I was the last of six kids from a typical dysfunctional Southern middle-class family. We were close, but, being the youngest, I often found that I was on my own when it came to finding ways to amuse myself. I would scout the neighborhood like a mutt looking for a pack to join, but I quickly found that boredom would forever be my best friend and that the world around me could be an endless source of creativity. I would make sumthin’ out of nuthin’ then change it over and over again. Eventually I would find the need to “finish” it, but only so I could forge ahead towards the nextpath of scrappiness.
Through it all, I had one trusty companion, my dog Max. He followed me every morning on my paper route and never shied away from an adventure, he loved me and I loved him. The little scrapper may have stunk and had fleas, but he still slept with me every night. I drew a lot as a kid, loved Sgt. Rock and the Howling Commandoes from the great artist Joe Kubert. I took a bunch of things apart: rotary phones, Big Wheels, even my sister’s “Chatty Kathy” doll to figure out why she talked so durn stupid (the doll not my sister). Boredom enabled and inspired me to turn the obviously ugly into the unusually pretty.
As I grew up, I worked on the back of a garbage truck, drove a fork lift, did some welding, bartended, owned and sold a cleaning company, worked in fashion in New York, drew editorial cartoons for the Village Voice, worked in the corporate engines of America, built a cabin with a tree house, partnered in a IT/Design company and as of late I help make apps for kids. It may seem like I’ve led a life of grab bag jobs and experiences, but, looking back, I realize I’ve always been that same ‘bored’ kid, taking things apart to see how they work, making something where once there was nothing and finding beauty in the strangest places… lately I find
most of that watching and learning from my beautiful wife Anna do wonders in the kitchen. Boredom and I are still good friends and we bump into each other often. I was walking my kids (ages 8 & 10) to the park the other day when we stopped and looked at this really cool manhole cover. I’m still thinking about it, even a “bottle cap for sewage” inspires me. We threw rocks in the creek and caught crawdads for our aquarium. I guess we just felt the need to get into sumthin’.
I still miss Max . . . but two flea-less kids and the best wife ever have me glued pretty well these days.