Learning To Love You More




Assignment #14
Write your life story in less than a day.

Rich Setup
Orlando, Florida USA
Email Rich



birth / early childhood: i was born august 12, 1980 in new brunswick, nj and lived in old bridge, nj for my first six years. i don't remember much of this time, though i do know i had a cabbage patch kid cowboy named andrew, a big english sheep dog named waldo and i would cry and refuse to watch wheel of fortune if i missed the very begining when every yelled out "wheel...of...fortune!" in unison. i was also brainwashed by the action-adventure animation of the transformers, g.i. joe and (most especially) he-man.
kindergarten + grade one: i attended a private catholic school named st. thomas. it was the same school my mother and her siblings had attended in the 60's. i don't remember much of this time, save for a few small memories here there, like cursing my teacher and everyone in class while having stand in the corner by the t.v. I also have some foggy recollection of grandparents day and hanging out with my pop pop.
grade two: we had moved to orlando, fl over the summer and where now living in a very nice, newly built '80's style florida home, built-in pool, jacuzzi, frosted picture-glass windows and all.
grades three + four: they just kinda flew by. i had some friends, crushes, really bad late '80's clothing and every new kids on the block cassette (i would later get to actually see them live!).
about three quarters through fourth grade we moved back to new jersey...this time to the netcong area.
(the rest of) grades four + five + six: returning to new jersey was pretty good. at first we (all six members of my family) lived in a split level two bedroom/open loft, one and a half bath condo. it was an awesome place but not suited for four kids 10 and under. i remember watching the pilot episode of the simpson's in my parents' bedroom.
we finally moved into a HUGE old house right down the street from my aunt, uncle and cousins that i now realise would have been perfect for basement shows. the basement was gigantic, open and had street level access with an expansive shopping center parking lot just a few yards away.
the house was so large that during the winter we had to close a section of it off because it was too big to heat all the rooms. i liked living in a big old house and i liked telling kids the story behind it, which was that it had originally been located across the street and down a block (which was now a large grass field outside of the bell-tell building) as the mayor's mansion. it burned down one night and using what could be salvaged, they rebuilt the house at it's current location.
i remember secretly watching the debut episode of beverly hills 90210 in the living room as well as the movie "dick tracy". at the time my mother was a bit controlling of what we watched on t.v. - we had to go to my cousins house down the street to watch mtv.
my aunt and uncle owned a small place called "sweets and eats" (my mother named it), which was an ice cream parlor and luncheonette. my mother worked there and most of our afternoons where spent there.
the town of netcong was kind of cool to grow up in. it was real old school (there where still ornate poles in the side walk to tie up horses) and a bit run down, but i liked that. i also liked how it was like a small downtown - stores, deli's, banks, etc - i liked living in a place that wasn't all perfectly groomed and far away like the subdivisions in orlando.
one day i returned home from school and my father was up in the big oak tree in our backyard - he had built a tree house for us. i was quite thrilled with it and the wooden platform was used quite a bit through the few years we lived there.
one day the cumberland farms behind our house went out of business. my cousin, brother and i used to play in the woods and on the rather steep hill between our house and it's back loading dock. the day it closed down was my first dumpster diving experience, though i was far too young to know what dumpster diving was, we just knew there was free candy and pornography magazines.
none of had ever seen nor heard of such a thing. our stash lasted safely for a good couple months until they mysteriously disappeared from the woods one day.
i attended a private catholic school again, this one named st. michaels. this is where i had my first crush and first heartbreak.
there's so many other odd/growing up things that took place there, though i don't really consider myself from new jersey. i think maybe because i truly think my high school years where when i changed the most - and found punk rock.
grade seven + eight: we returned to orlando after my aunt's business failed. the house we choose was a mere mile from our old and house. the odd thing was that it was the same floor plan only flipped as my family's best friends' house. weirdness.
i spent most of seventh grade hanging out with vinny, an italian brooklyn hoodlum with a crazy (yet super nice) family and only five and a half fingers on one hand...which was more than compensated for by the sixth toe he had on each foot. he had quite an impressive rat tail, too.
eighth grade was the year i finally made friends. a big group of them. we all had nicknames, hungout all the time and actually went out.
moving away from their group just a bit, late 1993 was the year i discovered shows. i was only 13, yet begging kids for rides to the adventures in immortality show downtown and telling my parents i was at the movies with my friends.
grade nine: the group of kids i had been hanging out with kind of...i dunno what they did. the first day of school i walked up to the the big over crowded table at lunch and no one said anything to me. i took a seat at an empty table next to them and they ignored me. that was the last time i ever spent any time with them. the rest of 9th was spent pretty much alone being depressed and dreaming of suicide.
grade ten: i had made two friends over the summer. one was a kid i spent all day with in summer school spanish after we both failed (our class actually caused the teacher to have a nervous breakdown...no joke...so they made us all repeat the class) and the other was a straight forward, gay hating, clean cut, american lovin' military kid (this didn't last for long, though...his parents always hated me - they saw me as the person that subverted their child...and i guess i did).
grades eleven + twelve: these were my major growing years. we formed a huge group of friends, i became heavily involved with the punk scene and we discovered drugs. lots of them. most of it is a blur. huge parties, illegal raves, lots of house shows, our first sexual experiences, shitty zines and even worse bands. we had a ton of fun.
