A Real Day in the Life
I was always a fan of the Gilmore Girls when the series made its original run during the 2000s, never fully committing but always game to watch an episode here and there. However, it wasn't until this past weekend that I finally sat down to watch the show's addendum, A Day in the Life, rebooted by Netflix at the end of 2016 (almost ten years after the finale), and realized what astute observers of reality the Palladinos are. Amy and Daniel Palladino didn't bring back the Gilmores to appease anyone's burning need for fantastical fairy tale closure. On the contrary! A Day in the Life completely rips off all scabs that may have been festering and hits viewers with an uncomfortable dose of reality, one that matches up entirely with my post-graduate experiences and reconfirms everything I've come to understand about the world.
As you might imagine, many long time fans were upset by the show's newfound trajectory. I, on the other hand, FUCKING LOVED IT!!!!!!
In case you're not a Gilmore Girls devotee (which I'm assuming you're not if you read this blog), I'm not here to recap the specifics or try to explain to you the various plot twists. Whether you follow the chronicles of Rory and Lorelei or not, I'm sure you've all known someone who got straight As in school, went on to an illustrious collegiate career, yet found themselves completely unable to function once outside of that safely-structured curriculum. You don't need to be a Star's Hollow resident to understand that real life doesn't care about your transcripts, or where you went to school, or who you studied under, or what you scored on the LSATs. If you're a parent, or a teacher, or anyone who's ever had to take in a struggling college graduate as they went through academic withdrawal, writhing and contorting their bodies as they begged for one last hit of scholastic importance, you know what I'm talking about. Clearly, the Palladinos are well-versed.
For seven seasons, Rory Gilmore was as close to perfect as a kid can get. Honors and achievements in high school. Valedictorian of her class. Choice of Ivy League universities. Editor of her college newspaper. Top of her class at Yale. Destined to be the world's next great journalist. That's how we left her in 2007. Thus, watching her stumble and bumble her way into her thirties, still looking for her break while mooching off of friends and family, brought a huge smile to my face because I know and have known many Rory Gilmores. I have been Rory Gilmore, myself. I have tried to help others avoid Rory Gilmore's fate. I am utterly familiar with what being Rory Gilmore entails as the harsh lessons of real work in real life continue to pile up over time. When you've been told your whole life how special and talented you are, it becomes quite easy to believe that's the truth. What you don't realize until later is how easily manipulated you are by others who recognize weakness in that pride.
Working in the booze business, you start to notice the same pattern. People tell you you're special, talented, gifted, an influencer, etc. They blow smoke up your ass and you want to believe it (why do you think so many hotshot critics, sommeliers, and bartenders are such assholes?). They prey on your vanity and your very human desire to be accepted and valued. Then, once you're no longer of value to them, they forget about you. Of course, that's not just the booze business, that's any business. That's the harsh reality of real life. It's when you realize that the words on your college degree are meaningless, your grades even more so, and your accomplishments laughable unless you can talk about their specific and acute ability to impact sales. All your life you've been working to improve your resume and only now do you realize it's a big fucking joke. Finding success is unfortunately not based on what you say or what others say about you; it's about what you can do. It's always been that way, and it always will be. I get emails from people all the time who want to write about wine and spirits, go on trips to visit producers, and need advice from someone who does that for a living. That's when I smile to myself and gently explain to them the actuality of what's going on:
No one invites me to Scotland or France to "write" or opine about alcohol. They invite me to visit because they know I sell. I sell lots and lots of booze and there's nothing abstract or subjective about those statistics. I put up numbers. Numbers that translate into money. Numbers that are measurable and can be compared and contrasted against a budget. A budget that decides if there's enough money to justify taking me out to dinner or not. It's a calculated decision. It has nothing to do with passion or excitement. It has everything do with dollars and cents. Find a way to make these people some money, and they'll certainly find time to take your appointment.
Now that's not why I write about booze, personally. I do this entirely in my free time because I enjoy it. I don't get paid to write by K&L, but if they were compensating me, they certainly wouldn't pay me to write about the Gilmore Girls. Coincidently, that's the painful conclusion that Rory Gilmore comes to in the lastest Netflix installment: if she really wants to write, she's going to have to write for herself. No one's going to pay her to write about what she wants to write about, despite her Yale background and numerous credentials. She thought someone was going to swoop in right after graduation, tell her how great she was, and instantly give her a salary and an assignment. What she soon discovers, however, is that people don't pay you to be smart. What they pay you for are results. If your college education helps you make them money, you're hired. If you expect them to figure out for you exactly how you're going to make them money, well.....maybe you need to watch more Gilmore Girls.