I’ve begun to realize the value of blogging relationships. But, although I value the people I meet, I find I don’t really know them very well. Often, the personal information they post about themselves is limited. But, I’m very curious to know more. I’ve decided to spend some time posting my whole story (or as much of it as I feel is worth knowing) so that if someone is interested they can know my background.
I was born in the capital of the obscure state of South Dakota. When I was 2 we moved to a small little town near the border of South Dakota and North Dakota. I grew up in this small town–population 2000–brutally long and cold winters–cowboys and honky tonk–teenagers driving their cars up and down the 5 block main street. There was one elementary school, one high school, a hospital, and one public swimming pool. There was Ben Franklin downtown, an A&W drive-in as the sole fast-food restaurant, and that was about it. In fact, the town was so small that my grandpa was the Mayor! But, there were other things that people driving through wouldn’t know about–like “tank hill” where all the kids would go sledding because it was basically the only steep hill around. I grew up in this town until I was 12. So, what does one find to do as a kid in a place like this?
Let me tell you about “my world” as a kid. It wasn’t about Ben Franklin or A&W… When I was really young, we lived in town and about all I can remember was that we had a dirt cellar in the basement and I spent a lot of time pretending I was a gold miner. I developed a pretty strong imagination as a kid. I loved records and music. I also loved to dress up like the singers on the album covers and pretend I was in the band. My favorite album was Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band. Somewhere on one of the Sgt. Pepper’s albums, the guys were in colorful aviator suits with goggles and those aviator hats and scarves.
I would put on my blue pajamas with the footies, a blue swim cap, my blue swimming goggles and a scarf and then stand up on the table and salute. I thought it was the most exciting thing to look just like those guys.
I also had a little record player of my own. I remember playing all those little single records (I think they were called 78 RPM records) and pretending I was a radio DJ. I loved the Village People, the Monkees, the Beatles, and others. I had tons of records.
When I was about 5 or so we moved 1 mile outside of town. My dad had purchased a bar and a trailer house. The bar had a dirt parking lot that was huge–probably about 5 acres. The house was situated along the edge of the parking lot where there was a small grove of trees. Along another edge of the lot, there was an old abandoned single-story apartment complex with about 12 units all connected in a chain. Then, there was the giant A-frame bar. Along the opposite side of the lot was the highway. Adjoining the property behind us there used to be a big drive-in theater but it had been destroyed by a tornado. All that remained were some of the buildings (the ticket office which we used for storage and the snack bar) and the poles where the speakers used to be. Remains of the screen were also piled up in one corner. Also, behind our property there was a big sandy dune area where guys would go and ride their motorcycles from time to time. Across the highway was the stock-yard where they would auction off cows and other animals. So, for a kid, I had a lot to do and most of it was not in town.
I have a lot of good memories as a kid living out by the bar. I would ride my bike at the sand dunes, jumping off the cliffs or building forts (later I even got a three wheeler). I would explore the old apartments. I would go across the highway to the stock-yard and look at all the cows or go in and watch the auctions. I would explore the old theater. I would play around behind the bar, which had an outdoor stage. I pretended to be in a band or I would pretend to be an escaped convict running from the law. I would ride my bike around the parking lot or play trucks in the front yard. I also loved GI Joes and I would spend hours playing with them in the dirt. I would climb trees–as high as I possibly could without dying. In the bar (which had sawdust put on the floors) I could find all kinds of lost change. I would go down and look for money and come back a rich kid every time. I also loved all the free Shirley Temples (with extra, extra cherries–I remember plunging my entire dirty hand into that jar of cherries). Once a week the candy man would come to the bar to restock and if I ran to his truck while he was there he would always give me a free candy bar without having to even ask. I can still remember the unique smell of that truck! Most of my childhood was spent alone. I didn’t seem to mind–I had my imagination to keep me company. Most of it was good, healthy, fun. But, then there were the darker things. I would find cigarettes at the bar and then go out in the trees and try them. The trees were a place of trouble sometimes for me. They were the place of hiding where I explored the darker things of life. It was in the trees where I would take my dad’s lingerie catalogues and lust over the women. I would trace the models and add their sexual parts. It was my first exposure to “porn”. Later, I found my dad’s Playboy magazines under the waterbed and I took one out into the trees. I never really got into smoking. I never had any desire for drinking (even though it was so readily available in my life), but the porn thing–it had a magical spell on me. I can’t explain the mystery of it and how it made me feel as a young child.
