Defeated, I found myself once again in my parents’ home in New Jersey. I had to admit to myself that my way hadn’t worked. But rather than beat myself up over all that had gone wrong, I have always felt proud of how I reacted. I decided to start making decisions that were in my best interests. Some never understood that for the previous few years, my decisions were being made with someone else in mind.

The first thing I came to terms with is that as much as I would enjoy going through the CIA, I had no desire to remain in the restaurant industry. That was an easy decision, what was not easy was determining what I would do instead.

I had at one time fancied myself a university professor of philosophy. I kept looking at PhD. programs. All required a foreign language. At 26 I had learned a little about myself by then and I knew picking up a language was not going to happen. My friend Steve had found his way to elementary teaching and he loved it. In addition, he mentioned how starved for male teachers schools were.

I began researching and there was a program at Glassboro that would be perfect for me. I was too late to enroll in the first year of the MST program, so I set my sights on spring of 1993 to enroll.

That meant I had nearly 18 months … what to do?

I worked and I learned computers. My folks were the local computer experts and I spent my days learning. At night I built systems with my father. During the day I learned software from my mother. It was the best of both worlds. I was on the RIME network and a couple others. This was pre-Internet, as we know it today.

Being an adult living with your folks is not ideal for anyone. I decided to head to Florida to live with my grandmother for a bit and work. I figured I could pocket a good deal of cash for graduate school.

I was wrong. 🙁 I worked at a seafood restaurant in Dunedin called Jesse’s Dockside. They were so overstaffed money was hard to make. On occasion there was a good payday, but not usually. I looked around and found a high-end placed named Bentley’s. I changed jobs. It was a mistake. While Bentley’s was an awesome place, it could not draw enough customers as it was so high priced. We did tableside service and I learned how to make Caesar salad from scratch, Bananas Foster, Baked Alaska, etc. Money flowed no better here. My grandmother had a stroke and it seemed prudent to get out of the way, so right after Christmas I returned to New Jersey.

Soon enough spring came and I became a student once again.

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