I shortened my name to ’vid after counting fifty-two Davids in my freshman class at Harvard. After the initial bout of mockery, the nickname stuck, though not without a number of well-meaning people suggesting I just use my middle name instead.
My mother was incensed when I changed my major from Astrophysics to English Literature, and promptly began sending newspaper clippings about how scientists command six-figure salaries right out of college while literati perish of consumption in a rat-chewed hovel illuminated only by the stump of a candle.
There followed a motley of professions, including stage actor (the interesting thing about professional stage acting is that it almost doesn’t exist, given that it remunerates so poorly that they have to call the paychecks “stipends,” which not even an actor can do with a straight face), teacher (which seemed better than it was, given that I came from the one profession where teaching constituted a pay raise), and biotech entrepreneur (which is not unlike a rendition to Guantanamo, complete with sleep deprivation, interrogations, forced labor, and the hushed assumption that we might at any moment be taken out back and shot in the head). Currently, armed with an MBA, I work in financial operations for a company that makes gasoline out of algae, which is what a lot of actors do when they weary of the stage.
But what I really want to be when I grow up is a writer.
Time to get on that. I’m a published travel journalist, corporate copywriter, and produced playwright and lyricist, so my work has hardly been a waste of time. I just want to see my name on screen.
Oh, and one more thing: if ever presented with the opportunity to participate in the sacred, shamanic Ayahuasca ceremony deep in the Amazon, think very carefully about the nature of your relationship with vomit.