Unrealistic Career Expectations – Indiana Jones

I love being a teacher; I really do.  I consider myself incredibly blessed to be able to do what I do every day – to work where I work, to teach what I teach, and to see my students wrestle with the BIG questions the study of Theology demands of us – if we take it seriously – each and every day.  I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to leave my job for another (unless I could be a Ghostbuster (and I mean an actual Ghostbuster, with a proton pack, PKE meter, traps, and a cool car like the Ecto-1 NOT one of those lame “ghost hunters” on Discovery or TLC with infrared cameras and a stupid compass)).  However, the profession of teaching is often presented (both cinematically and literarily) in…let’s say less than accurate ways.  And, while I may dig his hat and love his adventures, there are few worse offenders of this than Indiana Jones.  So Indy, let’s see how you misled a young Michael about what his future career would entail.

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Not me. / Photo Credit – Raiders of the Lost Ark

Before we begin, let’s be clear.  I am not a professor of archeology.  I’m not an archeologist of any kind.  I love history but I have never patiently dusted and dug it up from the dirt myself.  So I’ll grant my experience shouldn’t be exactly like Indiana Jones.  BUT in Raiders Of The Lost Ark he’s identified as a “professor of archeology and an expert in the occult.”  While I’m not digging and dusting my way through history’s physical remains, I do have degrees in Religious Studies (which the occult would be a subsect of) and History (which is the whole focus of the non-digging part of archeology).  So we’re close.  In the interest of accurate reporting, I will say that I have a brown leather jacket.  I own khaki pants.  I’m a big fan of not buttoning my shirt up all the way (it makes me feel like someone’s choking me).  And I use a satchel every single day during the school year to carry my school stuff (and my life-sustaining insulin and blood sugar machine).  But sadly, there’s not a lot of similarities after that.  So, either Indian Jones is simply way cooler than me (which is possible) or the film has – GASP! – exaggerated the profession.  You see:

I’ve never had the army seek my help in finding something ancient and biblical before Nazis get it even though I TOTALLY taught about the Ark of the Covenant when I taught our Scripture class.

I’ve never packed a whip OR a revolver before going on a trip.

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Not me.  Not my whip.  Not my revolver. / Photo Credit – Raiders of the Lost Ark

I’ve never crisscrossed the globe with a strong-willed and sassy ex-girlfriend who still holds a lingering grudge.

I’ve never even had ONE cool monkey in a sweet vest follow me around let alone soothe my angst when I feared my friends may’ve died.

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Siiiiiiiiigh…not me. / Photo Credit – Raiders of the Lost Ark

I’ve never used a bazooka to threaten to blow up any important biblical artifacts to try and save a girl.

I’ve never even seen the Ark of the Covenant in person much less found it and I’VE NEVER PUNCHED EVEN ONE NAZI BEFORE EVEN THOUGH NAZIS TOTALLY DESERVE PUNCHING.

I’ve never been to Shanghai let alone spent time in a flashy nightclub there due to a quasi-questionable sell-my-services situation with some shady businessmen.

I never find myself embroiled in fights much less zany, madcap ones.

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Not me (thankfully). / Photo Credit – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

A plane I’ve been riding in has never crashed (that…uh, okay, I’m actually okay with this one) leading to the local population asking me to help them recover their village’s sacred stone that someone stole from them seeking “fortune and glory.”

Despite my being (in my opinion) an enjoyable dinner companion, I’ve never shared a single meal with a Maharishi much less a meal comprised of the most awkwardly white/Westernized idea possible of what mysterious/foreign food India holds…like a dead snake stuffed with live bugs, a soup of human eyes floating in a broth that’s (presumably) at least part blood, and actual chilled monkey brains served inside the actual monkey heads for dessert.  If I was, I’m pretty sure I’d just lie and say my blood sugar was too high to eat any of it anyway.

I’ve never been attacked after having had a single conversation about Hinduism and the importance of the Goddess Kali.  I teach a whole unit on Hinduism in my Religions of the World class and nothing ever happens to me.

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Not me.  Not Hinduism.  Just…no. / Photo Credit – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Not once in my life have I ever been attacked by a creepy cult leader utilizing a voodoo doll version of myself…much less attacked by a creepy cult leader who is supposedly practicing a millennia-old religion that has never had any connection to voodoo dolls at all in any point in its history in a region of the world that has never had any connection to voodoo or voodoo dolls.

I’ve never faced off against a large group of (terribly depicted) native people on a long, ol’ rickety rope bridge.  I’m cool with this one too.  I have a weird thing about heights where they sometimes bother me (odd for someone who roofed houses as part of his first “real” job) and I’m 100% sure being on a rickety ol’ rope bridge would FREAK ME OUT.  

