Monday, July 28, 2008

Imagineer That

I know, I know, that was the cheesiest title of all time. It kept popping through my head on a visit to Disneyland recently though. I couldn’t help but think that being a Disney Imagineer must be the coolest job ever. And yes, I mean even cooler than cheese taster, ice cream mixologist and Official Purveyor of How To Appropriately Spend Retirement.

You may better know that last job I mentioned by its unofficial title of Retirement Liason or Retirement Consultant. Basically, it’s someone who is paid by retirees to advise them on how to spend retirement. Not how to spend for retirement in the financial sense, but how to enjoy ones retirement. There is a lot of hard work and research that goes into that job because the only way to tell people how to enjoy retirement is by doing and experiencing those things first hand. Some jobs are just inhumanely tough, but our economy and basic operation of society are dependent on people who do the jobs that no one else wants to.

As far as Imagineering goes, could there be a more enjoyable job than getting to create rides, d├ęcor and attractions for The Happiest Place on Earth With The Notable Exceptions Of The Tillamook Cheese Factory And My Newly Redone Backyard? I think not. As I sat in the Tiki Room contemplating how it could be recreated under my new patio, I realized just how creative the original Imagineers were. Singing tiki gods? Robotic bird hosts? Yep, this is the stuff of pure genius, or a byproduct of the hippy counter culture. Let’s just stick with the genius thing though.

My mind drifts off to imagine what it must have been like to hang around with these types of people. I say this because really, how often does the phrase ‘let’s create a bunch of drunken pyromaniac pirates who like to sing about pillaging and extortion’ come up in a staff meeting? Personally, I can only think of one time that has happened in my office, but then I was asked to repeat a new fiscal policy while I had been daydreaming, so I’m not even sure that instance counts.

What do these people come up with for their homes for Halloween or Christmas? Are they allowed to do things like that for personal use and then charge their neighbors for admission? Is that a conflict of interest with regard to profiting personally from their employment? Do they care? Do they just want to leave all that Imagineering stuff at the office when they leave work each day because to them it’s just a job? How many questions did I ask in that last sentence? Are there any questions I didn’t think of? Do you really care?

I used to know a family friend who owned an animatronic company. What a great playground that was! Well, except for that time I went to see the bigger than human singing rodents he was building for a certain kiddy pizza parlor that hosts birthdays and stuff. Seeing dozens of these figures in various states of undress and completion was enough to give me nightmares of armies of singing birthday party pizza hosts coming after me because I refused to buy tokens for ski ball and air hockey. To this day, I still tremble when I pick up a slice of pizza, or when I hear ‘Happy Birthday To You.’

Oh, the many office birthday cake days I have ruined as I cowered and shrieked like a little baby under my desk as the rest of my coworkers sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to the office birthday boy or girl. Is using boy or girl in an office setting not appropriate? Fine, birthday PERSONS. I could only explain away my conduct by saying I was antisocial or that I have a grudge against people celebrating their birthdays because mine falls on Christmas Eve and I have been shafted each of my 34 birthdays for so long. I guess I really didn’t need to say ‘for so long’ there given the fact that I just said it was 34 birthdays. I must just like being redundant. I must just like be redundant.

I guess the thing that sets Imagineers apart from us regular dreamers is that they are smart. Smart enough to build things. Let me be more specific about that: they build things that work. Oh, and they work for Disneyland. That part is pretty important. If you build things that work for someone other than Disneyland and you call yourself an Imagineer, chances are you’re asking for legal trouble.

Imagineers are able to come up with an idea and then make it reality and better yet, make it something that people want to pay to come see. Don’t get me wrong, I have ideas. Plenty of them in fact. The only problem is that all I can do with my ideas is blog about them or put them down on paper in stick figure form with descriptive arrows that say things like ‘this part moves’ or ‘I’m not sure how to make this part do the happy dance, so I’ll leave that up to you.’ Unfortunately, no matter how descriptive the arrows my be, I’m pretty sure an idea expressed through stick figure form does not qualify as a technical drawing, just as a lego building does not constitute a ‘model.’ You probably also have to be good at math. If being an Imagineer just required someone to have ideas, we’d all be Imagineers, or more specifically, people with great ideas who are unemployed, at least by Disney.

I’ve mentioned a lot of things in this post, so let’s review. It would be cool to be an Imagineer for Disney. Oh, and I like cheese.


Employee No. 3699 said...

Retirement Consultant? Sounds like your dream job. Although you’d most likely recommend that your clients enjoy more cheese…and further, invest their last retirement dollars in Tillamook stock.

This would most definitely result in their next of kin’s ‘blockage’ of said investments, leading you to push prune juice and laxative products. It would be a total conflict of interests for you, thus not actually being the dream job you thought it was.

Anonymous said...

I don't know - I've always found Disney a little disturbing. (And Chuckee Cheese, if that's the place you're talking about.) So bizarrely fake. And expensive.

But I do like cheese.

Just telling it like it is said...

wow I really enjoyed this post..I never really think about what it is like to have another job other than mine and how to really do jobs cause when I am at work it is not like I am working..Does that make any sence... Ahhh to be a dreamer a thought Imagineer sounds like a wonderful way to make or unmake a living...
of coarse I dream about what it would be like if I were like Anna Nicole and marry an old old rich man..and never have to work again..but then I imagine that my family would come out of the wood work and demand that I give them money to pay off their bills....

Mel Heth said...

My favorite parts about the tiki room are the chairs and the air conditioning.

E said...

I also like Disneyland and cheese, we are such kindred spirits. Not to burst your bubble but I have heard that working for Disney is not as fun as it sounds. Maybe that will make you feel better about your own job... then again never mind.

Ralph said...

How do you address that dichotomy of would you rather work for the happiest place on earth...or the cheesiest place on earth?

Could you be happy cleaning up all the Tiki Birds droppings at that exhibit?

meleah rebeccah said...

I hope you get hired for that job! Even if its only for a day!!

magickat said...

Things you say that make you a clever writer:

Your entire post.

Followed by "I’ve mentioned a lot of things in this post, so let’s review. It would be cool to be an Imagineer for Disney. Oh, and I like cheese."