If this were my autobiography, it begins like an Anne Rice novel. “Shall I begin as David Copperfield? I was born, I…or shall I start when I was born into darkness?”
After all, I am absolutely, irrevocably cursed as if the product of minds like Mary Shelley or Dante Alighieri, but far less eloquent. My life story reads like so many religious texts. An awful tale of sin and the end result, a spiteful unrelenting judgment for all time. Learn from it what you can and remember not to be like me or you will reap what you sow.
The doctors say my birth cry was the loudest, most intense ever recorded. My mind is thoroughly convinced it is as if I somehow knew I was never meant to enter this world. Certainly, the conclusion of a mind warped at birth, or at least, a very early age; made to attack its owner at every turn as a self-destruct button on a vessel in some sci-fi feature. Throughout early childhood, what few memories I can muster or want to remember, I recall always knowing I was somehow different from everybody else. My twisted brain, unaware of what the magic x-factor, what the mystery, could reveal. I was sickly as an infant. Jaundice at birth, no less. I had frequent ear infections as a toddler and suffered migraine headaches strong enough to induce vomiting. I caused a whole lot of trouble and was removed from public school by the end of kindergarten. Stories include abruptly running to the outdoor playground and then throwing balls of sand at pursuing teachers from the sandbox and running away any time they got too close.
By the time I was ready for the first grade, I was being sent to a nearby school for children with developmental issues. Some needed special education and some were physically handicapped. The system was called SMA, which I believe are today’s Speed schools on the south side of Chicago. According to instructors and administrators, it became very clear by the end of third grade I did not belong there. I was exceptionally bright, even good at math. Granted, I was a handful and very much ADHD, I did not belong in special education. In the fourth grade, mainstreaming began. Mainstreaming means being gradually transitioned into the public schools full-time. However, by then the damage was already done. I was and would remain throughout the first couple years back, a complete social outcast. Children are not stupid. The neighborhood kids knew I lived in the same area, didn’t go to school with them, and, therefore, something had to be wrong. To this day, I remember a group of kids disallowing me from playing with them and their G.I. Joe action figures. Now this sounds very petty and stupid, but it just goes to show, ostracism might as well be my middle name.
In the fifth grade, I got into a whole lot of bad situations. I was a clown and a cut-up in the classroom. I frequently spoke out of turn, delivering one-liners and just being mean sometimes. I got a lot of laughs and the principal hated me. If there was speed dial back then, Principal Bolt certainly had my mother’s home phone as entry number one. I don’t think I went a week without him calling her to report some misdeed, declare I was done for the day, and demand my mother come get me. Somehow, I still managed good grades, but was acting a total jackass. Introspection would lead me to believe I only wanted acceptance and attention, but no one really knows for sure. My parents tried to do everything they could or knew to do at the time. I recall being very young and having neurological testing done. There were electrodes all over my head. I vaguely recall the overzealous psychologist who threatened to have me institutionalized based on a single violent drawing I produced in her office and my mother whisking me out of there, never to return.
Junior High was relatively unremarkable. I developed interests in video games, sports, and girls just like everyone else in my age group. I had a few friends, a fist fight or two, got into trouble for playing with fireworks on the bus, and antagonized our next door neighbors who absolutely hated not just me, but all the neighborhood children with a passion. My father bought me an adjustable backboard with double spring hoop so the neighborhood kids and I could lower it and try our best to dunk like His Airness. Everyone around me growing up loved our local sports icons such as MJ and Walter Payton. I never really developed an appreciation for baseball, however. Life was reasonably good in Junior High. My father took over the family business and he was making very good money. We had nice cars, a nice house, and so on. Nothing was really exceptional or extravagant, but certainly upper middle class. Not bad for owning a car dealership. However, all was not well. I still felt I didn’t fit in.
Although I am not uncertain all young men are hormonally imbalanced at the age of twelve, I can say I was. I had a bass voice. I was extremely interested in girls. I wanted to get in shape, especially because back then those dreadful 80s exercise clothes, Hulk Hogan, Richard Simmons, The Governator, Mr. T, and Sly Stallone were all en vogue. I also loved professional wrestling and watching Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible Hulk. I wanted to impress women and get ripped. It seems like such a funny motivating factor now. At the same time, I kept an interest in being a wild man. I started a food fight on the school bus and got busted. I smashed food my mother put in my lunch if I didn’t like it, and always in some bazaar manner in front of friends. I remember busting an apple in two on my forehead, for example. It just seemed funny at the time, even though I now wonder if I was borderline retarded for doing it. Per my heritage, my real religious training also began at roughly age twelve.