Foreword: I don't really know what to call this. I wrote this when I was on vacation in San Francisco alone in my hostel room in two different parts. It was weird, but it just kind of fell out of me. It was about a job I hadn't thought about in years, and frankly try to forget from time to time. Honestly, I think it came from seeing all the porno video stores still in business on Broadway.
I used to work in a video store. Yes, an actual factual video store that rented out VHS tapes and DVDs. You see I had these aspirations and dreams of one day becoming some kind of movie director. I pretty much spent all of my high school career gearing up for this eventuality. One that I quickly abandoned when I entered the real world. A kid needs dreams, right? Anyways, I digress. What job could be better for a kid who was eventually going to become film's next indie darling?
The movie store I worked in wasn't one of those indie video stores that let you sit behind the counter in your ripped jeans and Misfits t-shirt watching whatever you wanted. No, it was a corporate video store. Red polo shirts and khakis were the uniforms of our Video Reich.
This was The Movie Gallery. A fresh slice of hell without a porno section. Our store was surrounded by large televisions that just ran commercials over and over and over and over. By the end of your shift you had the latest direct to video horror films trailer memorized. You'd seen or heard these commercials so many times in your eight hour shift that they would start to narrate your dreams.
"In a world where Vin Diesel doesn't exist. One man must rise to occasion to fight the bad guys of the roller rink."
It's bizarre to think of how I functioned in the corporate structure of Movie Gallery. Half my shift was spent calling people about their late fees. Remember those? Movie Gallery was one of those places that kept charging late fees even after all the other video stores had dropped them. While I was working there I got a letter from a Collections Agent for $4. Yes, $4 in late fees. Remember I was working there at the time. What the fuck?
Within weeks I had been moved up to the ranks to shift manager. This meant I got to close, know the codes to the safe, cash out, and do the end of the night numbers. Something an 18 year old who just wants to be the next Tarantino wants to do. Instead of writing my screenplay about how hard life is I was learning about what it is like to slowly lose your soul.
One night before locking up I grabbed a movie off the shelf. Kind of without thinking. My friends had always said it was funny, and that if I wanted to get into film I really should watch this “indie” movie.
I think I watched Clerks three times that night before going to sleep. There was something about it that I identified with. Maybe it was that I was young and had no idea what direction my life was going in (I still don't), and I could relate to these characters more than most of my friends at the time. That's a shit thing to say, but true at the time.
There was one line that stuck with me throughout my multiple watches that night, and it was “shit or get off the pot.” It's one of those lines you hear all your life, but it never really clicks with you. All of a sudden I knew what I had to do.
It really seems lame to say that I quit a job because of a movie, but it's the truth. I'm slowly coming to that realization again. That I need to “shit or get off the pot” with a lot of things in my life.
I just need to remember to flush when I'm done.