Don't be fooled by the unemployment rate. What often isn't mentioned about the number is that it only includes people who are actively filing for unemployment compensation. And since there's now stricter guidelines to meet to be eligible, that means even more people will be off unemployment, which does not necessarily mean they are working. It's almost like politicians figured out a way to skew the figures to look more favorable, but they wouldn't do that! Right? Of course not.
I need a job. When I first became unemployed (when my job was outsourced so the CEOs at my company could make more money while delivering an even shoddier product to the public), I took it as an opportunity to accomplish some of the things I wanted to do in the field I hope to work in full time someday: entertainment! And I did accomplish quite a lot. With my brother I co-wrote, co-directed, and edited a new web series; I co-directed and co-starred in a pilot (which was rejected by Comedy Central because it's not South Park); co-starred in another pilot that is currently in post-production; and even started then discontinued a podcast (due to the amount of time it took to edit vs. relative lack of interest). And now I write this blog, too! All that on top of being part of an award-winning comedy troupe and an award-winning dad (according to a t-shirt I have, I'm #1 at fatherhood).
I've been a busy bee, and much like a bee, I haven't earned any money for all of my hard work. So now I'm in the position of finding a "real" job in a time where our economy is shabbier than the plot of a Transformers movie, and in my area most of the jobs I'm qualified for have been shipped off to the Philippines or India. Yay, America!
Well, I'm fed up with this reality. I'm now seeking employment in The Mushroom Kingdom. And sure, working alongside Mario and Luigi to rescue Princess Toadstool (a.k.a. Princess Peach... is her full name Peach Toadstool? This has never been fully explained to me) may be the more honorable thing to do, but screw honor; I need cash!
Why would I apply for a job for which I'd have to risk my neck jumping over holes and potentially getting mortally wounded by piranha plants? Especially when considering that my only payment will be a kiss on the nose and maybe a cake or something (if I survive). No, no, no. I'm going where the careers are. I'm working for King Koopa.
For starters, there's job security. Sure "The Koop" has been on a losing streak since the 80s. But for as many times as Mario defeats him (or Luigi defeats him, yet Mario still gets the credit), the dragon-man-or-whatever-he-is always seems to evade capture. He always comes back to swoop in and kidnap The Princess, and he always brings plenty of troopas with him.
Those troopas must earn a hefty salary, too. Think about it. There's hundreds of coins just laying around all over The Mushroom Kingdom. Some of them are suspended in the air or hidden in blocks, but they're there, and anybody can grab them. Mario collects them like there's no tomorrow. If the Mario Bros. series indulged in the ludicrous stereotyping that Mike Tyson's Punch-Out did, Mario would have been a Jewish accountant instead of an Italian plumber. But in all the time I've spent hopping and bopping through the games, I've never - not once - seen a Goomba or one of those hammer-throwing assholes reach for a single coin. Why? King Koopa actually pays them, and he pays them well.
He also rewards loyalty. Imagine if you got hired (in our world) to work a security job. After a few boring weeks on the job there's finally some excitement! Someone is trying to break into the warehouse you're being paid to protect, and in response you lazily waddle toward the thief and promptly fall down a hole. It's a safe bet that you wouldn't be employed for very long. (So now, not only are you unemployed, but you're at the bottom of a hole.) If King Koopa was a big jerk, like many real-life employers, he would never hire another Koopa Troopa because of their lack of skill. But you know what? Every once in a while they actually do succeed. So Koopa says to himself, "Hell, I'll hire a whole bunch more of them just to be sure. And I'll even slap some wings on some of the fuckers." There you have it, the guy rewards loyalty. So far in his career of unsuccessful kidnappings he has yet to betray the loyalty of his army and start bringing in those seahorse-looking things from Kid Icarus to get the job done.
What about healthcare? For a lot of people (i.e. anyone who's not a wealthy "job creator") things usually follow a simple pattern: you get a meager fifteen cent raise, and then the cost of your healthcare goes up by about 400 percent. How would this be handled in The Mushroom Kingdom? Based on the fact that if you walk away from an area and come back the same exact baddie is there, moving in the same exact pattern, and getting his head stomped in the same exact way, I'm willing to bet that the villains operate with the same very lax concept of death as the Marios do. They die and come back to die again. Over and over. This makes healthcare a non-existent problem. Got a nasty flu? Jump down a hole or wait for Luigi to come blasting through with a fire flower. Your next life will probably be flu-free.
I'll even go so far as to call Koopa a humanitarian. Or a dragonitarian. Whatever. The point is, he's got dozens of kids, but apparently no wife or girlfriend. Where are all these kids coming from? He must be adopting them. Sure, he's then putting them to work fighting older men in his dungeons, but at least he's giving them a purpose in life. I'm sure those mushroom-headed elitists in The Mushroom Kingdom don't even give the poor little spiky-shelled buggers a second glance when they're at the local orphanage, but King Koopa saves them from lives of lonely poverty. And he gives them magic wands!!
My reasoning is clear and sound, and my reasoning says that working for Koopa is the way to go. Aside from the benefits of working for ol' Bowser (I'd like to think I'd get in tight with him and be on a first-name basis), there's also a few things that make working for the "good guys" less appealing...
It's always disappointing when you find out your favorite sports star is a cheater. One minute you're worshiping a dude for riding a bike with one testicle (which really seems like an advantage if you think about it), the next you're saddened to learn that the dude used more enhancements than a Spider-Man villain. The fact of the matter is, Mario and Luigi couldn't make it through eight harrowing worlds without enhancing themselves with stars that turn them into one-man raves or raccoon tails that somehow make them fly. They even use magic whistles to skip over whole worlds. What happens to the kings of these worlds, Mario? They stay transformed into various animals, and the Toad who stands by their throne just stays there, hopping up and down in an eternal panic. Way to go, you lazy, mustachioed bastard.
Also, there's just something slightly odd about Italians doing so much work for the Japanese. I can't quite put my finger on it. I'll think it over while I eat this German potato salad... (Jokes about WWII: surefire way to keep the kids coming back to the blog.)
Look, although I'm a male, I'm a feminist at heart. A lot of the people I admire the most are women. (Mostly it's Yoko Ono, but there's other ones.) Even if I didn't favor women over men, I'd still never say anything as idiotic as "She was asking for it!" But that doesn't excuse Princess Toadstool from her perpetual inability to protect herself. King Koopa has thousands of weird creatures willing to help him and his dubious cause, he's got lots of kids (and those kids have magic wands!!), and he's got freakin' flying boats that are outfitted with like six hundred cannons a piece. What has Princess done to protect herself and her kingdom?
"Eh, I'll just rely on those two skeezy-looking guys from Brooklyn, wherever that is." --Princess Toadstool
And considering that Princess is allowed to mail letters to the plumbers-turned-rescuers, and she encloses those P-wings that let you fly indefinitely, she very easily could escape Koopa's clutches herself. Yet she doesn't. She lets herself get kidnapped over and over again, because she wants to be rescued over and over again. She has some kind of psychological disorder, and she's making Mario and Luigi suffer for her, rather than helping them get back home to their world and hiring an actual goddam army to defend her kingdom with.
And the Mario Bros. fall for this time and time again. Tsk! Tsk! Not me. I want a career. I want to earn the big coins! I want an endless supply of hammers to throw!
I'm working for King Koopa.