Friday, July 21, 2006

Clerkin' Part Deux

...(back to the lecture at hand)

Don't you hate it when work gets in the way of blogging? Anyway, the "Guaranteed" promotion. At some point the suits at the 'Buster decided that they needed a way to move more of the movies residing in The Core (the shelves in the middle of the store where the "old" movies are kept) so they came up with a promotion whereby any customer unsatisfied with his or her rental may get another rental for free. How naively they underestimated the guile of the public. On two separate occasions I was forced to restrain myself from dropkicking a customer when they came into the store unsatisfied and lookign for a free movie. The first didn't care for Groundhog Day because, as he described it with a straight face, the movie was "too repetitive." I guess he didn't read the box. The second, a woman I almost punched in the face, returned Star Wars for a free rental because it was "unrealistic." And she was deadly serious.

Meandering my way to the point of these two posts; it was all of these experiences that set me up for one of those film viewing experiences that remain forever etched in one's memory. The first time this occured was while living overseas, my dad brought home a copy of Star Wars that somebody on base had dubbed. This was around 1982 and I had no idea what was about to happen to me. It certainly had a huge impact and my most vivid memory of that day was rewinding the film after it ended and watching it again. Anyway, a similar experience occured in 1995 when I was working at the 'Buster and one of my coworkers suggested I check out this odd little film, Clerks.

I almost shit myself several times while watching it in the store during closing. Everything about this film screamed "This is my life!" (Excluding all of the deviant behavior, of course.) But the daily grind of a Joe Job, riffing with your friends on the most inane topics, searching for clever ways to amuse yourself and kill the clock, all of it came across as brilliant yet completely relateable. From then on, my days at the 'Buster were never the same. My name tag was changed to read "Randal" and I found myself sneering at customers instead of helping them with their stupid movie questions. Every single night I closed the store, for years, it was a mandate that Clerks would be played on the video screens. I would even go so far as to keep track of how many copies we had in the store so that when we got down to the last copy I would stash it behind the counter and tell customers "Sorry, guess we're all out."

Given all that, I am super-psyched that Clerks II is finally out today. I know in some way it has to be a disappointment. The sequel is never better than the original (except for maybe Godfather II, Aliens, and Empire). Especially so when it is a film that is so iconic (depending upon your perspective) and strongly associated with your life experiences. Even still though, this is a chance to return to those halcyon days of clerkin', goofing off, and not worrying about tomorrow or the next day. I can't wait.


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