I wanted to be Indiana Jones. I realize now that I am not terribly original.
Indy's main value in the academic world has been as an inspiration to aspiring archaeologists, said Zimansky, who noticed a spike in new students in the early 1990s while teaching at Boston University.
"If you asked these people why they were becoming archaeologists, it always starts off with Indiana Jones. It actually converted a number of people. They got their initial interest in archaeology from Indiana Jones," Zimansky said.
But, you know, I had to learn the hard way. I had to go and get the degree.
The reality of archaeological field work is not a lone hero dashing into hidden chambers with a bullwhip and a pistol and coming away with a priceless relic. It's large groups of academics and students painstakingly sifting through grids to retrieve artifacts as mundane as pottery fragments.
I had to sit for 8-10 hours a day, soaking, cleaning, brushing, cataloging tiniest bits of flotsam, because maybe! Just maybe! That bit of flotsam was a link to the Lower XiaJiaDian, and would tell us about these people, who were not unlike you and me. That little bit of pottery would lead the way to Important! Discoveries! To! Mankind! So I better handle it carefully and who cares if my hands were sunk in muddy water so much, they stopped wrinkling up? I was making Important! Discoveries!
Except my mind kind of went numb. The red-tape and rigmarole and ass-kissing and permits and politesse was just crushing the life out my dreams.
So I went away and became something else and have learned to like it. With no where near the fervency and love and zeal as I did for archaeology, but that's okay. I can still have uncrushed dreams.
But sometimes I would really like to wear a fedora and sit with my hands in muddy water for hours at a time, handling jumbled pieces from a very long time ago.