At the end of Mystery Men, when the team of ragtag superheroes has saved the day, they get interviewed by the newscast and say this:
“‘Excuse me, could I say something? I think we would all like this victory to go out to all the other guys, and I’m talking about the people in this city who are super good at their jobs but never get any credit. Like the lady in the DMV – that’s a rough job.’
‘To the people that remember jingles from tons of old commercials.’
‘And uh, uh, people that support local music and seek out independent film.’
‘And the guy that drives the snow-plow. And the school nurse, that’s a…’
‘Eddie, Eddie, I think they got the point.'”
While it’s memorable for being funny, this quote stayed with me for a different reason after having watched the movie for the first time a few weeks ago. It made me feel vindicated and sufficiently thanked for my work at the mansion.
This past week, I spent a lot of time in the three by two foot floor space of the entry way to one of the apartments in the mansion. I sanded drywall compound, primed the walls and ceiling, and painted. During that time, I probably listened to “Crimson and Clover” at least fifteen times and sang along to all kinds of songs from the 1960s. So it wasn’t all bad by any means. The only difficult part was not being able to find anything in the garage, so I used a worn down sanding block and didn’t have safety glasses.
During one of the days, the youngest son of the house owner began a conversation with me about college extracurricular activities. At the age of 17 or 18, he is the black sheep of the family, in part because he is attending college late. On the bright side, he was just accepted to be a part of a national debate team. He asked me what extracurricular activities I had done, and I told him I was in choir, took voice lessons, and once put together a basketball team, primarily made of people who hadn’t really played the sport before.
It was at this point in the conversation that he said something very telling: “And you went to Metro State, right? And majored in library sciences?”
I’m sure Metropolitan State is a great school, and I have heard some good things about it. But in point of fact I went to Colorado College. It isn’t a state school, and the tuition proves it. Even though a lot of people from Colorado haven’t even heard of it, and some people ask if CC stands for community college, Colorado College is in fact a renowned liberal arts school. I also studied not library sciences, but English. When I said these things, he suddenly became more interested in me, and his esteem for me visibly increased.
I like working with my hands at the mansion, being able to see the effects of my work. Even so, there are times that I’d like to be able to quote Mystery Men to the homeowners. Or even say something as silly as, “Lucille, God gave me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well,” like the Shoveler says to his wife. I’d like credit for supporting local music, or picking up the dog poop in the basement of the mansion, or doing a bang up job at drywall sanding. Where we went to college shouldn’t be important in deciding what we think of a person, nor should we be able to treat people any worse for whatever job they might have. I work hard, and yes, I’m pretty good with a shovel.