I work at this place, I’m a little fuzzy on the company’s policy about what you can and can’t say about it on the internet, so let’s call it Darts. Not that it matters; I like Darts. I like the people that work there, and I like helping costumers. It’s satisfying. We’re technically supposed to call them “guests”, but if they’re guests, why are we making them pay for everything? That’s just bad form.
I like my boss at Darts. You can always see him out on the floor, pushing flats full of paper towels or, you know, whatever Darts sells. You see that as an employee and it makes you feel good. You know he’s not holed up in some office, with his feet propped up on his Carpathian elm desk, puffing away on a cigar he lit with a burning fifty dollar bill. Maybe in front of the desk there’s one of those little golf things bosses have in movies; the little putting green carpet. Also this imaginary boss wears suspenders and looks like Lane Smith. Ooh, or Oscar from Short Circuit 2.
Yeah. Let’s go with this guy.
So I like Darts, but I’m kind of in the periphery there. There’s a wall by the office with pictures of everyone in each department, and I’m not on it. Now I’m not a huge fan of getting my picture taken, but I’m even less a fan of not getting my picture taken when every other person has. What’s the deal with the wall, what do you need to do to be on that thing? Across from the wall is a tree made of construction paper. They’re doing this contest, where everyone’s name is written on a paper leaf, and when you get three people to sign up for a Darts Card, your leaf gets taken off the tree and put into a bag to win prizes. When I heard that I was thinking “Oh man, I’ll be up on that tree forever. This is going to be embarrassing.” So I looked up in the tree at all the names. I’m not even on the stinking tree! Does anyone even know I work there?
I guess that’s on me. I don’t really talk much at work. I want to, I just….don’t. One time during one of the daily morning meetings, the boss said the Beatles are “the most overrated band of all time”. He just put it out there and I said nothing. I didn’t say that first of all, ever since the internet became a thing, nothing can ever be over or under-rated again. Because no matter what it is, you will always be able to find people who absolutely love it, and people who absolutely hate it. And they will be forever entwined in battle, calling each other names I can’t repeat at work without getting fired, and accusing each other of living in their parents’ basements. So there’s that.
You don’t have to particularly like the Beatles to understand their significance. To say they’re overrated is just contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. It’s like you’re negating the past half century of music. Every artist that’s come out since 1963 has been influenced by the Beatles, or else influenced by a band who was influenced by the Beatles. And are we talking the band as a whole, or the individuals in it? Yes, Paul McCartney wrote some overly sappy love longs in his time and currently looks like Angela Lansbury, but what about George Harrison? “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You” notwithstanding, how can you argue with the genius of George Harrison? You can’t, that’s how. Frank Sinatra called “Something” the greatest love song of the past fifty years. Eric Clapton plays lead guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” He produced The Life of Brian and Time Bandits. He introduced the West to the sitar and Ravi Shankar. By the way, did you know Nora Jones is Ravi Shankar’s daughter? I found out, like, two weeks ago. As an amateur purveyor of all things entertainment and trivia, I feel like I dropped the ball on that one. In my defense, the dude’s 92 years old and her last name is Jones. Anyway…where was I? George Harrison. He was a Traveling Wilbury for crap’s sake. Here, look at this:
If you don’t wish you were standing in that room, you’re dead inside and you don’t know shit about music.
Anyway, I didn’t say any of that out loud.
Another time, the boss and some executives were walking by, talking about Brian Doyle-Murray. “He’s in all Bill Murray’s movies. He was the mayor in Groundhog Day,” the boss offered. And as they walked past, I just meekly thought to myself “I want to talk about Brian Doyle-Murray.” And I should have, because they really just glossed over so much. Yes, they mentioned Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, but missed probably the most obvious one, Scrooged.It not only has Bill Murray (as Frank Cross) and Brian Doyle-Murray (Frank’s father), but Murray’s two other brothers as well. John Murray plays Frank’s brother James, and Joel Murray is just a random party guest (but check him out in God Bless America, available on Netflix streaming). The whole thing actually paralleled the scene in Scrooged when James couldn’t remember the name of the boat from Gilligan’s Island, and Frank was like “It’s the SS Minnow!” but they couldn’t see or hear him.
And he doesn’t just ride his younger brother’s coattails like some Clint Howard, he actually co-wrote Caddyshack. And what about non-Bill Murray movies? He was in Wayne’s World, freaking JFK, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, where he acted alongside his brother’s archnemisis, Chevy Chase. And he’s a prolific voice artist, most notably he’s The Flying Dutchman on SpongeBob Squarepants. He’s not, however, the grandfather from Grounded for Life, or the “Jump to Conclusions guy” from Office Space; that’s Richard Riehle. But Arrested Development fans know there is only one man Warden Gentles has ever called a coward.
And that’s Brian Doyle-Murray
I could talk about Brian-Doyle Murray all day. In fact, why can’t I just do that? Why can’t someone just say:
“Hey, would you like to talk about movies and get paid for it?”
“Can I also talk about TV and the ’80s?”
“I don’t see why not.”
Then we’d high-five and freeze frame in mid-air.
Just…write about stuff. I know this is a job, because people do it. And I don’t want to say I’m better than them, but I’m better than them. I’m not looking for the Standard Rich and Famous Contract. I’ll settle for Internet Famous. That’s better anyway, because you don’t have to move to New York or Los Angeles or any of those bullshit places.
The problem is I went to school for graphic design. Granted, it was a for-profit college that advertises during Maury Povich (like the one with the girl who hopes that last commercial really got you thinking about a career as a medical assistant…”and don’t forget the cute scrubs, too!”) and my Associate degree may as well have been printed on a placemat menu with a maze on the back, but I actually learned some pretty useful stuff in college. For example, did you know that if an iMac overheats, an honest-to-God tiny mushroom cloud shoots out of the top, and the smell of burnt wires is so overwhelming that you have to evacuate the room? Well I do, thanks to higher learning. But I’m not using any of that information at Darts. And since the “talking about movies” checks are probably never coming, and since I’ll be paying student loans until my grandchildren die of old age, the only way college can be seen as not a colossal waste of time and money is to get another graphic design job.
So I work at Darts by day, look for graphic design work by night, and all I really want to do is talk about how I’ve been thinking about Ghostbusters 2 since I wrote “Carpathian” in the second paragraph, and that I’m of the controversial opinion that it’s a far more quotable movie than the first one.