The Story So Far
In 1968 I didn't do very much. The two major reasons were that I was born that year, and with only a few months to go. Not much time was available with all that sleeping. Hence I did not get to listen to the Beatles' White Album until somewhat later. Perhaps during the next year, while "we" in the form of two hand-picked astronauts were setting foot on the moon, it was noticed by my mother that I was having trouble breathing when asleep. Continually I was nudged and started breathing again. That has its latter-day equivalent in another woman who nudges me and utters the nightly mantra, "put your mask on" in reference to a very annoying CPAP machine. It's all because I was cursed by a demon-possessed witch as an infant to have a larger than average tongue to block my throat.
Part of that is a joke - for those lacking a sense of humour.
As five-year-olds most of us are absorbing varying degrees of information about how to read, write and perform basic arithmetic. We are also learning how to play and socialise. What I absorbed principally, was the way the wind swayed the trees back and forth and how birds hopped around outside, and how to get myself into trouble with teachers by being awkward, and with school bullies by being fat. To make matters much more interesting, this was a time when a lack of attention to school work was put down to simple laziness, and the bullies I was most worried about were a few years older than me. Yet I couldn't stop coming back to give as good as I got with the older ones, and I had a challenge on my hands differentiating them from the little ones I could have sat on to teach them a lesson. I was a whale of a kid and couldn't see my toes, though I saw over most of my classmate's heads - but I was oh-so sensitive. Of real concern was that tiny little blond girl who threatened me with her big brother, apparently who was so strong he could lift a shop with one finger. That was a worry.
The thing about attention is you have to put it somewhere, and, the hard part, having put it somewhere, is then not to go and lose it. For me, every time I discovered I had some attention to pay to what a teacher was saying or what was written in front of me, I would go and lose it in a quagmire of fantasies about my favourite rock bands, my favourite fantasy and sci-fi characters, the cool gadgets I wanted, or pretty much any other topic which for me was far more interesting than anything that deserved my attention. Losing that much attention day by day over the years results in a severe deficit, and yes, I am leading up to an admission here, of Attention Deficit Disorder.
It wasn’t until 1996 that I was formally diagnosed with ADD, although fortunately I was already in possession of a respectable array of coping skills. Now I had a name for what beleaguered me. I had an excuse to wave at people when it mattered. I also had some meds for about a year. The meds made me clean up a very messy room in my flat one day, and they made me stay wide awake all night driving a taxi. It felt great to have focus and energy. I could read a bit better and stay focused longer. But coming to my Honours studies in sociology the next year, the meds had worn off and I would have to run on a heightened sense of purpose in life. As I write I am suddenly plagued by thoughts of the “greens” and “blues” in Bourne Legacy.
Now it’s time to get a bit prosaic instead of crapping on and on like any of this matters to anyone.
The penny dropped for me one day in 1999 about the need for focus, discipline and good living and to just get somewhere in life. Suddenly everything changed and I began to do things with major effort and vision. That’s not to say any of this led anywhere. I just tried. I taught myself software development using Borland Delphi and eventually released an application related to digital signal processing for musical purposes. It was too technical for the market, and some problems existed with my computer, meaning I could not compile a clean version and the development kit kept on malfunctioning. I burned out after several years and could not sit down to code without feeling immediately like doing anything but that. A beta version attracted a few purchases, but the payment gateway was a scam and I never saw a cent. So much for that.
I returned to university to finish my Honours in sociology. That was interesting to do, but it did not lead to a job.
I joined the Liberal Party of Australia in 2002. Finding myself surrounded by lawyers, accountants, business owners and conscientious, if irrelevant, retirees was a huge lift because these people were full of positive thoughts and I could draw on what was actually an exceptionally high general ability index score and learn to equal and better them in certain ways. By being highly active and career minded I got to know some members of Parliament on a first name basis and managed to find some interesting things to do. In 2003 I ran for pre-selection for the federal seat of Corio, but being defeated, I realised I should wait until I’d achieved something people would see as credible. Still waiting. I was a State Council delegate, got involved in a Policy Committee and put together some legislative proposals for regulating electronic security, and served as Branch President and Electorate Council Vice President, and more recently I did a stint as a State Assembly Delegate. It still led to nothing.
