If you’re here to learn more about me, then I suspect you're about to be disappointed. Between my book and the numerous self-indulgent deep dives I take into my experiences in my writings, I don't know that there's much left to say. (Though if you haven’t already read said book, may I recommend you buy a copy by clicking right here?)
But a blank "About Me" page wouldn't make much sense, so here are a few more events from my life that got me to where I am today…
October 17, 1985
I am born. As for what else happened on this day, my memory remains foggy.
My father begins a tradition that will become one of my most cherished childhood memories. Every Saturday morning, I race downstairs, hop under a blanket, and snuggle on his lap as he tells me stories. Some are from his own imagination, others from books he read long ago. Either way, I am engrossed, and I am happy. I tell you this to share where my love of story began, but also because if you think I was once adorable, you are more likely to consider me a protagonist worth reading about.
Our first grade teacher unveils a new class called Writer’s Corner. We spend the next 45 minutes writing whatever we want, letting our imaginations run wild and pour onto the page. This instantly becomes my favorite 45 minutes of the day, and I decide I will be a writer when I grow up.
In second grade, I reach the athletic pinnacle of my life: I win a gold medal at my friend’s Olympic-themed birthday party. For those of you unfamiliar, the gold medal is given to the absolute greatest in their category. No one is better.*
*Technically, I won the gold medal for most injuries incurred that day. Doesn’t matter. Still more than Federer.
I get my first job, and I use a portion of my first paycheck to buy a Rod Stewart Greatest Hits CD. This is the beginning of a decade-plus of poor spending decisions.
We all make choices we regret when we are young.
I attend Syracuse University. It is very cold.
Wanting to be a professional actor, I move to L.A. When I get there, I find that many of the people in casting disagree with me about both whether or not I can act and whether or not I deserve financial compensation in return. This is a major roadblock to becoming a professional actor.
L.A. has been a struggle. It doesn’t feel like home to me, and I’m not getting much acting work. So I decide to pull a Matt Damon/Ben Affleck. I’ll write my own screenplay for a movie where I’ll play the lead. I am glad to have writing to turn to at a time when I need comfort.
I draft a story about a movie star who realizes he doesn’t want to be an actor. It takes two weeks of working on it before I realize that I actually am the main character, and I’m the one pursuing a dream I don’t want.
I move home to Boston.
I get good at poker. Working online with what started as a $100 deposit, I start making more money playing cards than I am at my job. In July, I play in the World Series of Poker. When my seasonal job wraps up in November, I begin playing online poker full time.
I must admit this photo is from years later. When I went to the World Series, I didn't ask anyone at my table to take photos of me because I was worried I would come off as a player who didn't belong. Note to all readers: If you ever accomplish something you are really proud of, don't be a dumbass. Get some pictures.
April 15, 2011
In the poker world, this day is referred to as Black Friday. All the major poker sites in America are shut down, and my short-lived career as an internet card shark is over. Meanwhile, the money in my online account is frozen. I become broke and unemployed on the same day.
April 16, 2011
Looking for work, I discover a lot of bizarre ways out there one can make a buck, and I decide to start a blog about all the different things I do to earn money. It’s called Odd Jobs. I am glad to have writing to turn to at a time when I need comfort.
For the next several years, I do odd jobs and work on Odd Jobs. I give blood at a sketchy clinic, march as Mickey Mouse in a parade through Boston, serenade a man with a One Direction song on Valentine’s Day, dress in a bikini to deliver a copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, become a research study guinea pig, twist balloons in a public park, and more. I will eventually turn the blog into a book which you can buy RIGHT HERE.
At one point, I notice that it's been awhile since I matched with anyone on a dating app I am using. I check my profile and discover that somehow the program has auto-synced with my facebook photos and uploaded several images from me working my various gigs, including this one...
And you thought you didn't photograph well.
Working different gigs, I discover a few that I love, and I pick up recurring work entertaining crowds: Hosting trivia games, running teambuilding events, and acting in shows. But I also earn money as a writer. I get hired to interview my favorite radio host, make fun of one of my favorite television programs, and document my experiences trying out different health fads. I would link to that last one, but unfortunately the site closed shortly after I published a piece and accompanying photos about the time I did strippercise (i.e. exercise inspired by striptease routines). No word on whether or not those events were related.
There are some things you're better off not seeing.
I start my own company, combining what I’ve learned from years of entertainment work with my love of board games. It is called BoardGame Empire, and we run what we call board-game-themed events. We host board game speed dating nights where you can find love through board games, a board game league where each week teams compete against each other in different genres of board games, and private events where we turn otherwise ordinary parties into far-more-exciting board game parties. Earning money running this company, spreading the love of board games, and giving great people fun jobs will combine to create one of the happiest, most rewarding parts of my life.
Me at the office.
I publish my book Odd Jobs: One Man’s Life Working Every Gig He Could Find, from Bathroom Attendant to Bikini Model. (Guys, you’re not going to believe this, but I actually have set up a webpage where you can buy the book and it’s right here). And on that night of my release party, surrounded by friends and loved ones, holding a published copy of a book that took me years to write, running a company doing something that I love, life is pretty good.
Global pandemic happens. Running events where you assemble large groups of people becomes a really bad idea, and BoardGame Empire goes on hiatus. Worse things happen. I open up my laptop. I am glad to have writing to turn to at a time when I need comfort.