The boring (?) truth …
The Life and Times of Steve (a.k.a. Taochild, Picnic) Kramer
Here is a (somewhat) condensed version of my life, and probably a clue to some of my demons.
I was born in a suburban yet hard city near Boston called Brockton, one of three. I have two sisters, one 3 years older, the other 2 years younger. I came across as a very smart and very quiet kid. In third grade I was given an IQ test and found to be “genius” level. So they put me into a special program that lasted until high school. This program was good for challenging kids academically, not so good for teaching them social skills.
I was raised Jewish. Mom was orthodox, dad was Reformed, so we were raised right in the middle. My neighborhood was made up of townhouses, and surrounded a bit by woods. There were very few males my age in the neighborhood, and the few friends I had from school were all on the other side of town. My dad had very little time for me…so suffice to say I did not have a lot of male influence in my life. My older sister hated me (or at least I thought she did) until we both got to college, so she and her friends would torment me a bit. My younger sister worshipped me and always did everything I did. My mother frowned on passion and emotion, and was (and still is) extremely judgmental. I grew up thinking that I would never be worthy of a female (something that I didn’t even realize until a couple of years ago).
We had a few neighbors who were virulently anti-semitic. They used to gang up on me and attack me simply because I was Jewish. One threw a rock at my head once and gave me stitches. Still have the scar. When I was 13 (or there about) the brother of the rock thrower held a knife to my throat while his mother violently attacked my mother, and told me he would kill me if I tried to interfere. He was my age. So I learned about blind hatred pretty early on too. At that point in my life I could have chosen a similar view in response, but chose the more difficult path instead (as I seem to always do). So I responded to hatred with acceptance and love. And was of course labeled coward for doing so.
By my junior year of high school, I was smarter than most of the people around me, completely lacking in confidence (especially when it came to girls), and ashamed because I was a coward. Didn’t start coming out of my shell until my senior year, though of course I knew perfectly well no girl would want me. I graduated 15th out of a class of 1100, and that was only because I did not apply myself. Going into college, I was a much more confident person (except for the fact that I could never have a woman). I got involved with everything, and was fairly well known (the school was much smaller than my high school). I “knew” I wanted a degree in physics as soon as I began school … even saw myself going right on to grad school and eventually getting a doctorate. This was the beginning of freshman year.
Until this time I never drank or did drugs, because I had enough fun with out. Since I always had so much fun, everyone always assumed that I was drinking. I figured I might as well try it since everyone thought I was anyway, and quickly became a complete lush. I was never one to listen to the voice of authority blindly, had to decide for myself about drugs, so experimented there as well. In the process I became very disillusioned with school. It seemed to me that actually educating the students was less important than the grades they got and the accolades the professors got. I wanted to take some time off from school after my junior year to reevaluate my priorities. But my parent’s wouldn’t let me. Completely burnt out at the beginning of my senior year, I partied hard. During that time I had a close friend (female of course) almost kill herself; luckily I prevented it.
About this time I sort of came to my senses, and figured I made it this far, might as well finish it. Had only three classes, so went to each professor and asked for at least a chance. Two said ok, one basically said screw you. I tried but flunked out anyway. I got a chance to appeal it, but wrote such a sob story for my letter of appeal they said they thought I should take some time off. Spent a year living near where my sister went to school, taking some classes but mostly partying. Got myself back into my school and finished up, barely graduating. Now I had a degree in Physics that I couldn’t actually use. At this point, I had already become very disillusioned with our culture in general, and felt I did not fit in anywhere. I decided I would explore the world a bit to find my place in it.
