The day that my potato exploded in the microwave was an eye opener. It was a sign…an omen. A message from the powers that be. Maybe I’d nuked that fucker for too long, or maybe I just didn’t give a shit. Either way, that little vegetable bastard decided to commit culinary suicide and blew itself spud first all over the confines of the microwave with a mere five seconds left. I mean, c’mon…it couldn’t have kept its composure for a measly five more seconds? Suck it up, god damn it! I had no money left, I had no lunch, and I was hungry enough to eat the scum out of the bottom of a homeless man’s shoes. It was definitely a sign…an omen…a message from the powers that be.
Have you ever seen a movie six thousand times, but only gotten half a whiff of the real depth of that movie after the most recent viewing? Case in point; I’ve seen Joe Versus the Volcano at least 30 times since 1990, but only recently came to understand the immense truths contained within it. The film was always on in the background, and I’d often half ass watched it without really seeing it for what it was. The realization and understanding came slowly; a little bit here, a little bit there, until one day I said “fuck it” and sat down and really watched the film again for the first time. I took it all in with a renewed sense of awareness, and a considerably open mind. I dissected it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d enjoyed the movie time and again previously, but I’d only just seen the surface of it. And in truth, I was sincerely blown away. For all of its cheese, the movie was an acutely effective, multi-layered glimpse into a man’s thirst for knowledge, meaning, purpose, and self discovery. Looking beyond some of the dated, clunky 90’s camp, it’s quite a deeply rendered portrait of the journey that we all endure in order to accomplish whatever it is we want to accomplish with our lives. It is a great little tale about overcoming obstacles, standing up for your beliefs, and never giving up. Who can’t relate to that, right? And if you’ve ever hated your job, the “I quit” scene below is a revelation.
I had no real idea what I was doing. I mean, I had a loose grasp of the general concepts, but the actual execution was a different beast entirely. The company tinkered with their methods and procedures so often that it was nearly impossible to keep up. True proficiency was a fucking pipe dream. Just when you got used to doing things one way, BOOM, they decided to change it up again…and for no good reason. Their feeble and half-handed attempts at ‘training’, if that’s what you want to call it, were just a ridiculous ruse. I literally had no idea what I was doing, and spent the bulk of every day winging it…and I did it for years. Talk about disheartening; it’s the most depleted feeling inching your way to five o’clock blindly, in the dark, not knowing what the hell you’re doing. For years. Even after it’s been explained, because their explanations amounted to a fresh pile of zebra shit. There’s a great line at the end of the movie ‘The Usual Suspects’, where Kevin Spacey’s character states “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist.” I’ve gotta say, convincing this joint that I knew what I was doing, that I was a stand up, functioning employee, ranks up there with the greatest.