Created By: TheHandle on March 14, 2013 Last Edited By: TheHandle on July 30, 2014

Lumberjack Aspirations

Like "opening a bar", a stock ambition.

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I never wanted to be [profession]. I want to be... a lumberjack.

For some reason, may characters in fiction find themselves wishing to become lumberjack. The locale doesn't exactly matter, though Yodel Land, Canada, Eh?, or the Appalachians will be what most characters seem to have in mind... Not only that, but the image invoked is often oddly specific: flannel shirt, thick beard, beanie, suspenders, boots, and blue jeans.

This trope seems to be Always Male and closely associated with I Want to Be a Real Man, for some reason.

Examples:

  • X-Men: Logan, i.e. Wolverine, used to be one during his time in Canada, and has identified as Canadian ever since.
  • Galaxy Express 999 had a Planet of Hats that inverted Heavy Worlder; two of the tall, frail inhabitants, dreamed of emigrating to a heavier world, and their fantasies are shown to be this trope exactly. They stow away on the eponymous train, only to die from the acceleration.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus had a sketch where someone who's unhappy with their current job launches on a song about how wonderful it would be to be a lumberjack.
  • Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai, a very Pythonesque show, spoofs this trope in a way that's right out of the Flying Circus.
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • March 14, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Often a manifestation of a Call To Agriculture.
  • March 14, 2013
    StarSword
    Link fixes and formatting.
  • March 14, 2013
    TheHandle
    Thank you very much.
  • March 14, 2013
    dvorak
    Invoked in Unforgotten Realms. Rob instantly homebrews a Lumberjack class for the emponymous Tabletop RPG.
  • March 15, 2013
    XFllo
    Are there really enough examples to make this tropeworthy? I never realized this particular profession was so prominent and so desired in fiction. Cowboys sound more likely to me :-)

    However, I have something similar in ykttw as well: Pursue the Dream Job.
  • March 15, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Small correction: In the Monty Python sketch, the guy isn't unhappy with his job, he rather unsuccessfully tries to become a participant in a game show and then decides that he didn't want to take part anyway and rather become a lumberjack.
  • March 15, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ There are more versions? The sketch is sometimes referred to as a homicidal barber. He has a hair phobia and all, and he never really wanted to be a barber anyway. I don't know about your version with a game show though.
  • March 15, 2013
    foxley
    There are multiple versions of the Monty Python lumberjack sketch. In another one (I think it was used in The Secret Policeman's Ball but I might be misremembering) it segues one from the Pet Shop sketch with the pet shop owner announcing that he never wanted to run pet shop anyway. He always wanted to be... A Lumberjack!
  • March 16, 2013
    Chernoskill
    ^ Alrighty then! I only ever saw the one featured in the 1970s exclusive programme that was made for West German TV (where they all talk German but obviously have no idea what they are saying!) and assumed that the gameshow sketch that led to the lumberjack song was the only version.
  • March 16, 2013
    TheHandle
    @X Filo: I suppose it's a subtrope. If there are few enough examples, let's make it an Internal Subtrope, okay?

    New Media

    Also, I nominate this for page picture.

  • April 22, 2013
    XFllo
    I think I've run across a trope that covers it. Mighty Lumberjack.
  • April 22, 2013
    Generality
    Do we even have a page for "wants to open a bar"? 'Cause we need one.
  • April 23, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ I haven't seen one. It's best to ask at Lost and Found forum.
  • July 30, 2014
    XFllo
    Bumping... just to see if it leads anywhere.

    If anything, we could establish Stock Ambition page, probably as Super Trope, and include Call To Agriculture, desire to be a cowboy or open a bar.
  • July 30, 2014
    DAN004
    Uh, Honest Goal would be a supertrope.
  • July 30, 2014
    XFllo
    ^ Honest Goal? I don't get that name. What makes it honest?
  • July 30, 2014
    nielas
    ^^ Is that the one where a criminal wants to retire to run a legitimate business?

    Some possible uses for the wider trope:
    • Kids wanting to be policemen, firemen, or cowboys.
    • A cop or firefighter wanting to retire and open a bar
    • Office workers quitting to pursue their dream career or trying to start their own business.
    • Professionals wanting to retire and open a bed-and-breakfast.
    • Parents unable to go into their dream profession and now pushing their kids into it.
    • An aspiring artist wanting to quit his/her day job to pursue their art professionally

    It is often joked in Magic The Gathering circles that every player dreams of opening a gaming store. (The reality is that it is a lot of work and as any small business it has a high chance of failure).
  • July 30, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ Sorry, Humble Goal
  • July 30, 2014
    XFllo
    ^^ Good list with ideas. We also have Pursue The Dream Job that often covers it, but some of those arent included. Perhaps we could extend it? Make sub-tropes — especially the one with parents pushing kids into it.

    ^ I see.
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