Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Everything is Better When You’re Working

That’s the theme for today’s episode of Room19Comics. The working world is a lot of fun because you get paid for your time. What a concept. The only problem is, you never get paid what you think that you deserve for the amount of work that you do.

It doesn’t matter what you do though, I think that is always the truth. Even athletes or CEOs or movie stars that get paid obscene amounts of money, feel under paid at some point during the day. I can see ARod (not to just pick on him) working out at the gym, taking batting and fielding practice, dealing with the public, thinking to himself, “Damn, this just isn’t worth it. I should be making more.”

But it’s never enough, which is why the pursuit of money is ultimately a hopeless one that ends only in despair.

What a nice bunch of thoughts for this holiday season! So cheerful and full of hope. To see what has gotten me so happy and full of life go to: www.room19comics.com

Actually, what’s depressing about this strip is that it is almost word for word a conversation I had with my roommate one night while we were sophomores in college. For one thing, being a sophomore sucks. It’s the worst year in both high school and college because no one gives a shit about you and there’s nothing new about the school experience. Yet you haven’t been around the block enough to know how things get done.

Basically, it’s freshman year all over again without the surprises.

Anyway, it was a particularly frustrating night for me because it was the winter (which I can’t stand) and I had two huge exams coming up, as well as a mountain of homework. I’ve always hated to study because I’ve figured, “What’s the point? If this was a question in the real world, I’d go look up the answer. No gives a shit if I can memorize stuff.” To add on to this general bitchiness I think it was a Sunday night, so I was probably pissed off that I missed “The Simpsons” or “Married … With Children” or something.

I had finally decided to go to bed and my roommate Jim was up and studying in the room. Jim was a wacky dude, but there were times when he had a pretty good grip on the world around him. I said, and I can remember this like it was yesterday, “Jim, I can’t wait until I have a job and I don’t have to deal with this crap any more.”

He dropped his book and he agreed. I continued with my rambling, “Think about it; no homework, no tests, no being forced to read shit you don’t want to and you get paid for your time! Also, you go into work at 8:30, you leave by 5:00. There is nothing else to do. When you’re done, you’re done.”

I’ve been wrong about a lot of things (every year since 1987, I’ve picked the Sox to win the World Series), but I have never been more wrong than I was that day. Christ. That is a big bowl of wrong right there. The funny part is Jim agreed with me, and it wasn’t like it was a “Yeah whatever, dude” type of agreement, he was with me from the get go. We both actually thought this way.

How is it that the ignorant can be so sure of something that they have no idea about?

For one thing, you do have to read shit you don’t want to read, you’re also forced to do shit you would never want to do. Like I said earlier, you never get paid what you think you deserve and I don’t know anyone who leaves their job at work. Most of us bring that stuff home and it weighs on you like an ACME anvil.

Instead of taking this exchange, which I’ve always thought would make a great comic or exchange in a movie or TV show, and turning it into a Random Memory, I let Eddie and Kurt have at it. Like last week, I originally was going to have it a three-paneled strip, but I thought that the unseen professor asking his students to read two chapters was a humorous way to set up the joke. It’s just a few pages and the class acts like he’s asked them to donate a kidney.

Are college kids always melodramatic like that? I remember every slight as being “the worst thing ever” or every victory as “the best thing ever”. There was never any middle ground, just a series of highs and lows. Though, I guess when you don’t have a lot on your plate (I had five classes a week, and worked for ten hours at the library) you have to make a big deal out of stuff, otherwise you’ll go insane from boredom.

BTW, I did a real crappy job of drawing the guy behind Eddie. He has a mullet and an Oakland A’s hat. Just a terrible job. Probably one of the worst person I’ve ever drawn. Don’t focus on that dude too much. Let’s move on.

The second and third panels are just Eddie and Kurt crabbing about the crosses that they have to bear. Kurt is usually the voice of reason, but malaise and self importance can nab anyone and I don’t really want him to be some uber-mature father figure. When it comes right down to it, he’s a 20-something like Ed, though he may have a little more living under his belt.

During these panels Eddie morphs into me, I feel really stupid for even thinking about it and then we fast-forward five years in the future. I like doing these sort of office strips (I think my first Random Memory had me in an office). Eddie is losing his hair, like a certain web artist you may know, and is really frazzled at work. Instead of one guy asking him to do a small task, there are four people bugging him.

