Disclaimer: I am not sure how familiar you all are with comic book culture. However, the following Superman references are Pop Culture so I am not asking anyone to dig deep for the metaphor.
If Superman is known for nothing, it is for saving something or someone. For such a noble and notable service can anyone recall Superman ever being paid? Invited to dinner? A massage? Anything to demonstrate appreciation for the completion of selfless service that not just anyone can complete? I haven’t. Of course, I am not all knowing or above fault, so I am open to correction but I am relatively certain he was paid less times than he left empty pocketed…if tights had pockets.
What happened when Superman put on the glasses? He “became” Clark Kent. Regular square. 9 to 5er. He gets to have a girlfriend (who is crushing on his alter ego…but I digress) and he earns a check for services rendered. He doesn’t save the world. He works. He earns. He saves the world when he gets off.
I just got glasses.
Backstory:I was nearsighted as a child and have apparently been ignoring it for most of my life. It all came to a head when I found my inability to read ingredients and instructions to be a consistent problem. I spoke to my Wife. She told me several times to go to the Optometrist. After the 3rd time I went.
Here we are.
The world looks different once you get clarity. I’m old and getting older. Alive? Yes. Young? Nah. Not really. I have been designing for roughly 17 years. Yeah. Hardly a hobby. We are well passed the point of passion when we assess this type of commitment. My life’s work is encompassed in those 17 years. The only time I played was when it was time to negotiate being paid. Short changing myself to get the job should have never become a standard but it did and -regret aside- I have learned. Reluctantly and at great cost…like my sight. Staring at monitors for 12+ hours a day for 17 years will have an impact for the worse. As a technologically saturated society, we have to start considering the long term effects of these type of habits. Professionally and personally. Totally separate topic…
Back to what I was saying…how do I factor my eyesight into the fee I charge for business cards? How do I explain to the person who wants the $100 t-shirt design that I can’t do it for that price anymore because I can’t really see like I used to and it’s more difficult for me now? How do I explain to the person that needs their logo done in a rush but doesn’t want to pay rush fees that I can’t even expedite your design and jump the cue because I’m having a problem reading my phone and the computer? Well…I have decided not to explain anything. I have decided to put on my glasses, accept the square clarity of Clark Kent, shoot my price and let somebody else save those worlds.
Enter Dark Kent.
I used to be the evil Superman when I smoked cigarettes. I stopped doing that at the top of the year. Yup. A New Year’s Resolution kept for everyone that believes that to be an impossible feat. It made me more irritable. The last 9 months have been…complicated…but I pulled off just enough missions to keep me from shutting all production down completely. I promise you I still consider it daily. I’m spent. If I didn’t have such raw supporters and internal support, it would have been over. With that said, none of them can see for me. Eyes went bad doing the work. None of them can breathe or eat for me. I got sick eating improperly and suffocating myself w/ depressive habits like viewing self-employment as unemployment. None of them can feel for me. The hurt I ignore becomes the injury/illness I can’t run from. People see the pleasurable byproducts of my pain. I am not alone in this club. It’s not a pity party either. Some of the flyest aspects of some people’s lives come from the darkest tragedies’ of others. It’s all in the movies, music and anything media can afford us all. I just can’t afford to rock a cape and do it all for nothing or next to nothing any more. Not when I need glasses and money. Not when I need to earn like a Man. Not when saving worlds doesn’t pay well and no one is coming to save yours. Nah. Let me put on these glasses and crunch these numbers. They look much clearer now.
So…when you encounter Dark Kent next time we negotiate, please take that professionally and not personally. I have humbled myself to the point of being a bulletproof pushover and it’s costing me my Krypton.
Dark Kent will be a contributing author on this blog moving forward. He will focus on professional honesty as opposed to brutal honesty which only serves to brutalize. Thank you for reading.