Thursday, May 26, 2005

Reflections on a Day

Okay, so I know I said I wouldn't do this (well, I didn't say it, but I thought it very loudly to myself), but I'm going to put up a post about work. Consider this fair warning.

So as you may or may not know, I'm currently working in a photo lab. I do lots there -- post production stuff (making buttons, magnets, shirts, keychains, etc.), order entry, shipping -- I also do photo shoots and Photoshop work, but that's beside the point. I like working at a photo lab, because, as corny as it may sound, photographs are records of our live's moments. You may be saying "Jeremy, you sentimental piece of shit, when did you sell out?" Bear with me for a few minutes here.

Dude comes into the store yesterday asking about having a statue made. With a statue, we essentially take a photo, stick it to a piece of acrylic board, and trace the outline with a really powerful jigsaw. I know, it sounds easy, but the only way I can really express the difficulty of running the cutter is like this -- try putting a pen tip on the end of a vibrator, turn that vibrator to high, and then try to trace something with it. See how well that works for you.

So anyways, point is, this guy asks about getting a statue made. The girl who works the front desk comes to the back to ask me about getting it done by Friday, since I'm one of only two people who does statues. I have a look at the photos and say sure we can do it, then decide to head to the front to talk to him, because he has some issues about where it will be cut, etc. The guy's photo is a shot of him and three friends at their senior prom, and the photographers who did it put a border on it, which means there's a white line over some things at the edge of the photo. We discuss the issue.

Dude: "I'm really pissed at those photographers right now because they never said they were going to do this. I can't believe it, it's going to look really weird now."
Okay, yeah. I can see this. Of course maybe if you had said that you wanted these made into statues, they'd have made an exception, but okay.
Dude: "Graduation is on Saturday, so I need to have these by then, because I'm getting these as graduation presents for these guys, and I may never see them after graduation."
Wo. Okay, one: You will see them, trust me. Unless the very next day you're flying to Siberia, you have a whole summer before you leave for college, so let it go. Two: You're sounding just a little too much needy here, a little more attached to these group of guys than you should.

So I'm looking at this guy, with a little bit of disbelief registering in my mind but not my face, and thinking: "You're a stupid shit, man. I remember high school, and when it came time for graduation, I was thinking almost the same thing... only difference was my thought went more like this: 'Holy shit, I may never see these people again... YES!' "

So I tell him I'll do them, despite desperately wanting to shake him and tell him to wake the fuck up, and that it's really not that important. Keep in mind he's spending like 80 bucks to get these four statues made.

Now, what's great about this is that in about five years, he's going to wish he was right. He's going to wish he never saw them again. He's going to wish they'd gone there seperate ways after graduation and that was the end of it. Maybe not, because apparently they're his "friends," but I'd say it's likely this will happen. Don't get me wrong, I still keep in touch with a few friends from high school, and I care about them, but for the most part the people I knew in high school are as insignificant to me as a bug on the sole of someone else's shoe. Not even my own shoe.

But more importantly...
This photo is of these four guys doing a pseudo - Backstreet boys pose. One has sunglasses and his head is tilted down. The other is pointing at the camera in a very Justin Timberlake way. Another is running his hand through his hair. The dude who bought them has a Scott Stapp pose going, head tilted back and raised, with his arms spread out in the "who you gonna fuck with" style.

So, the way I see it, here's how this will play out:
15, 20, maybe 30 years from now, this guy is going to be depressed. He's going to be bitter about the fact that he marriad a woman he doesn't love and has three kids who absolutely hate him. Because of Jenna Bush's policies, he's not allowed to come out of the closet, so he hides his gay intentions with a wife and family and pretends to be an upstanding member of the community. He's going to go into the attic of his suburban home, to get away from the noise of the screaming kids and the constantly bitching wife, and he's going to start looking through the boxes of stuff his wife made him put up there. In the bottom of one of the boxes, he's going to come across this statue, scrtached and dusty but still there, still recognizable, and the memories are going to come flooding back. He's going to remember life then, carefree and fresh, with his three best friends, who he cared for more than anyone else in the world, cruising the town and cracking jokes. He's going to remember losing touch with them over the years, and not seeing any of them until Donnie killed himself back in June 2009, and not seeing them since. He's going to remember getting older, graduating from college, working in shitty jobs, and marrying a woman he never cared about, because everyone said that since he's overweight and getting older, he should just settle for someone with "a nice personality." Right about here is when the tears start to flow, but the story isn't over yet. He's balling his eyes out, so hard he can't even see the photo now, and he's remembering the nights of passionless sexy with his frumpy wife, and the nights when he faked a headache or being too tired so she wouldn't mock him for being impotent. He wasn't really impotent, he just never found women attractive. He's going to think about how every time he could get it up and "please" his wife, it was because he had been thinking about Donnie. Donnie, his friend. Donnie, the cute one. Donnie, the one running his hand through his hair in that old photo. God, he looks so good there, so youthful, so young, not like he did 4 year later just before he killed himself. Not like he did after he got hooked on heroin. Not like he did after he was selling his ass to rich guys to score some money for his next fix. In that photo, he was still the Donnie eveyone wanted to think about. Unconsciously, his dick starts to grow hard in his pants as he thinks about Donnie back in those days. He's sobbing so hard, the statue is lying on the floor now, he's curled into a ball, stroking himself through his pants and thinking about Donnie and what happened to his life. It's all over now, it's nothing like it used to be, everything is changed, everything is wrong, everything is so fucked up. In desperation, he fumbles around and finds an old kitchen knife from one of the boxes. He clumsily wraps his hands around the blade, and curled into a ball on the floor, crying over what once was, he plunges the knife deep into his stomach and rips it sideways. Blood is pouring out everywhere, his intestines are spilling on the floor, and he can feel the warmth leaving his body. His wife and kids are still downstairs, he can still hear the screaming and the bitching, and he knows he'll never have to hear it again. Finally, he's found peace.

I know that I'm not the one that made all this possible for him. But by doing my job, I was able to affect this guy's life. I was able to make a little change, able to push him further towards that pit of despair. Because of a few minutes work on my part, I was able to provide him with something he'll get enjoyment out of for years and that will help him to remember all those times past. If that's not magical, than I don't know what is.

Have a nice day, kids.


At 27.6.05, Anonymous grushinski said...



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