Of course this required having money, so I got myself a crappy job. Now I was in the wonderful circle of only making enough money to get myself back and forth to work and quickly became miserable, so ended up partying a lot again. This began a cycle of multiple jobs of all sorts, and in many locations. I tried moving to Florida (twice) but just ended up spending large amounts of money (most of it my father’s sadly) and doing my best to kill myself slowly. Finally I decided to try to get my shit together and came back to Massachusetts and got a real job that seemed to have potential. This was when I worked support for a company contracted to Microsoft. At first it was enjoyable, but eventually politics and corporate bullshit took over and made it a horrible place to work. Once again I started drinking too much resulting in a major car accident that nearly killed me. I crushed my right femur and took a year and a half to get back to a almost normal activity (broke it a second time during this period). When I got back to work they basically screwed me so I would end up making less money than when I started a couple of years before, so I quit.
I then decided to move out to Arizona where my sister was going to school, and try to go back to school myself. Of course I had to work to afford school, and found I still had no respect for the higher education system (or the society I lived in for that matter). So again I began the cycle of one crappy job after another and drinking too much. The last real job I had was for a travel agency, where I had a position that could have potentially helped it become a major player in the online travel market. But again due to politics and greed, the company was driven into the dirt and closed it’s doors. Now basically jobless, almost homeless, and not even having a drivers license because I got it taken away for driving under the influence … I had some life changing decisions to make. I realized that if I continued the way I was going, I would end up killing myself very slowly. So I made the choice to live. And to fully embrace the philosophy that was always the core of me, but that I kept allowing a culture that I have no respect for to convince me I am wrong about. So I joined a “yoga” studio that was teaching this way of life, and found my center again. Becoming the healthiest I had been since college, I lived and breathed this organization for about three years, finding the me that I wanted to be. But the organization lost it’s way, and began becoming more about it’s own growth then the message that attracted me so. So I left it, a bit disappointed.
At his point I was debt (and asset) free, healthy and mostly in tune with the universe again. I decided I would devote myself to something like international volunteering. I moved back to my parent’s as a base of operations while I looked into this. I became quickly apparent that “volunteering” is a very expensive proposition. Totally fed up with humanity, I decided to hide away from it, and did so in my parent’s “attic” for the better part of 2 years. When I finally decided to rejoin the world, I used Facebook to help ease me back into it. And of course this was just when the world economy crashed. There I began meeting some very cool people including two woman that were very special. One just “got” me, and we became very good friends. The other … we fell in love. Now keep in mind I still had this underlying belief that I was not good enough for any woman. I never had a girlfriend, never even dated. I had sex of course, but it was usually meaningless, and rarely sober. I wasn’t even sure if I could do it sober. And at this point in my life it had been over 6 years since I had any kind of contact with a woman at all. And I never even masturbated, because I just couldn’t make myself do it. I thought it was silly.
So I fell in love … with a woman I had never met in person. And me not even sure what love was. We even were talking marriage. She had had cancer and was not sure it was gone, and marriage was something sacred to her, even though this was not my view. She would not be with me unless I would marry her, and this was completely ok with me. The day she was supposed to fly out to meet me she went into the hospital for a blood infection that had resulted from broken wrist. It was very bad. While she was in the hospital, it became apparent that her cancer was back full force. She was told she had no more than 6 months. I told her I would marry her then, so we had at least the 6 months. At first she agreed, but then it became obvious that it was much worse then they thought. So she decided to completely sever any relations with me to save me pain. And died about a month later. The true irony is to this day I do not even know if she was real. About this time my dad began showing the signs of Alzheimer’s. I got a part time job, and had another brief internet fling that went badly right after this, probably some form of rebound. Then I met a woman that I actually went to high school with, but didn’t know back then. She was a widow, and still grieving herself. We decided to pursue a spiritual journey of healing together. I even moved in with her. But we were too fundamentally different on a practical level. So that ended, and somehow the friendship with the my other “good” friend from online, the one that “got” me was destroyed at the same time. So I was now back to being alone, unsure of my place in the world, and in my cave. Then I went and had heart attack, once again right after deciding to live again. I recovered from that. And here we are. Up to this moment. I am still not sure where I am going but am maybe a little clearer on where I have been.
I am sure I missed some things. And probably didn’t elaborate enough on others. But this is the essence of what has made me who I am today (today being March 26, 2011). Hope it doesn’t disappoint too much!