I've decided to change my name to Dante.
Not legally, of course. First off I don't have the money for such folly, and second, changing my name by adding a mere two letters seems like more trouble then what it's worth. I'm not even sure it adds a syllable - it looks like it should have two, but when you hear it spoken, it walks a subtle line.
These are the thoughts that consume my free time.
No, I'm simply going to give in an accept 'Dante' as a nickname, as proof that I am, in fact, living the life of the guy from Clerks.
For those of you who haven't seen the movie, it follows a guy named Dante through a single day on the job behind the counter of a convenience store.
Dante is intelligent and educated, yet works a low paying, no-respect job where he deals with misfits and idiots. Life seems to find a way to smack him around without ever landing that knockout blow, a la Charlie Brown. He recognizes his misfortune, yet is unable or unwilling to alter his life. He is, ultimately, defined by his job title: a clerk.
But, on the bright side, he does get a small discount on Cheetos.
I am (arguably) somewhat better situated in life. Certainly the parallels in our personal life have tapered over the years, as I am happily married and surrounded by kids. And where Dante and I once shared thick, dark hair and a goatee, I am reduced to just the 'dark' and the goatee.
[Shaving the goatee does nothing to change our karma, for we truly are blood brothers: clean, shaven, we're both in dire need of chin implants.]
Sure, I could change things. I could land a better job, invent a car that runs on water, or actually get paid for writing. But then I wouldn't have stories like these:
Take Saturday, when my wife had a flat tire. I took it to the service station and returned to find they'd 'fixed' the wrong tires. When I asked how they could replace a perfectly good tire while leaving a flat on the car, I was told that the work order specifically said "passenger front". That's what the other guy typed in, so that's what he changed. Now sign the bill, Dante.
Or today, when for the first time in my life I ran out of gas in mywife's car. It's bad enough when you have to push a station wagon down a busy street. It's worse when you can't get it up the hill at the entrance to the gas station, and feel the wagon and your insurance rates slipping slowly back into traffic. Worse still is when you succeed in pushing it to the pump, only to realize the gas cap's on the other side. Or, after all that trouble, spending a fortune to fill the beast only to have it refuse to start, then having your cell phone die and the station attendant refuse to let you make a call.
We are brothers, Dante.
Now, I am reasonably certain that I can change things, even at this late date. And I might have to, for two reasons.
One, they're making a sequel to Clerks, and just in case Dante's gone big money, I'd hate to be left behind.
And two, if I don't my wife just might make do on her threats to leave me.
But I doubt it.
Being married to Dante's the closest thing she has to sleeping with a movie star.