“I don’t want to be like, a guy here, you know? Like, Stanley is the ‘crossword puzzle guy.’ And Angela has cats. I don’t want to have a thing… here. You know, I don’t want to be the ‘something’ guy.”
-Ryan “the temp” Howard, in The Office episode,
I guess you never know when you’re going to become the “something” guy. Back at school, I remember somebody we called the “pirate guy,” and at church for a while we had the “Donny Osmond guy” and the “happy singing guy” (note: not the same person, but oddly in the same vein). If you’re lucky enough to have a specialized profession at which you are successful, then you may become known as “the man,” like our exterminator (aka, Bob the “Bug man”), our tree-trimmer (Kevin, the “Tree man”), or any anonymous driver who rings the bells on his treat truck (Yes, he’s the “ice cream man”). There’s also my compulsive, former neighbor, whom we all avoided…and called “Lawn man.”
In the interest of equal time, on the female side, there are the ladies: the “ticket lady,” the “cleaning lady,” the “crazy cat lady,” the “check-out lady,” the “lady with the big hat,” the “lady who cut me off in the parking lot who keyed my car because she thought it was me who cut her off.”
I don’t know why, but I always pictured my son Jake as the “guy who dances alone at weddings with a foamy drink in his hand,” but I am relieved to see that he’s carved out a place for himself somewhere else in the “guy” landscape: he’s now the homemade, video game character t-shirt guy.
It seems that Jake’s been wearing his own homemade Zelda-themed shirt to theater rehearsals (it’s got a belt drawn in with fabric markers—isn’t that cute?). The teenager who’s playing Father Christmas in the production told Jake that he liked his shirt and asked if Jake could make him one with a Mario Brothers theme. (Jake was tickled over giving Santa Claus a present for a change—oh, the irony.) Anyway, I wasn’t sure if the kid was just being nice or if he really wanted the shirt, but I figured that drawing Mario and mushrooms on a t-shirt would be an enriching Saturday afternoon activity for a Jake, so I picked up one white T and let him have at it.
Turns out that Alex (aka Fr. Xmas) LOVED the shirt, wore it under his Santa suit for the performance, and was still sporting it at the pizza parlor after-party. Also, Jake received orders with detailed specs from three other kids. He’s got himself a little cottage industry going.
Too bad that at $1.50 in profit per shirt (as long as the shirts are on sale), he will have to make about 80,000 shirts to get himself through the college of his choice. Still, I figure, it’s good that he’s starting young.