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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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?!?
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.
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 :).
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.
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!!!
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?
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!
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.
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…