Updated: Jul 23
The 1994 Indie movie classic ‘Clerks,’ by Kevin Smith, covers day-to-day monotony of a minimum wage job where the only way to survive is to distract each other with pop culture discussions. The main character Dante is acutely aware of this, because he's dating a young woman named Veronica, who knows she’s going somewhere special. Dante knows he's going nowhere very fast. Veronica is desperate to get him enrolled into her college to give him a direction. Dante is afraid to choose, because in his mind if he doesn’t choose, he can't fail.
Insecurities like that run deep in twenty something men, because while Dante is dating Veronica, he's having secret late night phone calls to his ex-girlfriend, Caitlin Bree. She's his manic Pixie dream girl, long before that term ever existed, with all the good feelings that a girlfriend gives you, but none of that pesky hard work. There's no chance to screw it up because it doesn't exist. In your early 20s, it's easier to live in the fantasy. Caitlin offers Dante a look back into his past before he became just a convenient store clerk. Life for him had more potential in high school. Veronica is a sobering look at who he is. She holds a mirror up to his face and he can't look the devil in the eye. He must look away to Caitlin. She’s running from her own engagement and starts chasing after her fantasy, her memory from the past, her Dante. He wants to date her, and she tells him, “It's just the shock of seeing me after three years you'll get over it...the conception of us dating is a lot more idyllic than the reality.”
Later, Dante confesses to a co-worker that he isn't the type to make the change in his life. He's scared to ask for what he wants. After Veronica learns of his indiscretions, she breaks up with him and yells, “You don't know what you want!” Throughout the movie, Dante’s catch phrase is “I'm not even supposed to be here today.” He was called in on his day off by a boss that doesn't respect him into a job that he doesn't like. In the words of his co-worker, he “buckles like a belt.” There's a question in his statement when he shouts frustratingly to the world, “I'm not even supposed to be here today!”
He's not supposed to be languishing behind a convenience store counter.
He's meant for more. But he's too afraid to go looking for it.
He's not supposed to be there today.
But where else would he go?