When I Feel Fulfilled
by Breshvic Penicillin
Future Video Engineer
Hello. My name is Breshvic Penicillin and I am a Video Engineer to be. And while many of my extensively enthusiastic and thoroughly trained colleagues are excited and better-suited to this career track, people that eat, shit, and breathe audio, I have some doubts. Granted, Seeing the new Mackie D8B, and going further to read up on its successor, the DXB, grants me with such an erection I need an excuse to sit at the console for a while thinking of baseball or perhaps Brazilian soccer until it subsides. And true, I wept with joy at the new audio Iso booth B setup, which actually makes sense for once. I die a little inside when I hear that a fellow student has gotten fake blood all over the $24,000 24p cameras, or buried them in mud unprotected for a singular “artistic” shot, (metaphorically representing the inner struggle of us all to unwield ourselves from the worldly strain of CAMERAS BEING BROKEN!) How do you break a tripod mount screw? How does the inner lens get chipped? Why would you ever hang out of a moving car window climbing onto the roof on the highway with equipment of this kind??
But I digress.
I go to a trade school that touts itself as an Art school, luring would-be Digital Compositors with the promises of animation, would-be Graphic Designers with the promises of painting classes (of which none that I can recognize exist), and would-be Video Engineers with the promises of film. Granted, I did get to work with film. As an tertiary expendable class not necessary and in fact quite obstructive to my core classes in Nonlinear Editing on Avid and Business of Production. I take general elective classes that I do not generally elect to take, but are required by law for state accreditation, such as History of Art in Early Civilization or Professional Development or Ethics, in which I received twenty dollars to write somebody else’s final term paper, entitled “an Attack on Civil Liberties.”
My father was a stoner beatnik hippie, or at the very least, a wannabe, for though he denies it, his record collection consisting of Steppenwolfe and the Grass Roots speaks for itself, and the final condemnation coming from his liberal arts degrees at the University of Cincinnati in the height of the seventies where he dreamed of becoming a Painter, a conceptual architect, a substitute art teacher, and a science fiction writer. He certainly did NOT dream of becoming a Loan Officer for a major bank chain, a title that, as a child, I assumed carried some intrigue of Starsky and Hutch-like car chases and shootouts. He works in a bank. He has a degree on the wall with little to no relevance, alongside a fairly decent painting of a waterfall that he painted for my mother and hanged dormant there ever since.
My mother, though she denies it, was an artist as well, though in a much more benign sense of the word, stitching, painting, writing, dreaming, and in high school cut gym class to be on the debate team, and mock trial and urged me to do the same which I casually did but never recognized myself as a full member of either club. She wanted to be a lawyer, but with an old-fashioned father who didn’t want to send his daughter to college since his son didn’t want to go and it wouldn’t be fair to send one and not the other, she would have had to pay for school herself, something she could readily do, working hard hours at the Waffle House, that is, if she weren’t already paying for my father’s now-defunct degree.
I sadly, I believe, offended my parents with these revelations when visiting them some months ago, cold and rainy and depressed and the loving both of them trying to cheer me up hopelessly with Orange Sherbet ice cream (my favorite) at a United Dairy Farmers somewhere around Mt. Adams. Who am I? Who am I to think that I’ll be doing what I want in ten years when my parents didn’t achieve that end, and they actually KNEW what the wanted, something that can’t, truth be told, be said about me.
I agonize. I’m confident, sure, but I agonize. Beginning each quarter of school it’s ‘nose to the grindstone’ and ‘eye on the prize.’ But with one foot on the ground and half my head in the clouds it seems to me a tall order to fulfill.
Once again, I do not feel fulfilled.
Would I work in video? In television? In Hollywood running for coffees for people arrogant enough to manifest their own? Perhaps. After all, any dignity I had was buried some miles below towards Queensland back in middle school. This makes life all the more convenient for me, you see, when I ask girls out on dates, or go for a job interview, or simply meet new people. A lack of fealty to dignity but with the remnants of proper humility is very useful, you know. It’s like losing all your inhibitions while drunk, but while retaining all motor control and most of your sense of decency.
“Do I contradict myself? Very well. I contradict myself. I am large and contain multitudes.” -Walt Whitman
Video doesn’t fulfill me because it doesn’t leave anything for my children, which I assure everyone, I will have. The sad realization hit me, quite young in fact, as the biological alarm went a ringin’, that my sole purpose in life is to have children, which is also convenient to know because it means that, once I have my purpose, I can go on enjoying life on my own terms until the time comes to fulfill it. I can date and sleep around, because I know that one day, perhaps by fate, I will meet that ONE girl that deigns me appropriate father material. However, I must strive to attain more, to raise children *responsibly*, and to assure that THEY get what THEY want from life, and I’m not just talking about funding. If it were only so, then the whole argument would be moot, because Video Engineers make more than enough money to send their children to ivy league schools, should they happen to have the foresight to save up for them, which clearly I would. My point is that the children, and not just my children, but children of the world, should have something to build upon, as we have. Each time I am introduced to a new author or artistic influence or see some epic construct of film-making genius, I think of Hegel’s pyramid, that the truth of the universe reveals itself to us through history. That each generation, building upon the philosophical successes of their predecessors, comes that much closer to the great answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Call it God. That would be a different essay.
Making sure that the graphics package is done for the six-o-clock news on time hardly fulfills this function, nor me. Neither does tape rewinds, slo-mo replays, or coffee retrieval.
What fulfills me, dear friends, is sitting in a lounge listening to a progressive band that I have never heard before and discussing the possibilities of time travel with others. What fulfills me is a decent debate, nay, argument, with differing political or religious ideologues over fried food. What fulfills me is a discussion on the nature of nature or perhaps evolution while partaking in some finely ground herb by a waterfall in the middle of the woods after half of your trek, or Volk’s March, with nothing but your bowl, a notepad, a good friend to share it with. What fulfills me is silence, while sitting on a fishing boat with two good friends and plenty of free time. What fulfills me is a good book, and the discussion that will inevitably follow as you share it with a friend, a significant other, or a lover. What fulfills me is to lay down, stoned, on the hood of a friend’s car and imagine yourself slowly drifting directly straight into space as you would into madness, face a mask of horror as each loss of gravitational pull, each darkening moment leads you closer to the cold grip of that aether, and a loss of each precious breath. What fulfills me is the smile of the girl you love, a girl that can never know that you love her, and a love that fulfills itself nonetheless. What fulfills me is to reconcile two mutual friends who’ve been fighting for reasons either substantial or petty, and for the three of you to hang out again. What fulfills me is the altruistic pursuit of helping another, even for a moment, even in the smallest of ways, and touching that person’s life for the rest of their realized memory, and receiving nothing asked in return. And finally, what fulfills me the most is the ability to laugh, hand-in-hand with the ability to weep, but more-so, to laugh at our failings, at our enemies, at our friends, at nothing particular at all.
A spiritual revolution may be coming to a town near you. I don’t know what it is or will be, I don’t even know if it will even be in my lifetime, but I would like to expedite the process. If I only knew how, then I may fulfill that little something greater.