I think I was born with a propensity toward lust. By the time I was five (in kindergarten) I can remember having a total crush on every cute girl in school. I can’t think of one cute girl in my grade in that small town that I didn’t kiss. By fifth grade I was “going steady” with girls. I was now “making out”. I had also found other stashes of porn by that time–in my uncle’s closet for example. Out of everything I can remember in my childhood, I remember girls were the most exciting to me.
Life became more difficult as I got to Jr. High school. My parents moved to a larger city in South Dakota (population 60K). Now, there were three Jr. High schools to choose from and two High schools. I lived on the east side of town so I went to the school downtown. It was hard for me because I had to make all new friends. I was extremely shy as a little boy, but was learning by Jr. High to open up more. But, I definitely hadn’t overcome completely. Part of the problem was that most of the kids all knew each other because they had gone to the same elementary schools. I made a few friends but I wasn’t popular like I was in my small elementary school. I developed crushes on the girls in Jr. High but it wasn’t as easy to get to know them. I couldn’t just ride my bike to their house anymore! I think I remember having one girlfriend in Jr. High. She was my best friend’s sister. I would spend the night at his house and when he fell asleep, I would make out with his twin sister all night–that was until her parents caught us. I don’t think I was allowed to spend the night anymore.
Then High School… unfortunately for me, my parents moved to the other side of town the summer before High School started. That meant all my friends from Jr. High went to the other High School and I had to start all over again. By now, all the kids in High School had known each other their whole lives and I was the new kid. It was also an awkward stage for me. I didn’t relate well with my peers. They were all into popular music. I wasn’t–and remember, music was a big thing for me. When I was 13 years old (in 1985) a friend of mine had exposed me to a new band called “the Beastie Boys”. I had never heard anything like it in my life–and I loved it! A lot!! I quickly became the biggest Beastie Boys fan in my town, in my state, and maybe even in the nation. My love for the Beastie Boys expanded to love for rap music in general. I extended my preferences to groups like Run DMC, the Fat Boys, Kool Moe Dee, LL Cool J, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and on and on. Records were out by now and it was all about “tapes”. I had tons of rap tapes. Here I was in the middle of South Dakota–only one black guy in my High school (and he hated me)–a white boy rapper. But, I had black friends from the other high school so we formed a rap group. While all the popular kids in my high school were partying together and having the typical high school experience, I spent most of my high school time writing raps. We spent all kinds of time practicing our stuff. We got relatively good. We had a couple shows we performed in town. As a result, we started to get more popular in the “punk scene” because the only shows we could find to play were alongside the punk rock bands. And for some reason, they loved us! Unfortunately for me, a rapper in the punk rock scene doesn’t attract very many girls. I think in high school I only had two short-term girlfriends.
After high school, I attended my first year of college there in town. By that time, my friend and I from the rap group had started partying at the punk houses. I was drinking a lot of beer, smoking a lot of pot, and getting a really bad attitude. I did really, really bad my first year of college as I had absolutely no idea about and no interest in my future.
The next year, a friend of mine from the punk scene and I were working together. One day, out of the blue, we just decided we should go across the state and go to college. So we did! This year of college was pivotal in my life and deserves to have some time spent in describing it. I would say I had a spiritual revolution occur during this year of my life. Things happened to me that were intensely monumental for me. You can read all about this incredibly mysterious and monumentally pivotal time in my life in the post “My Spiritual Awakening in College”.