Mary Lou Retton had my dream job as a kid. Nowadays, not so much. Credit: Trevor Jones /AllsportMary Lou Retton had my dream job as a kid. Nowadays, not so much. Credit: Trevor Jones …
People still want to be movie stars. A third of Americans, according to a new Marist Poll, consider big screen stardom their dream job. Rock star and President also made the list.

My personal childhood dream job ranked second in the poll: professional athlete. It's absurd to me now, since I consider walking the dog a workout. But as a kid, I wanted to be a gymnast. I really liked the uniforms and the fact that you got to swing on things. Also it was a way of identifying myself as not-a-ballerina, which was what most little girls wanted to be.

Childhood dream jobs rarely take into account your own abilities, intellect or physical capacity. They're also gross misrepresentations--kids who want to be astronauts don't usually imagine themselves doing complicated physics. And the idea of being president doesn't involve countering negative press. But they're also blessings. As kids we don't just set the bar high, we set it in a strange place, so it's no sweat when we don't surpass it as an adult.

As adults, the term "dream job" can refer to a big career step, a work-from-home situation, or big pay raise.
This is so not what we were imagining as kids. Where's the big prize, the roaring crowds, the cool uniform with the sequins? On second thought, strippers may just fulfill that dream.

What was your childhood dream job and does it still haunt you?