then i failed school. haha. i maybe attended 10% of my classes throughout my senior year, so i'd say it was a miracle i only failed three of them. that summer was spent in summer + night school, which lead to a rainbow graduation.
to clearly paint a picture of my high school career, i spent the day rolling on extacy at cocoa beach with all of my friends rather than attend my own graduation.
my father left right about the time i graduated, too. it didn't affect me too much, as i wasn't even home all that often to deal with the aftermath it had laid upon my family - i had shows to see, drugs to do and parties to throw. and girls to chase.
post-high school: the fall season was full of pills, liquor and parties. then i got more involved in booking shows and less hanging out with those kids...this was about the time i started getting out of drugs. the next year was spent drinking instead. i had my first official girlfriend, drank lots of liquor, smoked pot occasionally and saw tons of shows, setup a bunch myself and decided it was time to move.
i hated the kids in the orlando scene.
my college years, of which i did not attend college: my best friend and i moved to tallahassee. i began setting up shows imediately, got a grave yard shift job and started living independently. i didn't make too many friends the first couple of months, but by the next spring my friendship with chris had self-imploded, my other best friend and i had a falling out, my girlfriend and i stopped talking and i stopped caring. we destroyed our apartment, hated each other, made new friends and i got a dog.
lucy "glam" rock bully was rescued from an abusive home. she's with me to this day and we love the fuck outta each other.
i moved into the tally punx house with a pretty awesome group of kids. all slightly crazy and extremely nice, though lazy. the tally punx house was fun. very crowded, very loud, very smokey and very dirty. some of the kids living there where pretty big drunks and pot heads, but i somehow made it through my time living there without falling into such things - i mean, i wasn't an angel, but i had other things going on - a punk rock show on the college radio station, my zine ( i was still doing rare print zines and just beginning my new webzine) and lot's of shows.
2001: right around the beginning of the new year, thunderdome opened and i got heavily involved, whether danny liked it or not (haha). i was still dj'ing at the fsu radio station and had a decent group of friends going.
i moved into my own place - a condemed studio apartment/shack near the campus. it was a great place to live. around this time, though, i began having some problems. little things that i didn't pay much attention to. i fell into an amazing group of kids and started having the best fucking time of my life. ever.
i threw a couple huge parties, spent nearly all my time at thunderdome, the cow haus or working on my webpages and distro. until the end of that summer. something happened.
those problems became worse...uncontrollable. i started losing my mind and everything began falling apart. i drowned myself in alcohol, stopped leaving the house other than for the shows i setup (which i attended completely blasted, though, like any good closet alcoholic, was able to hide it) and basically lost it all.
2002: february 2002...i had an entire week of my life that i did not remember. i woke up the morning of february 19th in the bushes outside my house wearing a pair of shorts and a hoodie (no shirt underneath or shoes or even socks). it had been 20 degrees that night.
i left that evening and made my way back to orlando, moving back into my mothers house about 3 years after i had left. it's been an odd time since then. i was involved in a long relationship and spent periods of time everywhere from orlando to miami to new york city to philadelphia and spent bits of time doing a number of projects such as being a vegan hot dog street vendor, co-coordinator of a nonprofit media library & show space, designed & created a webzine (which is still going), working for a nonprofit community organisaztion in new york's lower east side and booking lot's of shows.
2003: i had a shitty job selling way over priced merchandise at the same theme park i worked at when i was 16. quite possibly the worst job i've ever had, but i stuck it out for nearly 8 months (xmas day 2003 was my final day).throughout the year i had amazing friends and lot's fun. didn't do much of anything throughout the year but have been left with many great memories of events like orlando fest, a few roadtrips, got dumped, lot's of late night conversations and fun shows.
2004: just getting started and i've been having equally fun & depressing times thus far. i did start the new year off in a depressed mood because of:
my situation on new years eve 2003: no job, living with my mother, broke, depressed, had a girlfriend.
my situation on new years ever 2004: no job, living with my mom, broke, depressed, no girlfriend.
this year to date has been pretty much the same - seeing lots of shows (and still booking a few), running my webzine, being unemployed and trying to figure out how to buy my next pack of cigarettes.
injuries of note:
(c) age 3: i was apparently too short to reach the toilet in the basement so i stood on an old brown leather suitcase to take a piss. i slipped and cracked my chin on the rim of the toilet bowl. i think it was 6 stitches.
(c) age 5: with my father in the shower, i finished brushing my teeth and went to leave the bathroom. my brother, laying on the floor in the doorway, went to sit up at the exact second i stepped over him. i tripped and the sharp doorjam pierced my underarm. i think it was 4 stitches.
oct. 1992: i was vollunteering for a school-based community service project (they offered extra credit) at a womens/childrens homeless shelter. each month they had one big birthday party for all their guests with bdays that month. i was handing out presents when i tripped on a pole sticking out of the ground for no obvious reason. my right arm hit the bench of a picnic table.
about midnight that night i woke up and realised something was wrong. my mom had to cut the sleeve of my t-shirt off because my arm had swollen to the point that the sleeve couldn't be moved. my parents took me to the hospital. it was a hairline fracture from just below the elbow to just above the wrist.
may 1996: my fucking dog bit me. yeah. bastard. i apparently startled him while he was sleeping and he bit me on the under-side of the knuckle on my right middle finger. i still have a butterfly shaped scar there.
i also had braces from 2nd-4th and 7th-10th grades.