Clerks ii or, the reckoning

Sometimes, one of the hardest things in life is to admit what you really want. Gay kids used to suffer from this a lot, of course, and now have champions who denounce all who might drag them back to the opposite sex, but in truth, most of this confusion is purely human.

Currently, we have a society with rankings, slowly and ever changing, that provide good enough lives for the majority and opportunities for the minorities to negotiate different lives. Our generalized others have priorities. Some people think it possible to eliminate this; I think any change will simply substitute one bigotry for another. Eliminate all social ranking and a few will be happy without oppression and the majority will flail about looking for guidance. (You may try to convince me this would be better; you may also teach a pig to sing, if you like. As I noted, a good society allows the dissatisfied to spend their time however they wish.)

Are you satisfied working a counter nights? Do you like "fat" chicks or "loser" guys? Do you think Hudson Hawk is sorely underrated? Is reality television the greatest thing ever? Do you really not want to get married? (Most twenty-somethings who denounce marriage and/or kids do so in the same way that eight year-olds pronounce sex "icky" and may safely be ignored in my little poll, or you may regard them, per my theory, as breeders unwilling to admit they do wish to hitch up and squeeze out a few puppies.)

Either way, how do you know what you really want? And if you figure it out, will you proclaim it proudly or skulk in the corners?

In 1994 Clerks. was a cornerstone film for me. Kevin Smith described my life perfectly: annoying customers, romantic failure and buddies driven by American pop culture and pr0n. Wanting a cinematographer and cash, Smith created a pure comedy of words not seen since the Marx Bros. were at the top of their game. I was dating Stacy at the time. I love her still but hindsight shows what I knew but did not want to know at the time: we were not working out and we never would. I was twenty-five years old and had worked at Majik Market, Gateway Shell and the Speedy Marathon across from the Kalamazoo Fisher Body plant (since closed). I could quote any Bob Dylan song you could name. Smith's world was mine.

Twelve years later, Smith gives us Clerks II. In purely cinematic terms, II is a little under-written. (I am almost aghast that Smith found no time to brutalize the Star Wars prequels, and am surprised that Smith seems unwilling to include politics, which is, in the 21st century, a kind of pop culture.) May I perish before including spoilers, but Randal's speech at the end was crunchy because Randal has to admit what he really wants... and it made me think.

I am living 531 miles from the place I called home before it drove me from its shores (bear with me, I am feeling poetical) with watered-down Socialism that the paranoid voice-in-my-head tells me is designed to "right-size" the native population for some purpose obviously nefarious because it is otherwise senseless. I have never been too fond of Michigan. A lot of people criticize it for being unfriendly, something I, in my perma-bubble, have never noticed. Some people in Michigan, though, were and are important to me. Some I loved are now dead. Two of them are not only alive but ready to kill me for leaving. I have known both for more than twenty years: unimaginable for a kid who moved around all his young life. The one I loved enough to marry. The other, again pace Kevin Smith, "Hello, I'm Jay and this is my hetero life-mate, Silent Bob." (Really, we even look like them!) And, of course, I have my own little rugrat who specializes in adorability and obstructionism.

Leaving was not easy. I am living farther from my family than anyone else I know. My brother was further when he left Allentown, PA for college in Wisconsin, if only by a couple hundred miles (and our extended family was there in Greater Cleveland for emergency outreach). But here I am. Why? My wife told me, some time before I left, that if I did not have a job it was because I was not looking hard enough. My reply now is, boy, were you right. I had to look a lot harder, and farther, to find one. Was it worth it?

A hard question, that. I think I still have not found my niche in life. I am good at computer support, but would rather work on the server side of things. I may never be qualified for that. On the other hand, maintaining this blog is reawakening my taste for writing. I know I have not written much lately, but if you only knew how much this job exhausts me. I am an unpeople person in a people job. But really, I have never known just what I would be best (or just really, really good) at. I read biographies where people meet a person who changes their track entirely or helps them on the right one and I almost explode with envy. I am, of course, thrilled to be making money. Everyone down here is pretty upbeat and friendly. Life is stressful but fairly rewarding.

I may never know what I want, but I know what I need right now and, apparently, TN and DOC are it. It sucks a bit that not everyone is completely supportive, but enough of the right people are and I can not ask for anything more.... Well, heh, who am I kidding?

Definition: the generalized other is not "what the people you know will think", it is "what the people the people you know will think." The people you know are significant others; we know this because you, uh, know them.