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Not me.  I’d be FREAKING OUT. / Photo Credit – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

In all fairness, I was never a boy scout BUT my youth never contained anything remotely like finding treasure hunters on a camping trip, stealing an artifact from them, a chase through the desert, a fight on a circus train (or any train for that matter), and I was never given a cool hat from someone I robbed who got the item I took from them back and told me I learned a valuable lesson about losing.  I once had a urinal explode on me while on a camping trip though.  We were on a cross-country trip with my Youth Group when I was in high school and we were staying at the Flintstones Campground in South Dakota one night.  I went to the bathroom, did my thing, and when I flushed the pipe above the urinal (thankfully the one bringing the clean water to flush with) totally blew open.  A huge arc of water hit me before hitting the ceiling and then puddling on the floor.  Don’t worry though.  I did the responsible thing.  I washed my hands.  I went back to my tent.  Annnnd I left it for someone else to discover and deal with.  Still, that hardly seems the same.

I’ve also never fought anyone on a boat.

While I know a lot about theology no wealthy man with “a passion for antiquities” has ever come to me with a tablet that may lead to the ACTUAL HOLY GRAIL.

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Not me. / Photo Credit – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

I was lucky enough to have the chance to go to Venice this spring on our department’s trip to Italy but the whole time I was there I never got to find one secret tomb of a knight who had lived for over 150 years and was buried with a shield with a map to the Holy Grail on it!  I did stand in a reeeeeeeeeeeeally long line to see the Basilica San Marco which, ironically, took less than a minute to walk through.  But no knights or maps!  And I’ve been in lots of libraries and lots of churches too…

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Me. / This is David, Kalie, and I at the movies.  While exciting…it’s not HOLY GRAIL EXCITING you know?  We also didn’t find any knight’s tombs (or ANY tombs for that matter) here.

When we were out on the Grand Canal I wasn’t chased by a single Middle Eastern stereotype (let alone a whole team of them) leading to a motor boat chase through the canals.  I was shushed by a sassy gondola driver for talking while he was steering us around…but no boat chases.

I’ve never been on a blimp.

I’ve never knocked out Nazis (as previously mentioned) so I could steal their uniforms and pretend to be them.

Dad’s never been kidnapped by Nazis looking to use his knowledge to find the Holy Grail nor have we ever been tied up together while a building burns down around us.

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Not me.  Not Dad either. / Photo Credit – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

I’ve never been shot at by a tank, gotten to steal horses from Nazis so I could race through the desert, or met someone who’s been living for centuries.  And I’ve certainly never gotten to see the Holy Grail UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL.  It would be cool though.  I’d put it on my desk next to my Star Wars Funkos or my Mjölnir!

Most saddening of all, I’m pretty certain that I’m never superimposed over a map while a sweet red line charts my progress when I travel.  What’s up life??  Is a cool superimposition too much to ask for?!?

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Not me.  Never me.  Why isn’t this me?! / Photo Credit – Raiders of the Lost Ark

I’ve been a full time teacher for six years now but NONE of this stuff has ever happened to me!  Sure, I’ve taught for a few days with Iron Man shaved on the back of my head, left work from time to time for Auntie Anne’s hot pretzel runs, partaken in a few lightsaber duels at school, and have fought it out in my fair share of legendary lip sync battles during assemblies.  But that all hardly seems to be the same level of adventuring.  Really my teaching life consists of going to school; remembering to take attendance; enjoying banter and hijinks through the day with Hannah, Matthew, Theresa, Sarah, and Ashley; teaching things in the time between said hijinks; settling down at home or Coffee Culture after work and then grading and/or lesson planning for two-to-ten hours, depending on the day.  Do all the baristas at Coffee Culture know me like we’re family?  Yes.  And I love that!  But I imagine getting to swing around on my whip would be pretty rewarding too.

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Me. / This is Matthew, Theresa, and I rocking our “ugly Christmas sweaters” at work.  Super witty?  Sure.  But it’s not big-boulder-rolling-after-me level of adventure.

Although I will say it’s insanely accurate when, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, his students are swarming outside his office and his assistant Irene says, “And these term papers still haven’t been graded!”  Yep, that’s an accurate picture of my life.  Not the assistant of course buuuut the always-behind in grading?  I totally get it :).

