I can sit here and gloss over my bio. Or, I can tell you the truth. Let’s go with the truth:
Young life: I had a rough but interesting childhood. Born in Chicago, and grew up doing stints in Italy, Brazil, New Jersey and Florida. Kicked out of my house on my 18th birthday. Barely graduated high school, and didn’t make it through my second year of college. Notable failures during this period: Had my car repossessed (despite my efforts to hide it from the repo guys), and got fired from a restaurant job before the restaurant even opened. Perhaps my most notable low point was when I found myself scraping asbestos off a school ceiling working for a temp gig. I purposely threw myself off the scaffold to get hurt on the first day. Just so I can get out of there with some workers comp. Did a navy stint without having to go to the brig, albeit barely. Though I am now cursed with tinnitus for life as some bizarre karmic reward.
I struggled though much of my early 20′s in a hazed, dismal existence, blurred by endless partying and fantasies of riches and ambition in Florida. Despite the inevitable threat of bankruptcy and foreclosure, I somehow managed to escape to the Caribbean. As if out of some lame Jimmy Buffett song cliche, I worked as a bartender and got into the yacht charter trade. By 25, I was living an insanely amazing life of sailing, financial solvency, bachelorhood, travel, and adventure. I got married the following year to a still-teenager, and moved from the Virgin Islands to Orlando the year after that. That’s not a typo.
Next phase: By 33, after a few failed ventures and desperate times, we left Florida for good (and not a moment too soon). My then-wife had graduated with a bullshit liberal arts degree from University of Florida. Which, let me add, served no real purpose and saddled us with $40k of student loans. We made our way to Los Angeles in 1996.
Thanks to a strange combination of luck and incomprehensible levels of hard, stress-laden work, I finally got a break. I managed to build a successful internet business out of nothing over the next five years. Sold out in 2001 after the dot-com bubble and two weeks before 9/11. I ran a couple other businesses and dabbled in some lucrative real estate investments until 2003.
Then, by 40, I declared myself retired. Cashed out totally. Literally sold and/or gave away everything, and bought a boat ( named ‘Andiamo’). It was time to make good on a lifelong dream to sail the seas. Seemed like a great plan.
Six months later, my marriage ended in about the worst way imaginable. I was alone in Mexico. With three cats and a boat in shambles. Four months after that, my father died.
Curveballs notwithstanding, I managed to cobble life back into some coherent format and venture on. I cruised Andiamo around the Western Caribbean for the next five years, having one adventure after the next. Those ranged from having a shotgun in my face during a Honduras bus holdup, to narrowly escaping death by electrocution while sailing through a most deadly electrical storm. And everything in between. Don’t worry, there were good moments too.
In mid-2008, the global economic crash managed to suck me down with it. Retired life was over a mere five years after it started. It was either go back to LA and take a very lucrative job at a former colleague’s company, or put Andiamo to work. I chose the latter.
Now, among many other warped if not misguided passions, dreams, and aspirations, it’s time to try to be a writer.