I was born and raised in Las Vegas when it was a small town in a vast nearby desert. There were Rat Packs on stage in the casinos and Rat Packs in charge of the cops and Rat Packs in charge of City Hall.
I was in pre-school when adults began to comment on my art skills. I drew pictures and studied art for the rest of the years I was in school. When I was not developing art skills, I studied lots of other subjects. At the end of high school, I was highly qualified for necessary scholarships. But I was missing adult friends, as that concept was then understood in Vegas. Without them, what qualifications I had for scholarships was of no matter.
My first year at UCLA was going to be my last year there. An ancient Art 101 professor made it worthwhile. During his lectures he told stories about partying with his artist friends in Paris in the Twenties. I wondered how to take notes about such stories as everyone else in the lecture hall was doing. As our final exam approached I wondered how to study for it. Come the day of the exam, the professor gave us all a perplexing look. He said, "How could you have taken notes about what I was talking about? There is no exam. You all get an A. Go home." It is timely advice when someone suggests we should do what we must do, like it or not.
With or without a license, I could still study. Every few months the UCLA library would get crowded. It was a sign that final exams were close. After a week or two the library would be empty again save for the regulars.
These years were also the heyday of revival movie theaters in LA. I had nightly access to the whole history of movies, foreign and domestic, all presented on big screens. I found a theater with weekly showings of underground movies.
I made a little money and spent five months in Europe. I visited and re-visited Chartres cathedral.
All of my employers judged that I was best employed in minimum wage jobs. I have never received a merit-based raise from an employer. Between such jobs as were available to me I chose those which allowed me to work thirty-hour weeks. In exchange for living in poverty, at least I should have a lot of free time.
I have been employed as a movie theater usher, lemon picker, blueprinter, office gopher, Kinkos printer, liquor clerk, liquor delivery driver, Keno writer, busboy, waiter, and janitor. Self-employed; for a compressed few years I was an internet stock investor, and then, a slumlord. I tried to act on the theory of timely diversification.
I draw income today from licenses issued on my patent on tactile immersion play systems.