Indiana Jones 25

Not me…but I can sympathize.  “Are our exams graded yet??”  “Are our papers graded yet??”  “When are you going to post the grades??”  Listen…you’ll know when everything’s graded because I’ll give it back to you. / Photo Credit – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

So what do I make of this?  Do I just admit that everything Indiana Jones has ever taught me is a lie?!?  Or is there a chance, a sweet, sweet, possible chance, that maybe – juuuuuuust maaaaaybe – my adventuring is still to come?  I mean, I’m only thirty-five right?  In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull Dr. Jones is in his sixties.  Does this mean…could this mean…is there any chance…

Will I eventually find myself on a U.S. Air Force base that’s been taken over by Russian forces seeking something I helped the Army recover?  Uh, actually, given the way Russia seems to be growing ever-more involved in the U.S. (from picking our presidents to setting our policy) this might not be that far off.

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Maybe me…someday. / Photo Credit – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Will I ever be interrogated by FBI agents who think I’m working with the Russians who then do that totally badass movie move where they toss me a file with all the important information easily readable without turning any pages and a paperclipped picture of the bad guy on it?  That would be so awesome!  That’s such a cool move.

Will I end up losing my job because the FBI keeps poking around me for what they believe to be un-American activities?  I think my New American Resistance series is too soft for that.

Will an old buddy of mine from college, who I used to love obsessing over things with, ever end up missing after finding something mind-blowingly incredible and important?!?  Jeff.  If this was to happen to anyone I know it would totally be Jeff.  And you know what?  I could see something like this happening to Jeff.  Watch out Jeff!!!

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Maybe me…someday.  And maybe Jeff…someday too. / Photo Credit – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Aaaahh!  Does this mean I have a big motorcycle chase across the campus of the school I work at to look forward to?  A motorcycle chase that ends in the library where my students ask me questions about papers as I make a hasty exit?  I’d be up for that, as long as I’m not the one who has to drive the motorcycle.

Could there be the chance I’ll end up in Peru in an ancient cemetery, looking for the long lost grave of a conquistador who died 500 years ago?!  Given my previously stated experience with finding ancient, hidden graves so far I’d bet the odds aren’t that great here.  But you never know!

Will I be captured by the Russians again only to sail down the Amazon with them to their base?

Wait…will I have an old friend who sells me out to the Russians?!?!?  Oh no!!!

Do I have high-flying fisticuffs in the jungle during a Jeep chase to look forward to?

Indiana Jones 21

Maybe me…someday. / Photo Credit – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I could do without being chased by “big damn ants” that want to eat my flesh though.  Honestly, ever since I saw the “Trumbo’s World” episode of MacGyver when I was a kid, I’ve been scared of a whole hoard of ants swarming over me and eating the flesh from my bones as I writhe in agony.  Gah!  That episode came out in 1985 so this is a fear that’s been with me since even before I had diabetes.  So yeah, hard pass.

I’m also not a strong swimmer so I’m not super kicky on the idea of a rapid ride down the Amazon with the major waterfalls.  Yep, I think I’d like to pass on this one too.

I would be totally down with finding an ancient, hidden Mayan temple though!

England & Scotland 419

Me. / While not a Mayan temple, this is me enjoying the light, crisp, refreshing taste of a Diet Pepsi outside Edinburgh Castle circa 2007.  The point is I look natural around ancient buildings you know?  Also, Pepsi, if you want me to start endorsing things for you, call me.

Oh my gosh!  Oh my gosh!!!  Will I find definitive proof of intelligent life outside of earth, inter-dimensional beings, and inter-dimensional travel?!?!  I would SO love to do this!!!!  Sign me up.  I would be SO GOOD at this.  (Kalie will tell you I tend to think I’d be great at a lot of jobs.  In my defense…I would be great at a lot of jobs, including finding definitive proof of inter-dimensional life.)

Awww, wait.  Does this mean I may lose the chance to be with the love of my life when I’m in my thirties only to find her again when I’m in my sixties and get the chance to live our lives together then??  Okay, while not the ideal way to be with your soul mate that’s still beautiful.  Given the option, I’d rather a whole life together but, if twists come, this would still be a crazy romantic finale.

Siiiigh…I guess only time will tell if these adventures await me as I head towards the latter stage of my career as a professional educator.  Really, I kind of hope they do.  Not only would it be exciting but then all the time I’ve spent watching Indiana Jones movies will serve as fun AND as job preparation too.

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Not me…but maybe it could be?!  Someday?!  Who knows?? / Photo Credit – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Oh, before I go, while I’m on the subject of loving Indiana Jones I’m just going to say this.  I want to get it out in the open before it comes out in a potential comment section conversation or something.  This will come as a surprise and it might undercut a lot of my credibility but I don’t care.  I’m saying it.  I like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  I like it a lot.  Sure, it threw me off a bit when I first saw it but I think it’s aged very well and I really enjoy watching it now.  In fact, I like it better than Temple of Doom.  I even like it better than Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Whew…okay, there.  I said it.  It feels good to finally be open with this you know?  I’m sorry if this is jarring to anyone but I couldn’t not speak my truth.  I love me some Indiana Jones and I really enjoy this movie too.

