The Man Knows Talent

Ever wonder what happened to someone you knew a long time ago? A elementary school classmate? Or a co-worker from that dead-end fast-food job you had years ago? Ever find out?

I have. Via a documentary called The Snowball Effect: The Story of Clerks. The figure from the past? Bob Hawk, the man whose efforts brought Clerks from an obscure indie to 90s cultural phenom.

How would someone like me know Bob Hawk? (I know, enough with the questions already) Let me take you back to 1984, when I was slinging popcorn and lugging film cans at the Castro Theatre. After a series of semi-disastrous attempts at a career, I decided to take on a what I thought would be a bohemian life in San Francisco. The problem was along with the life, I was also making Bohemian wages, so bohemian that three times a week I risked my neck climbing up a 20-ft ladder to change the marquee for an extra six bucks a side. I had a hard time shaking the feeling that I ought to try being something other than a ticket-taker, but I was so freaked out over having few employable skills that I set my sites pretty low. Until Bob came by to see me.

I’m not sure if Bob worked for Surf Theaters (the company managing the Castro) or simply affiliated with it somehow, but one day he dropped by to tell me there was an opening in the admin office and that I should apply for the job. I was shocked; though we knew each other via film festivals or plain day-to-day work, we never interacted much. But when he talked to me about the job, I got the sense that he saw something in me, or at least enough in me to know I could handle something more than shoving plastic letters in slots while teetering over a sidewalk.

The rest of the story is a letdown: I applied for the job and didn’t get it. And I wound up buttering popcorn and reading the Bay Area Reporter while selling matinee tickets in the ticket booth for another year. But that doesn’t matter. What matters was Bob’s kindness towards me at a time when I was sure I was on the fast track to single-lady catdom.

So Bob–I never got to tell you this, but–


Best Quote from The Office This Season Dept: “….you’re very exotic looking. Was your dad a GI?” (The Merger, 11/16)