Somebody threw a meme out there (in the magical world of Facebook) a little while ago that got me to thinking even though I was able to answer the question instantly. This was the question:
If you were a movie, what movie would you be?
That's a ridiculously easy answer: Kevin Smith's "Clerks". It didn't take one half of a second to answer that one. It's my ultimate "go-to" movie when I have had a bad day or I need a reset. It centers me. It gets me back in touch with the core of how I feel about everybody and everything. It captures a certain time in my life and a way of viewing the world.
I was 15 years old and living in Clemson at the time. My brother, aka The Mighty Jewboy, was working at a place called Mooovies (yes, it was cow-themed; you can't make this shit up). He brought it back to Nan and Pop's house and told me I had to watch it.
It was life changing.
These guys (albeit, guys from Jersey) talked like my brother and I did. The banter was witty, lightning fast and razor sharp. The scenarios presented in the movie were perverted and outlandish ("Try not to suck any dick on your way to the parking lot!!"). The soundtrack was phenomenal ("BERZERKER!!!"). This was, in short, something wholly new and different.
I sat down with The Old Man and a suitcase of beer in my 16th year of life. I thought it would floor him with all of its disgusting charms. I was sure he would laugh hysterically. After all, this is the same man who helped raise me on Blazing Saddles, Airplane, Young Frankenstein, Hollywood Knights, The Naked Gun, Stir Crazy, etc.....surely he will love this comedic masterpiece. Surely (see what I did there?)..............
It bombed. I don't think he laughed more than 2 or 3 times during the entirety of the film. I couldn't drink enough beer to be comfortable with the level of "what the fuck" on my Dad's face. It floored me. He hated it.
That's when I knew this was MY generation. Welcome to the new America, Daddy-O. We're quick-witted, vulgar, nearly impossible to offend, & our moral standing is lying down in a stupor (okay, so I may be speaking for myself on that last). This movie spoke my language, and I am certainly not alone. "Clerks" is the movie (along with Pulp Fiction) that started the Indie craze going at warp speed. It truly is one of those generational classics.
Moreover, it defined my view on work and how I approach it. Look, I care. I really do. I have a strong, Southern work ethic built on the foundation of a childhood where we were laying brick in the summers while other kids were out playing. Most folks consider me a workaholic. They're probably right. What I do for a living (and how I perform while there) is a big part of my identity.
But, I've gotta tell you, this job would be great if it wasn't for the fucking customers. I live for those days when I can say (with a straight face) "I'm not even supposed to be here today". I'm a Dante who wishes to God that he had the balls to be a Randal (sad but true).
I have to stop myself, on occasion, when I'm working and remind myself not to take it that seriously. Sometimes I fuck off on purpose; almost a form of self-sabotage. I have to. It's one of the ways in which I stay true to myself and my twisted ideology. I think it's part of the reason that I am so resistant to doing things "the right way" in my current incarnation as "The Boss". I spent those awesome years of ages 18-25 running shit gunslinger style. It was fast and dirty and unprofessional and reckless, but I was DAMN good at what I did and our various crews were the shit! That was a form of affirmation that I could be exactly the sick little fucker that I am and still be successful in my chosen career path. I felt like Kevin Smith would be proud.
This job really would be great if it wasn't for the fucking customers, though.......but I ASSURE YOU WE'RE OPEN.