It was during an inspirational talk by one of my teachers for a program we have at school. It was designed to motivate us to work harder and ‘achieve our potential’, what ever that is. One of my better, more inspired teachers asked the speaker why we should bother.

The speaker then proceeded to expose the values of achieving, saying it all came down to money, and if we worked hard we could make more money down the track. That is we wanted to achieve our career goals we must get good marks. To illustrate her point, the speaker turned to me and asked what my career goals were.

“A video store clerk” was my reply.

The speaker, thinking this was a smart arse remark, and not being one to appreciate smart arse remarks, glared at me in a disapproving manner. This was not a joke however, I genuinely want to be a video store clerk. My reasoning follows.

There are the superficial reasons, which would come in a colourful brochure about being a video store clerk.

But beyond these, the real reason for me is thus.

The Nicest People in the World are Video Store Clerks

Every video store clerk I’ve met has been really pleasant. Not in a “Would you like fries with that?, Have a nice day” sort of a way, but as a normal, relaxed person. Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had have been with video store clerks. Once when I rented Blade Runner, I talked for half an hour about the works of Philip K. Dick. Whenever I leave a video store I always have this feeling of “what a nice person”.

The thing is, I don’t really want lots of money, responsibility and power. I just want to be the guy everyone knows as “the video guy, yea, the one with big sideburns.” I like having relaxed conversations with random people who have good taste. I want to be the nice guy, who gives a sort of haven for everyone else with their hectic lives.

After putting my view foward, the speaker continued her glare. But I swear I could see a smile on the face of the teacher who asked why we should bother.

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