Being surrounded by lawyers and disillusioned with the study of literary arts, I sought a degree that would lead somewhere and had higher professional standards underpinning it. I commenced a Juris Doctor degree at Monash University in 2006. With a learning disability this is no mean feat – even passing the entrance exam in no mean feat. But I eventually struggled through and published three academic standard articles in peer-reviewed journals along the way. One of these was an article on economics which found a flaw in the rules of international banking which - apparently inadvertently - acts against economic growth in developing countries. I like to brag about that because I had never gone near economics before in education. I took other economics and banking electives and started having delusions of grandeur about a career practicing law in the finance sector, or in international commercial law, or sexy international criminal law. Those articles are included in this website under the heading, Contemplations. I discovered during this time that my general ability index score is in the 99th percentile and my comprehension ability is in the 99.7th percentile. That's something I was born with and never earned.
Another cool thing happened in 2006 – that is becoming a full time private investigator. I went around Victoria interviewing people about WorkCover claims, and for a while also claims for car accidents, car thefts and house burglaries. It was an amazing job to have from the perspective of how much skill and self-organisation is involved if you are to do it well, how much you learn about the world, and how good it feels to do something with your mind that people respect. I LOVED dealing with the general insurance claimants who appeared to be approaching insurance fraud as just another string to their criminal enterprise bows, asking difficult questions and making firm demands as to documentary evidence. I also loved the technical aspects of car accident and car theft claims. Any case has potential to go to court (and some are on their way there already), so standards of evidence are high, along with a need to know the law as to the admissibility of evidence. It is quite seriously do it once and do it right as your normal standard, or get another job. But being a sub-contractor in an industry that is under-regulated makes for a very, very poor income indeed. I was working dawn to dusk and dependent on my wife’s better income as a child care worker. Turning up at a service station or supermarket check-out and finding you don't have the money to pay is a tough experience. The financial humiliation had to stop after 10 years, so I re-joined the ranks of blue collar workers who, by this time, I envied for their respectable incomes, paid leave and union representation.
It seemed as if experience like that and a law degree together would open some doors for me. No such luck. Actually there was a whole range of factors adding together to make it impracticable to go on to a diploma of legal practice. Then good old rotten luck brought it’s A-game, so I couldn't get into a graduate program, or even get a salaried job drawing on my investigative experience. After a few years I thought of throwing myself in harm’s way and joining the Army or Air Force. The thought of bullets whipping past me was quite motivating and I started physical training resulting in the loss of 17 kilograms. They didn’t want me on other medical grounds. Victoria Police didn’t want me on grounds of all-important traffic fines. Various secret intelligence services rejected me out of hand as I couldn’t pass their intelligence tests when completed online. (On paper I succeeded but pulled out later for other reasons after an initial interview at a sexy secret location). I had two different business ideas during these years; both of them forms of business service that no-one else seemed to be doing with any seriousness. I could not drum up enough interest to invest properly and had to leave those ideas behind.
So come 2016-2017 I was ready for a new angle on life and I went back to some starry-eyed childhood dreams. I stayed focused on my family duties as a father and husband, but learned some interesting new things. One of those was mindfulness meditation as a way of diminishing what was left of my ADD. Skim reading with full comprehension became possible for the first time, which was really exciting.
This remedy however, came somewhat too late as I was finished with studying law and sick of making no money as a P.I. With a major research article rejected by all the journals I realised I wasn’t going to be making use of my degree. That got to me pretty badly after all the years of effort. Needing something to change, I broadened my horizons and I eventually started sequencing electronic music at home and thinking some really fresh thoughts about religion – in the sense of developing more strictly logical ideals. Music became a focus during a period in which I took a sabbatical from trying to build a career and I ended up releasing an album of my work. Now, as I write, in 2023, I am returning to the investigation industry with new thoughts about how to make money as a sub-contractor.