1981. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg team up to make a film about a world-traveling, whip-snapping, fedora-wearing archaeologist.
1988. Yours truly, at seven years old, watches the aforesaid film for the first time on television. It, and its oft-maligned sequel instantly become my favorite movies.
1989. The intrepid archaeologist returns to the big screen to save his kidnapped father, and both team up to foil a nefarious plot.
I was among those lucky to catch the third film's theater premiere. As I watched the titular character's daring exploits on the big screen, my life plans cemented as quickly as they had formed, at the tender age of eight years old. My purpose in life was to become an archaeologist. I was so certain of this that one of my recurring nightmares at the time was of my adult self (decked out in a leather jacket and fedora, no less) falling prey to an ancient booby trap while plundering the contents of an Egyptian pyramid. It was scary because I knew it could happen, and probably would happen frequently, over the course of my treasure-hunting career.
Knowing that it would take many years of instruction and lots of money, I begged my parents for a hat. The whip and revolver could come later, I figured, once I was old enough to drive. For my purposes as an enterprising eight-year-old, a length of rope and cap-gun sufficed.
Throughout high school I clung to my childhood dream of looting the treasures of antiquity. Imagine how utterly my plans got turned upside down on learning that there were laws against just this sort of behavior. Things only got worse when I found out that most archaeologists spent their lives unearthing buried pottery shards with toothbrushes.
"Impossible!" I shouted, storming out of the Archaeology 101 lecture with my fists upraised. My handwritten notes whirled at my heels in the breeze of my passing.
Sadly, all that I had heard was true, but abandoning my childhood dream was among the best decisions I've ever made. A close second would be pursuing a degree in liberal arts, because, you know, those types make loads of money.
We call that sarcasm, kids. They don't teach you to use it as well as we do in any school. No, it's something you pick up after you've run through miles of irony.