Eighteen Years

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i gotta be me!...i gotta be me!...
So I can't have any of this until I eat how many pounds of vegetables?
December 1983

(w/sister Brenda)
I kept butting heads with my parents. Our high school, Mater Dei, hadn't beaten their football rival Reitz, in 15 years. This year I was a senior and although we usually went to this game, my father wouldn't take me because it was raining. I didn't want to miss it just because of rain but no amount of pleading worked. I didn't drive and had no friends to call. I was stuck.
We won the game with a team made mostly of my classmates. I went to school the next day to celebrations and was one of the few people who missed Mater Dei's greatest night in 15 years. I was furious and the barriers between my parents and I deepened. I couldn't deal with their views on life. They were too practical. And my crush had begun on a classmate named

I was falling for her but didn't know how to tell her. I was so shy and insecure I didn't think I could. I had no job, no car, and felt my class didn't know I existed. It's no surprise...I rarely spoke in school. When I was with Tom, my brother, or our friend Robert, I was a funny guy. Tom and I would be in stitches most of the time from feeding off each other's silliness. My class glimpsed this in 1979 when Tom and I worked with two girls to make a recording. The class voted ours the best and the comment I often heard was,"Is that you Mike?" But fame was short lived. I couldn't relax and be myself around people. My brother and father said I was crazy, weird. I didn't think anyone would like the real me.

One other thing Father Albertus Lutterbach (see year 17 entry) liked to do was recycle aluminum cans for money. He used it to help fix up his church. I hated real jobs so I did this to make a little extra change, keep my parents off my back, and have fun. I used most of the money for my electronics projects and a synthesizer I built on October 22, 1983 which Tom and I used for our infamous recordings. I'd go out on my rusted Schwinn and pick up about 500 cans a week (Father Luterbach collected 2000 a week!). At 1 cent per can, I'd make about $20 a month, and it was hard work. I'd go out in the winter and come home with swollen feet and no feeling in my extremities from the extreme cold, sometimes crawling through sewers and garbage dumpsters for my loot. This went on for two years until my senior year when I realized I couldn't live off $20 a month.

The suffering had other benefits. In early 1983 I'd used this 'wilderness training' in the annual high school fund raiser. With my high pain threshold and passive resistance techniques learned from the movie "Ghandi" I overcame my life-long fear of dogs. No matter how ferocious the dog, I ignored my fear and walked on by to make the sale. For my effort I sold $150 worth of M&M's mostly by bicycle (3rd highest in school) and received a
gigantic Hershey bar. Yummy...but Mom made me eat 50 pounds of vegetables to balance my food groups.