Hopefully, if nothing else, my enjoyment of and connection to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull may make it more promising that I have some daring adventures to come later in life.  I think I’d be well suited for it…

24 thoughts on “Unrealistic Career Expectations – Indiana Jones

  1. Fantastic Post!
    Just to let u know that Brad holds a BA and MA in Archaeology – well-versed in both Processual and Post-Processual schools of Archaeological Theory, so if there’s anything u wld like to know/have clarified let me know.
    Sure, no fedora or whip, but th estate agents who supervised my apartment always expected me to brandish like items whenever I called in!
    Wiping mud off a Roman coin was th “highlight” of my field practice in th UK.
    But came into my element hacking thro Se Asian jungles looking for temple ruins (wandered thro a minefield in Laos, but didn’t see th Warning Signs until AFTER coming out of it – ha!)
    Never shot at, but was attacked by a troop of monkeys outside Kuala Lumpur (sweet vests not included).
    No Nazis, but a couple of moody standoffs with Muslim “officials” in Sumatra concerned that I had become too “obsessed” w pre-Islamic studies…
    No teaching job for me – don’t want to b stuck in th same room w unruly younglings
    But kudos to u, fella – keep up th good work, Mr. Miller

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Really?! I didn’t know that! That’s pretty exciting! I’m happy to hear you’ve survived your adventures (especially the minefield!) and it’s exciting hearing the tales. I think Indy would be happy that you’re keeping the daring alive in the profession.

      Still, I’d say the mines and tensions with border/customs officials would be far more stressful than unruly younglings…uh, welllll at least on most days :).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Officials and other scum and villainy come and go, man, but those younglings r w u Monday to Friday all yr – yikes!!
        So glad I seized th opp to travel and explore abroad when I did – doesn’t look like anything as pretty exciting as that will b heading my way again any time soon.
        “I don’t know – I’m making this up as I go…”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahaha, what’s funny is, in my experience, that line is as true for teaching in a classroom every day as it probably is for adventuring and archaeology! That’s always been one of my favorite quotes from the film.

        And, even if it doesn’t look like you have anything as exciting coming your way soon, at least you’ve still done all that! That’s more globe trotting and adventuring than many people ever get to do. You’re living the life of the Brad, the myth, the legend as it were :). It will all make for interesting chapters in your memoirs!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, amid th tedium, I console myself w th fact that I have had travels and adventures that a lot of my fellow villagers can only dream about.
        Talk about exciting: studying th new material from th forthcoming Avengers: Infinity War movie, Peter Parker DOES get his Spider-senses tingling! So that’s reassuring
        Stay cool!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I KNOW! That totally surprised me! I wonder why it takes time to develop? Is it an Ultimate Spider-Man thing? Sigh…only time will tell I guess. It’s one more reason to get excited for ‘Infinity War’ too.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Got the fedora and the cool leather flight jacket, as well as the distressed old gas mask bag to carry my tools in. Though I may not carry a gun, I have my sweet K-Bar knife, honed to a razor sharpness on my hip, a rad bandana about my neck and a scruffy growth of beard on my ruggedly handsome, but aging face. Love getting on a plane to go dig in the blistering hot sun of the Middle East and unearth pottery, coins and walls unseen for thousands of years. Getting to converse with my Israeli and Arab friends, with a mix of French and Aussie thrown in to keep the conversations interesting and lively, and I am living my childhood dream. Then spending a few days in a old hotel in East Jerusalem, where Lawerence of Arabia stayed, along with other spies, aka: Peter Lorie is totally in my mind, and drinking a G&T under a bright moon with the call to prayer sounding in the background. And not a Pepsi in sight. As for fighting Nazi, there are always Tump supporters who badly need a can of woop ass open on ‘me, so I am set. Go for your dreams they are within you waiting to get out. Great article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know Barry, as I was writing this I was actually thinking of you. You’re essentially living the Indiana Jones lifestyle now! Maybe someday I’ll take you up on your invite, tag along, and become the Mutt Williams to your Dr. Jones. Thank you for always showing me the joy the teaching profession could bring when I was a kid and thanks for showing me the adventuring end of it can certainly play out now too. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece; it was a lot of fun to write!


