Slippin’ Jimmy – what we’ve earned and what we deserve in life


I felt some anxiety this morning. I don’t know why as recently it hasn’t bothered me too much. All the running and cooking are normally quite therapeutic. Maybe watching the Amtrak crash in Philly on CNN has affected me more than I realize. I know what has happened. I’ve seen the same pictures already and the news conference, so more information about the accident isn’t going to help me any. I would like to know why the train derailed, but I’ve been told lately that reasons don’t matter.

Lately I have found that washing the dishes calms me, so I did that. It’s not clearing the dirty piles of plates and cups from the counter that gratifies me. It must be the actual process of washing them. I find this is strange, as normally in the past seeing them piled up caused frustration, and I didn’t feel much different about them when they were stacked in the drying rack.

I thought up this blog post while I had my hands submerged in the soapy water, searching around the bottom of the metal sink for remaining cutlery, about what we think we deserve in life.

[Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen Better Call Saul]

When I first saw the scene in Better Call Saul, in Episode 9 ‘Pimento’,  where he finds out it’s his brother who’s been preventing him from an HHM job, I had a strange reaction when I saw that scene, and the feeling concerned me. I didn’t feel sick, but it felt like some invisible force reached into my body as I sat on the couch, grabbed hold of my innards, and twisted them around about 260 degrees.

I identified with Slippin’ Jimmy.

It wasn’t to do with law school. I took some classes at a law school that was respected. I took the classes later in life.  I  remember going to buy law books in a shop in Manchester and my instructors had written some of them. I’m just commending the instructors, that’s all. A store of plush carpet, hardwood shelves and elegant windows, I think I liked going there, just because I thought the shop was quite magical. I could pretend I was in a Charles Dickens story, only in Manchester. It was near the Vivienne Westwood shop where the shopgirl suggested I buy the £30 socks for stocking-stuffers. I might have had a bit of the same gut-wrenching feeling then too. The book-store was set in an area of tiny cobbled streets away from the main shopping and business area, like a  Diagon Alley without the wizards.

Part of the Slippin’ Jimmy thing is understanding the situation where you haven’t had the best opportunities. You need to take the shortcuts. Being in the situation where you’re already at a disadvantage when you start. Sometimes it’s not economic, you’ve just had a lot to figure out in life. Or maybe, you could have had some good opportunities but you just weren’t strong enough. You didn’t know at the time. I was never a swindler, but I think what angers me about that scene, is when Chuck McGill says “You know I am right,” when he tells him he will “always be Slippin’ Jimmy”.

Jimmy doesn’t agree with him. Jimmy doesn’t think he’s right. But Chuck’s prejudice bothers me. I also realize, that in real life,  I don’t know who the Chuck is. I think there are Chucks out there. I think people want things for me, but they may be different from what I want. Sometimes I do things that make me proud of myself. That’s a good thing, as I think sometimes I am standing alone. There could be Chucks close to me. Maybe the Chuck is partly me now.

But I never started out that way. You don’t start out as a child telling yourself you can’t have things in life. That you haven’t accomplished something real. People start to feed that stuff to you.

I have never told anyone that they don’t deserve something. I have had it said to me, when I was a teenager. It wasn’t to do with writing. I was in high-school. A person of authority within the family said they “didn’t think I deserved” something in particular. At the time I was a student that tried my best, I didn’t party, I didn’t do drugs or drink, and I didn’t spend all my time hanging out with friends. I also helped out around the house. I can remember at the time being baffled. Why don’t I deserve this? The funny thing is, I can’t remember what I didn’t deserve. Some fun event, perhaps. It’s one of those little things that I hardly ever think about. I remember it every few years. But it’s still in there.

There are little things in daily life that remind you if you are not careful. Sometimes it is just the culture.

For instance, I worked in a law firm in Manchester once. There was a toilet for staff down the hall from the office, and then there was a toilet inside the office that lawyers and paralegals could use. The staff had to go use the toilet down the hall. The law degree toilet was small. It wasn’t like the whole office could have used it. But it’s the idea of privilege. A legal secretary once asked one of the partners, “So you have to have a law degree to use that toilet?” She didn’t answer. A girl who sat across from me, who I think was at University or College to be a paralegal. She finished her course, so all of a sudden, she started using it.

I had already started taking law courses before I started working there. I used the hall toilet. I was also told that if I hadn’t been taking the law classes they wouldn’t have hired me anyway, I wasn’t experienced enough. I didn’t have much of a chance of getting in the fancy toilet at the rate I was going. I had never taken enough law school to get to the law degree toilet when I was there. But the reason I went to law school was to better myself in some way. It had nothing to do with what toilet I used. There at that firm, they sure liked to rub it in.

So, it’s to do with believing then. Does it matter if people don’t believe in you, even if you believe there is nobody but you who believes?

It may be just me, but after thinking about that episode, I also wondered if Chuck is jealous of Jimmy and even he doesn’t realize it. Or maybe it’s jealousy mixed in with snobbery. The characters in this program are complex.

I was just thinking about life desires with starting my recent section of ‘poverty related eating’ posts on my blog. I think myself and everyone else should be able to afford the food they want. I think people should have enough food to eat so they don’t have to stress over an empty pantry. While I think it is great to be positive, how can we instigate change from the status quo and get what we need if we don’t do something about it?

Surely the Slippin’ Jimmys of the world should have a chance to get what they want? I hope so. There can’t be that many Cinnabons hiring.

I’m looking forward to Season 2 of Better Call Saul in 2016. In the meantime I will practice watching the breadsticks episode without cringing.

Photo Credit: televisione via Compfight cc

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