Friday, January 18, 2008

Paying Dues, or Jimmy Olsen's Blues

Well, I've progressed to working at Vespa Ridgefield full-time, and am basically loving it.
I add the qualifier to that statement, because at the tender age of 36, it kinda feels like I'm starting all over again. While I enjoy everyday at work, everyday is also a reminder of how much I have to learn. The concept of the aspiring journalist starting out in a newspaper's mail room comes to mind.
Which of course brings to mind, Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen:

Though the Spin Doctors were basically a hippie-jam band disguised as 90's alternative, I have always been quite fond of this song. I can not think of a better example of geeky white boy blues that actually has some funk to it.
Perhaps that fondness stems from the fact that, when the song initially came out, I was starting my longest running to date career, a job which paid me entry level wages, yet required me to wear a tie, while I lived downtown in metropolitan area, and rode a scooter work. It was hard not to feel an affinity to Jimmy Olsen, the every-boy construct so obviously thrown into the Superman Mythos so that the perceived average reader would have a sympathetic character to relate to.
Of course, in American Super-Hero Mythos, Jimmy Olsen was eventually replaced by Peter Parker. In Petey, we have a character who is a stand-in for the geeky reader (and, ***ahem*** rides a moped in the latest film interpretations) while also being the hero/ wish fulfillment vehicle of the story. But Spiderman could never provide us with the beautiful tension, that is Jimmy Olsen's Blues. The genius of Spiderman is that this tension is integrated into the character, which disallows the potential of the emotion of "I can't believe my dilemma is real, I'm competing with the man of steel." Spiderman's tension is more post-modern, one of competing with oneself.
Anyway, these points are academic. As the Dragon's humble alter-ego already HAS his Lois Lane, his MJ, and is quite content with her.
Still, professionally, here I am paying dues all over again. It is a strange feeling, humbling, yet invigorating at the same time.
While, officially, my job at Vespa Ridgefield is supposedly something along the lines of Office Manager, in reality it is do whatever I am able to. And right now, due to some obstacles beyond my control, I am unable to do a lot of the duties I was hired for. Instead, I am doing a lot of gopher work. And, honestly, I don't have a problem with that. I'm learning the business from the ground up, or basically, paying dues.
Today, for instance, I spent a lot of time cleaning and detailing bikes on the showroom. Now, it would be easy to see this task as a tedious and thankless one, yet I quite enjoyed it. Bikes are quite sensuous, easily an example of the kind of erotic technology which Cronenberg explores in many of his films. I guess that is why I am so attracted to painting on them. Painting is a sensuous, erotic experience, and painting on the sweeping curves of a bike exponentiates that sensation in way which canvas, paper, or pixels never could. So to me, detailing a bike is almost like foreplay.
Like Jimmy Olsen giving Lois Lane a back rub.

Oh, and if somehow, you didn't play the video, because you were carried away with my purple prose, well, you should. It's a student film (paying dues, again) that gives a visual narrative to the song. It hasn't had a lot of hits on Youtube, which is a shame, as I think it is a far superior music video for the song than the official one.

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