  3. I really enjoyed Crystal skull too! (I’m also a teacher and for world book day last year I wore an Ironman helmet all day!!! One of the kids said ” Miss, I wish it could be world book day everyday. ” I replied that I would then be able to dress up as wonder woman the next day, to which he commented “But you’re too fa… erm…. the wrong shape for wonder woman” I couldn’t stop laughing! This is why I love my job despite a lack of Arc’s of the Covenant and general adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First, I LOVE THAT YOU ENJOYED ‘CRYSTAL SKULL’ TOO!!!! That’s so great to hear. Woo hoo!!! I don’t feel so alone now :). Yes!!!

      Second, the Iron Man helmet is brilliant. And you’re right, even without all the adventuring, this is still the greatest job in the world. So often I’ll stop during my day to think, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this!” I couldn’t imagine having a “regular job” without all the insanity and excitement that fills the day. Also, what grade(s) do you teach??

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I originally trained to teach A’level science with a minor in religious education (16-18yr olds) but for most of my career I’ve worked in special needs with progressively younger children. I now teach 6 and 7 year olds with speech and language difficulties – and I think they’re the coolest little people on the planet!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s amazing! It’s also a beautiful look at allowing your vocation to call you, to go from 16-18 year-old students to six and seven. I’m glad you love it too. Seriously, I don’t think anything can feel like the joy you get from teaching :).

        Also, I love that you started in science and religious education. While I have no formal training in science, I’m fascinated by it. I think it’s a natural pairing with theology too – they both come at creation from a different vantage point.


  4. In preparation for the future when you finally find your life becoming like an Indiana Jones movie, are you learning new skills to help you live up to your Indy potential? Riding a motorcycle, driving a boat, bar fighting, running, climbing, sarcastic remarks, wearing the same clothes for a super long time, etc.

    I’m still trying to figure out how to achieve my unrealistic career choice of, well, whatever the heck MacGyver’s official job title is. Would also settle for time traveler, astronaut, or Ghostbuster, but those seem even less likely…

    P.S. I’ve only seen Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade… I know, I know, what have I been doing with my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooo….you know what? I DO need to practice all of those things more! That’s brilliant. Maybe I need to make myself a little Indy Checklist and get to work. I’d like to think I have the sarcasm down and I think I could manage the same clothes thing. Heck, I could put some Febreze in my satchel if necessary :). The motorcycle, boat driving, bar fighting, running, and climbing I’ll need to get to work on. Well, looks like my summer vacation just planned itself!

      As to MacGyver, I remember he worked at the Pheonix Foundation if that helps. I think he was some sort of environmental advocate…spy…or something? I know he was in environmental preservation though! When you get the Ghostbusting down, let me know. I’m so in for that one too!


      1. If my life depended on my ability to make sarcastic and/or quippy remarks…I would definitely die.
        As a person who’s pretty great at packing light and wearing the same clothes for multiple days, I recommend forgoing the Febreze and instead packing spray deodorant; you can use it on your clothes as well as yourself. 😉 If you work on any of the Future Adventure Skills I hope we get to hear about it here on your blog!

        Ah, the Phoenix Foundation, that fictional organisation of surprisingly varied purposes… I figured out a long time ago that I would probably have to settle for EITHER the covert spy stuff that MacGyver does, OR the environmental stuff. This fall I’ll hopefully be starting college to get an associate’s degree in Integrated Environmental Studies, so you can guess which route I chose.

        As for Ghostbusting, all I can offer you at this juncture is an open invitation to play in the Ghostbusters RPG I host on the second Saturday of each month. 😀


  5. Hi Michael,

    Great stuff! I hear you as a teacher! Our adventures come in other ways. May you get the best and minus the rest of Indy on your life. I have that dream, too. Always love your stuff, bro. Hmmmm, maybe time for fitting this in to a fan fiction with you and Indy.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, that would be excellent! I could keep slowing him down because my blood sugar was low and I would always be complaining that I need more Capri Sun juice breaks. That’s a hilarious picture to consider. It would be fun!


  6. Reading this entire post has reminded me that I’ve never seen an Indiana Jones movie. And made me wonder why anyone would want to be Indiana Jones. Far too much drama for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, you might be right. While I fancy the adventuring, I have the hands of an academic so I’d REALLY need to work on my punching skills to pull this off :). Also, drama or not, sometimes the thought of being in life-endangering peril still wins out over grading a big ol’ stack of exams!


      1. I have a feeling you could get an entire group of teachers to go adventuring with you instead of grading. In fact, I think you should write this new sitcom.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes! That would be brilliant. Each week it could feature the different lengths they’d go to in order to avoid their grading. I say we co-write the show Krysta. It was your idea after all :).

        Liked by 1 person

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