One of my favoritest pastimes as a child was to wonder what Prince would do if he were not a rock star.
I'd just sit perfectly still in a window seat, playing "Raspberry Beret" over and over again and, you know, daydream about all the different things Prince could have become had he chosen a different path.
Perhaps an astronaut! His lack of mass would reduce the total amount of energy expended getting his spaceship into orbit. Prince would be an asset to, and the hero of, any NASA mission.
Maybe a general! History is literally littered with tiny men with Napoleon complexes, after all. That's why they call it a Napoleon complex.
Or howzabout a child star who was no longer a child but is still cast as such? My favorite scenario: Writing and directing a flick starring Gary Coleman, Emmanuel Lewis and Prince called "Teenage Space Generals." Who wouldn't pay to see that? I would.
But, as I matured, my daydreams became darker. Daymares, if you will.
Reality set in, and as a realist, I realized that had Prince been overlooked like so many musical geniuses before him, he would have been forced into (gasp!) regular work.
And because so very few musical geniuses are actually qualified to hold a regular day job, well... all I can say is, "Welcome to my daymare..."
Potential Prince Job No. 1:
It's pretty clear that, had he not become the megastar he is today, young Prince would have started off his artistic life as a fisherman. Screw the man, live off the land (er, sea), yadda yadda so on.
Only until he had his "big break," though -- what a great story that would be, after all. "One-time fisherman becomes the world's No. 2 entertainer behind Michael Jackson!"
Song composed at this job: "Soft And Wet"
Potential Prince Job No. 2:
Still defiant, still working hard to breakthrough to the otherside of fame and fortune, Prince walks through the doors of a Mickey D's and declares that, all though they may dollar-menu his body, they would not super-size his mind!
Song composed at this job: "Money Don't Matter 2 Night"
Potential Prince Job No. 3:
JANITOR WHO HATES EVERYONE
Embittered by the lack of success as a musician, Prince finds work cleaning up after bastard law-school students who don't understand what it is to live, or work, or create something new. Prince takes to calling the students "souless meat puppets." The students take to avoiding Prince in the hallways. Prince subsequently feels alienated and alone and on the edge of madness, as evidenced by unsung lyrics composed on a beaten-up notebook stuffed away in the 4th-floor broom closet.
Song composed at this job: "Let's Go Crazy"
Potential Prince Job No. 4:
Sure, in our world, Prince is a beautiful man creating amazing songs like "My Name Is Prince," but what if he had taken a right at Main Street instead of a left, missing his chance meeting with a record producer and instead making friends with the guy who hires UPS drivers? We'll never know, but the lesson is clear: Always take a left at Main Street.
Then again, perhaps we should all take the left: UPS drivers get mad action! And you know Prince would ruminate over this universal truth while drinking Bud and strumming his guitar on a quiet evening when nothing's on television and all his friends are doing date night with their significant others.
Song composed at this job:"I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man" while delivering; "When Doves Cry" while weeping in his beer at home.
Potential Prince Job No. 5:
The street-corner performances are getting old -- as is the constant stream of returned demo tapes that were never opened. Music isn't the creative outlet it once was, but the spark of creativity still flares forth. How to make a buck or two while doing something that satisfies that need to shape a new reality, sheer away conformity and cut into that mass of hair that holds us all back?
I'll let you decide.
Song composed at this job:"She's Always In My Hair."
Potential Prince Job No. 6:
Prince used to be sad, but not anymore.
No paying job seems to satisfy that need to be creative, expressive and sexually suggestive. Cutting hair came close, but you couldn't dance to it.
Then one day, Prince sees the sign spinner selling condos that foretells the flood of gentrification that is about to blight his artist-friendly neighborhood... and is moved. Moved to spin, moved to dance, moved to... move.
He gets the job. He does it well. He buys an iPod nano and loads it up with songs that no one else will hear except the occassional friend or lover. Songs like "Uptown" and "Little Red Corvette."
Sure, Prince isn't the rockstar he hoped to one day be. But as he spins his signs that sell $350,000 domiciles in downtown Minneapolis and grooves to his own sound, Prince realizes that, after all these years, he's happy. And that's all he could ever truly want.
Besides, the music industry totally sucks.
Song composed at this job: "Sign Of The Times"