Without further ado...
As a child my parents recognized my aptitude for art, specifically, drawing and painting. They then decided to enroll me in a weekend program in a very nice part of the city. A "yuppie" part of town as it would have been called in the 80's. In hindsight, I'm guessing the school wasn't cheap.
It was a small class, maybe fifteen other students if I remember correctly. Each of us had our own easel. I arrived early every Saturday morning, wondering what it would be that we would be creating, or recreating for that matter. Placed in the center of the room would be that day's subject. Typically, it would be a vase filled with fresh flowers or something along those boring lines. I used to hope that one morning a naked woman would be center stage. I guess the class may have been a bit too young for that. A boy can dream right?
After a given amount of time, the professor would then walk around the room, critiquing each piece with no remorse. I recall trembling as she would get close to my station.
Some days I was better than others. Some days I just purely sucked. Why? First of all, at that age, I think I'd rather have been out on the South Philly streets with my hoodlum friends causing chaos in any way we could imagine. Second, and most importantly, even at that young age, I had the strange feeling that what we were doing in that class wasn't really art. I mean I'm sure it is depending on how you look at it. Semantics I suppose. I just felt that all of us painting the same flowers positioned in different ways, day in and day out, wasn't too artistic. Hey, who the hell am I? I was just a kid? Shut up and paint, right?
I didn't last too long in that class as I was more interested in running from the police and getting into as much trouble as humanly possible. Ah, the good old days.
Enter the world of high school and things changed even more. It was early on that I took some art classes, blowing away the competition. Therein is where lied the problem. I typically finished my projects much quicker than the other students. What remained in each class, five days a week, was free time. Time for me to get myself into trouble. It wasn't uncommon that I would get thrown out of that class and sent to the principal's office (Jeez, I hope my parents aren't reading). At the end of that year my teacher pulled me aside and explained to me that she was going to send me to an advanced art program but due to my attitude and behavior, she went against her instincts. I really didn't care too much as I was usually bored in these classes. You see, I wasn't that type. Although artistic, I was also a jock. From my early days, I was always involved in sports, no matter what game it was. It was the same time that I was getting bored with that elementary art class that the high school football coach approached me and asked me to try out. I obliged.
My art career was soon in my past. I couldn't have been more relieved. Those weird artistic hippies weren't my cup of tea anyway. All of my friends played ball and that's where I needed to be and I was good at it. I spent my years as a D-tackle, kill the QB. And that I did. As bad as it sounds, my job was to hurt people and I was good at it, hell, I even enjoyed it. Those sissy artsy hippies would never understand what it was I would do on a football field.