by Dr. Mandler

An Excerpt from John Doe’s Introduction to Myself, and How I Narrowed My Goals

Ever since I was a little
child, I have always wanted
to fly on the back of a
dragon. I vividly recall the
first time I’d ever had this
dream: it was in summer
camp and I, with my little
camp mates, was sitting
next to the big nightly fire,
roasting marshmallows. As
the flames danced upon the
wood, I envisioned a dragon
dancing wildly upon the
ashes, and I wanted to be
on its back. This vision has
come and gone since then
until this poor childhood
dream of mine, much like
the fire from long ago,
went out without a bang.
I’ve thought this dream
was dead until I began to
think about my personal
project theme. As a sudden
revelation, the idea hit me:
I must build a magical
dragon capable of bearing
me upon its back, and
fly into school to give my
presentation to the dazzled
audience. Then, everybody
would love me forever.
A few days after the
revelation, I began work.
My parents noticed something
was wrong when
an increasing quantity
of candles, matches, and
gunpowder appeared in
my room and my bedroom
door suddenly had a poster
on it depicting a skull with
two bones with the words
I started to do research online,
going to all kinds of
websites I found through
a random Google search
with the following key
words: dragons, flying,
powder, matches, fire,
love. This search led me to
discover that I had known
very little about Chinese
dragons and flying lovers.
Nonetheless, I found
nothing that would allow
me to make any progress
in my design, so I put the
whole thing off and went
to play some video games
until I passed out. Yes,
video games have dragons,
so I’ve been playing them
A week later, I got
back to my personal
project and began to make
some sketches. The dragon
looked great, but I started
to have the feeling that
making it fly for real and
building it large enough
to carry me on its back
was somewhat beyond my
capabilities. Then again,
all my teachers ever told
me was to Dream Big! So,
I dreamed big and built
When my mother
came home one afternoon,
all she could see
were fire trucks lining the
street and our house with
heavy smoke billowing
out of what used to be my
bedroom window. I heard
her scream. I was in the
ambulance right outside
the door with an oxygen
mask on my face. Then I
saw her tearful face as the
ambulance doors swung
open and heard the EMS
workers reassure her that
I’d be fine.
They were right. That
evening, I was released
from the hospital and went
home. My room was a bit
ruined, but I still found a
dragon design amongst the
heap of ashes. Yes, I knew
that I was really dedicated
to my personal project and
would do everything to
score a perfect 4. Having
destroyed all my materials,
though, I had no choice
but to quickly switch my
project focus and decide to
devote all my time to the
next best idea I could ever
come up with: designing
the perfect hamburger…


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