that I've ever written, and I'm terribly proud of it. It was my final for Debate class last year, and I got an honorable mention for it in a fine arts competition. Everything in it is true, except that I really do want to be a civil rights attorney when I grow up. I swear, this speech is the only thing my classmates will remember me for; it's been six months and I still hear jokes about it.
Delicious by I, Myself
Ever since I can remember, I've been asked what I want to be when I grow up.
When I was four, I wanted to be a fireman. Someone tried to explain to me that I couldn't be a fireman, because I was a girl. I'd have to be a firewoman.
I refused to consider this. I was going to be a fireman. It sounded better.
Then I decided that when I grew up, I was going to be King. I had a friend named Curtis King at the time. My plan was simple: I would marry Curtis, which would make me Queen. I would then wait until he died, which probably wouldn't be long, as Curtis had a rather self-destructive habit of eating play-dough. After Curtis was dead, I would be King. Again, someone tried to explain to me that this wouldn't work. First, Curtis was not royalty, and second, Queens do not ever become Kings even if their husbands die.
"Oh, yeah?" I countered. "What about the President? If he dies, then the Vice-President is President."
They told me that it wasn't the same, because kings are always men, and I was a girl. I'd have to be Queen.
I yelled at them and told them that when I was King I could call myself whatever I wanted. I also told them that my first royal proclamation would be to throw them into the dungeon, where they would eat moldy bread and drink water with little dead bugs floating in it. They would sleep on old straw and would always smell funny.
I spent an enjoyable few weeks ordering my friends around. Everyone who disagreed with my commands was thrown into the dungeon.
In second grade, I decided that I would be a meteorologist. Apparently that was an acceptable career choice, because no one ever tried to dissuade me from it. I went on happily declaring my future profession until I discovered, in the fourth grade, that a meteorologist does not, in fact, study meteors.
I was quietly humiliated, but quickly overcame it by deciding that I would instead be an archeologist, go to Denmark, and study the bog people. The bog people are mummies over two thousand years old, who have been ritually sacrificed and thrown into bogs to rot. I had a book with glossy photographs of the mummies, which I happily showed to everyone.
"The really great thing about the bog people," Iexplained, "is how well the bogs preserved them. See?" I would point at the picture. "Look at his stubble!"
Sometimes the viewers would turn roughly the same shade of green as the bog people.
One day I read an article on the peat bogs of Denmark. It was about how they were all being covered up with pavement and turned into suburbs and strip malls. I cried as I thought about all the poor bog people, trapped in the peat beneath the food courts of Denmark… I would never get to study them.
I did not have any interest in studying other kinds of lost people or civilizations, and realized that I was not meant to be an archeologist after all. I would be a mathematician!
Then I failed Algebra One.
I ditched my latest career plans with few regrets, since I'd come to heartily loathe math. In the next few years I jumped from one idea to another; freelance writer, professional revolutionary, corporate CEO, mad scientist, Supreme Court Justice… There was even an embarrassing stint when I wanted to be a civil rights attorney, but we're not going to talk about that right now.
Then, about a month ago, I finally decided.
When I grow up, I'm going to be a pastry. One of the gooey ones with cream inside, chocolate outside, and an obscene amount of calories throughout.
I went to the college counselor to ask what kinds of courses I should be taking now in order to prepare myself for my future career.
She said that depended. Did I want to be rich and heavy or light and fluffy?
Light and fluffy, I said.
She recommended that I take a few PE classes, yoga, Art History… that kind of thing. Better throw in a couple of study halls, just to make sure Art History doesn't overbalance you.
Today is the last day of school. I'd like to take this moment to say goodbye to everyone. Next year I start on my new, improved schedule that will help me on the path to achieving my goal. Currently, I'm trying to get underwater basket-weaving accepted into the curriculum.
Some of you might say that being a pastry isn't nearly as good of a career choice as some of my previous ones, but I think it's important to have a job that you can enjoy and be proud of.
Some people want to be president when they grow up.
I want to be delicious.