Thank you, Miss Norton in 3rd grade, for not coming to my rescue when the whole class laughed at the book I chose for my report. It allowed me to understand I was truly on my own, and I developed the defense mechanisms I needed to survive.
Thank you, Mr. Medley, for berating me for a full half hour at my piano lesson so that tears ran down my face, and I was utterly encased in shame. You said I had “plateaued” and I wasn’t getting any better. Even though I was nine at the time, I would later recognize the moment when it came in other pursuits.
Thank you, Mr. Hannay, for telling me in front of my music composition class at Carolina that I couldn’t write music and should stick to words. I used that motivation to quit your fucking class and write a column for the newspaper AND write music for a successful band later on.
Thank you, GYK, the exec at Fox, who wondered aloud – to whomever would listen – that if my wife and I got a deal in Hollywood, then “there must be a place for anybody in this fucking town.” I’ve thought of you with a tiny reservoir of unfettered glee every year for the last six seasons when we sell something.
Thank you, former housemate JLJ, for saying you couldn’t believe I was dating this one girl because you “always considered her out of my league”. It was the first I’d ever heard of the idea of romantic “leagues” or even the notion that somebody would be out of mine. The comment made me assess my “status” and cemented my opinion that we were all rock stars and nobody was out of anybody’s league.
Thank you, Clay Boyer, for walking into my room at the Purple House, seeing me lying on the bed with a crazy hot chick from New Orleans, and saying, with sincerity: “Don’t get complacent.” And then walking out. You don’t know how many times that moment has made me jump the groove and get back to the business of creation.
And thank you, nameless fucktwats who jumped me by the bike rack as I tried to run home from elementary school in Cedar Rapids, IA. You provided me the three things I needed to succeed: tales, empathy and revenge.