A tiny fraction of you visiting this site may have done so because we used to go to school together. With the Northside High School class of ’90 reunion just a month away, I’m sure one or two classmates will wander this way, trying to figure out what the hell I’ve been up to for the past decade. Hey, admit it, you’ve tried it too – surely I’m not the only one who was geeky enough to go look at some of the web addresses on the mailing list which weren’t obviously ISPs or AOL-ish services.
So what have I been doing? I’ve been writing a lot (I do that for a living now, amazingly), working in television, raising cats, making music, falling in love, and chilling out a great deal compared to the basket case I was in my late teens. It wasn’t for about three or four years that I finally began to look back and realize how disturbed – and disturbing – I must have seemed way back when.
Things weren’t great during that very dark time of my life called senior year. Things weren’t good at home, and as a result, I was almost physically incapable of giving even the tiniest fraction of a crap about school, socializing, and so forth. And yet I managed to conjure up this darkness without the usual means – I wasn’t drinking, doing drugs, or anything like that. The good old 1989-90 school year was, for me, one long cry for help. I’m just sorry that, looking back, I dragged so many people through that with me.
If I could, as I am now, go back in time and talk to myself, I’d tell that guy with the long hair to chill the hell out, enjoy life, and stop letting his own miseries spill over into the laps of others – they had plenty. I’m stunned at how much invented angst we all created for ourselves back then. It’s nothing compared to trying to make it in the real world. When you’ve been tapped on the shoulder by a tornado, built a career in a fractious and back-stabbing industry, had your life forever changed by one screwed-up surgical procedure, struggled mightily to come up with the money to keep a roof over your head and food on the table, and met the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with…it becomes incredibly irrelevant who was going steady with whom, or who thought what of whom, in those three years of high school.
I’m forever grateful for those who actually had the stomach to stick by me the whole time. Of all of them, I think I’ve only stayed in touch with Robert Heyman and Chris Bray. It’ll be nice to see some of the others. I really wish some of the teachers were invited. It don’t think it’d be an exaggeration to say that some of them, like Mattie McCray and Pat Werner, probably literally saved my life. With all of the hell I was going through at home, it helped to know that both my peers and my teachers actually cared, regardless of how much of an ass I was trying to be to push them away. All I can offer in return is that I have tried to live the life, and find the potential, that they knew I had waiting for me from the start.
And I’m sure some of you will be noting, with either amusement or alarm, that the vast majority of my home-brewed web site is the same kind of Star Trek stuff I was so “into” way back when. Well, yeah, you’ve got a point. But I offer you this: (A) it’s still just a hobby, (B) I actually make decent money off of this thing, believe it or not. Not a living by any means, but a more-than-welcome boost to my usual income. (You may have a hard time believing this, but writing and producing local television does not pay well. When she’s scheduled to work a single six-day week, my fianceÃ¨ brings home nearly twice what I do in two weeks.)
Other than that, I spend a lot of time at home with the love of my life (we’re getting married exactly one week after the reunion – do I know how to fill my schedule or what?), play with my cats and my horse, read a lot, write a lot, listen to a lot of music, make a slightly smaller amount of music, and generally try to kick back, relax, and enjoy each day as it comes to me. Life is too fleeting and precious to do anything else. Some people I work with think I’m just not taking life seriously. Au contraire – I simply insist on having a blast.
What do I have now that I didn’t have then? Love, compassion, and humor.
What did I have then that I don’t have now? Hair on top of my head. Good God, the long-haired guy has gone bald. Isn’t it ironic (don’tcha think)?
See you in just a couple of weeks!