What was it like growing up in Irvine?
I was kind of an outcast. I lived in an upper middle class neighborhood but I lived in an apartment complex and my parents were divorced and we were Jewish. Differing from the norm meant being ostracized or worse. I got pantsed in the fifth grade in front of my whole class.
Was school especially tough for you?
I had ADD but at the time I was made to feel like I was stupid because I couldn’t follow along in class. But I loved to read and I loved books and history.
Who were your friends?
I shirked the idea of being popular so I hung out with the punks and went wild. Since my mom was a working parent, I didn’t have much supervision. We’d drink 40s in the Los Angeles River bed and cause trouble. When I got older, I went to alternative shows around town. I look back and think, if I had a kid that age I’d be terrified. One thing I loved about my youth there is that, although I was an outcast, all the outsiders banded together and I made some of the best friends of my life with the other undesirables. My best friends in elementary school were smart and kind people from hugely diverse backgrounds, so I learned a lot about other cultures. My friends in high school were damaged and troubled like myself, but they were also creative and unique and I still have that wonderful anarchist spirit I learned from them.
What else did you learn from your childhood in Orange County?
Essentially, it taught me that being like everyone else is the easy way, but it’s also boring as hell. I remember trying so hard and obsessing about fitting in when I was young, and the moment I stopped trying and embraced what a fucking weirdo I was, my life got good. When my high school principal handed me my hard-won diploma, he said, “Who’d have thunk it?” I always wish I had said, “I would have, you fucking asshole.”
Link to full story.