Yes, he’s getting paid, but people are expecting quadruple the work. And that’s pretty much the way shit goes in the real world, isn’t it? As Eddie Veddar once sang on “Red Mosquito” (“No Code” is such an underrated CD, that it’s not even funny. If you don’t have it, run out and buy it right now. This entry can always wait.) “If I had known then, what I know now … If had known then what I know right now …”

Also, one quick thing, I worked on darkening the strip ink a bit. Let me know what you think? Too much? Too little? Not enough?

And Kurt’s shirt is the logo for the Atlanta Hawks, quite possibly the coolest logo ever.

Quick update on the life of Aly and I, we may become homeowners very soon. Actually, we may become condo owners. For about a month, we have been looking at homes (single family on the south shore – most sucked) and condos in and around Boston (most were pretty good, but out of our price range). Last Sunday (12/11) we saw one that is about a half mile from where we are now.

It was pretty nice, two and a half bedrooms, a big living room and dining room, good sized kitchen, lots of natural light. It is really nice. But it was the first place that we looked at, so I was skeptical. Aly wanted to bid on it right away. I said we should wait. Three days later, our realtor calls us and lets us know that there is an even better place in Coolidge Corner.

We go there and we really like it. The one problem, we have to put a bid on it right then and there because there are other people looking at it. So we go through a bunch of hoops with financing and shit and we put a bid on it. Friday comes and the sellers want us to go up, so we scrape some more money together and place another bid.

In the mean time, my parents and Aly’s folks (including her sister and brother in law) are coming up on Saturday to see these two places because … well, they’re our folks and are really into this kind of shit. We go to the first place (12/11 place) and everyone just falls over for it. And to be honest with you I love it more that day than I have ever have before. I’m starting to think that our other bid was a dumb move.

We go to the Coolidge Corner place and they sort of like it, but they weren’t bowled over. I am seriously freaking out, because I know that the place that we put a bid on isn’t for us. Aside from the location (which is awesome), it’s too much money and the place is smaller than the other place. I tell Aly this and she is understandably concerned, considering that I assured her on Friday that we were doing the right thing. Usually I’m not such a pussy, but Saturday I was.

The gang of us all went back to our place to eat bagels and discuss it. During that pow-wow, the realtor calls. Apparently the place that we put a bid on wants more money. We can’t go any higher. The ball is taken out of our hands and our decision has been made. Let’s go for the other place. Yesterday we put our bid in for it and we are waiting to hear what the people say. Hopefully, they go for it.

Aside from looking at potential homes, the last weekend was full of Christmas parties. First was our annual get together with the Foleys and the Murrays. It was a great time, we had our annual poker game (which I broke even, though I would’ve won about $50 if not for Aly … long story, but she made the right move, she was just beat by a better hand. And since I was her sugar daddy, I paid for her bad luck). By the end of the night, because of the earlier condo freak out and some other stuff, I was in a really foul mood.

Everyone went to the Warren Tavern, but Aly and I went home to Brookline. We were both tired, our nerves were shot and so we got into a little fight. Nothing too major, and we made up within 30 minutes, but we have to learn not to talk to each other when we both feel like shit. It’s just not a good thing.

Sunday, Skaus and Sara asked if they could pick us up because Mi-Shu was having the Chili’s gang (Merrimack crew) down to her house for the annual Christmas bash. Quick aside, when we first started this nine years ago, it was just 10 of us. Now with wives/husbands and kids, it is now 25 of us. It’s a good thing though.

I thought it was weird that Skaus wanted to bring us to Weymouth, he lives in Wilmington, but I said sure, come on by. Aly thought it was weird too, but I told her, “If I know Skaus, he has something to tell us … like Sara is pregnant or something.” Turns out I was right. Skaus is going to be a dad. So congratulations to him, it’s great news to hear that. Now I can tell Skaus Jr. all of the stupid things his dad and I did when we were kids. I really am very happy for both of them.

Two other things, Kyle asked me to be his sponsor when he gets confirmed in the spring and Ryan asked me to be Quinn’s (his newest son) God Father. I’ve never felt so honored in my life. Good things are happening.