High School was a pretty fun 4 years I had. I attended Xaverian High School, a Parochial All-Boys school in my neighborhood. I could’ve went to many schools especially since I aced the entrance exams for Brooklyn Tech, Stuyvesant and elite private schools, Poly Prep, Horace Mann, etc and cou;d have went to any High School I wanted with scholarships.
But I decided to stay near home with the few friends I did have. Xaverian was a Catholic High School, but you could hardly tell. It was like living in a sectioned controlled Frat House for four years. A lot of insanity though nothing out hand, just mostly hi-jinks. A lot of pranks, which were fun including the time I TP’d a kid’s locker cause he wouldn’t shut up about the Yankees overpaying for players….
I was starting to open up more in High School especially when I got involved with the sports programs and feeling more comfortable with kids. I had a lunch table with friends, mostly of soccer kids including my then best friend, Jayme.
I knew Jayme from my last year at McKinley Junior High School. His parents were hard-working blue collar irish. We both loved sports and went to a lot of Mets and Yankees games together and his house’s basement had a bar in it. I’d come by friday nights, we would get shitfaced and watch a lot of Softcore porn on Cinemax or as the hip people would call it, “Skinimax” like it was Event TV for us. Softcore porn is funny in the sense it’s just naked people griding a lot and not showing penetration.
We ended up going to Xaverian together and stood close though I was meeting new people and friends when I was there.
The teachers there were pretty awesome. I was very close to a very few personally like Coach Russo, Ms. Harrington (probably the closest too), Mr. Flood (who was cool cause he was younger and was kinda like us though he was a responsible teacher), Mr. Graziano (who became a cop), Brother Joe who was a Guidance Counselor who loved hockey and Mr. Gillen.
Considering it was an all-boys school, pretty much a plain female teacher would be considered hot by us but we did have a lot of hot teachers: Ms. Reilly, Ms. Altamaura, a few others.
I still did receive “help” from Learning Disabilities during and after school though kids were older and were worried about stuff to care that I had “special help”. On Wednesdays, I had to take a train downtown to Park Slope for speech therapy, which was cool cause this was the time when Park Slope became hip to live so I hung out a lot of food places and tried different things.
Around this time, I took more responsibility helping my dad maintain the building he was a Superintendent for. The tenants always called me “Little Vinnie” because of my resemblance to my father.
The building was populated by a lot of women, the landlord preferred to rent apartments to younger women because they were willing to pay higher rents and seemed likely to move out in a couple of years, so he could raise the rent and move another in. I didn’t mind that at all, a lot of hotties! Though in seriousness, a lot of them were really awesome and friendly. I had a friend who lived in D5 who took me out to a lot of different places and opened me up to a bunch of things. I kinda had a crush on her, she was beautiful but she was older and I knew it would never happen. She moved out a few years ago, deciding to become a Art Restorer in the Hudson Valley, I haven’t heard from her in a while. I miss her.
It helped me earn extra dollars on the side. I also dogwalked for people in the building and was a busboy/waiter for the Salty Dog Restaurant down the block.
The bar was fun especially weekend nights, when I would “barback” which meant transporting beer/spirits from the basement to the bar area during the entire night and bottling the used bottles for recycling. I can fill atleast 3 blogposts full of crazy stories from really drunk people, barfights, drunk women hitting on lil me, etc. I made $240 a weekend doing it. When it was closing time, my dad would come to make sure I was alright and he would work to clean up the bar on weekend mornings. As I said, he loved to work a lot of jobs though he didn’t need to
Now in terms of girls, I really struggled there. While I made strides in talking with girls despite my shyness and Aspergers, most of the girls I talked to and felt comfortable were older and somewhat understood me. High School girls especially in the Bay Ridge area were different types of cats to be honest. I never really had a girlfriend and in fact, took my cousin to the senior prom which felt embarrassing. I really didn’t start dating until frosh year in college.
Graduating High School was great and bad at the same time. I felt like an adult and excited to take on new challenges but it meant saying goodbye to a lot of friends, great guys. Jayme ended up staying in the city and going to another college, but he dropped out. College wasn’t for him and he went to work with his dad in Carpentry. I didn’t get to see him much during College, we went our separate ways.
College sucked, to be honest. Other than sports, I really didn’t have much of a social life and I was bored. I didn’t really make any friends in college like I did at Xaverian. I felt lonely. I was in the city which was great but it sucked not to hangout with other people.
I decided early on since it wasn’t working meeting friends to focus on doing more things on my own and explore the city more than I ever did.
I purposely scheduled classes with a lot of time between classes which gave me a lot of time to explore NYC whether it was going to museums, trying new restaurants, sitting down on the Westside by Hudson River Park on the grass and trying not to get caught by the hot female sunbathers who I occasionally glanced over (Hey, I am a guy! Cut me some slack), or playing pick-up Hockey games at Chelsea Piers with these pretty cool Wall Street types. Those guys ruled, they played all my ice fees and always hooked me up with lunch and a beer.
Things got better my last 2 years, only because I started to take internships.
My junior year, my first (and best) internship was at Sirius Satellite Radio. This was the time when “Satellite Radio” became “it” then, they were riding a huge wave after signing “The King of Media”, Howard Stern. I was a full-time intern in the Subscriber Marketing Department.
The awesome thing about it, it wasn’t an internship were I just made copies. I was very involved with the day to day ops of the department because while there were growing, the managers had zero assistants/coordinators.
We had our own Intern area on the 19th floor with some of the Customer Service/Tech guys. We really became a tightknit group of people. A lot of them really turned to me a lot because they weren’t from NYC and didn’t know the places to go.
Sirius was fun! The DJ’s and producers were awesome! Comedian/former SNL Comedian Jim Breuer had a show on the comedy channel, he hung out at our area a lot and talk to us. It was insane his encyclopedic memory of Metal Music was.
The NFL Radio people would let me sit in on the production booth while they did their shows. I met a lot of Great Football Players and got autographs… Shannon Sharpe, Ray Lewis, Jake Plummer, Kurt Warner, Lawrence Taylor, etc.
We got to sit in on performances, I remember The Killers doing an acoustic set for their debut album and when Mariah came by and the insane security she had as she did a couple of songs for her new album in the performance area.
It was a fun 3-months, I learned a lot. I dated the Sports Marketing Intern who was really cute and she had this really bright red hair for a few months but when the program was done we decided to go our separate ways. I am still close with those people though a lot of them are elsewhere.
My summer internship was at boutique Ad Agency in Connecticut, I would commute from my home in Brooklyn at 6am in the morning and take the Metro North to South Norwalk, CT and back at the end of the day.
It was different than Sirius, but I also learned and did a lot and made a good friend named Justin. I was addicted to the Brewhouse Burger at the Brewery Restaurant across the street from the converted warehouse we worked. It was a giant cheeseburger on a pretzel bun!
When they gave us our paychecks, they wrote beautiful notes on them about the work we did.
It was kinda crazy between me and a Copy intern, she to be frank, was a huge bitch. Divisive and just mean. I had a few arguments with her until we agreed to stay out of each other’s way.
My last internship was also not an ordinary internship and also fun. I got it through the scholarship program I was in, that had Time Inc as benefactor. I ended up at Sports Illustrated for Kids as a Marketing Intern. They like Sirius had a small department and needed me to do alot. I was more than game.
My main project was to help them with the planning of an annual event they did involve teen athletes who did Winter Sports like skiing, snowboarding, etc. It always attracted a lot of sponsors like Kelloggs, Nike, etc. I got to meet Shaun White, The Olympic Gold Medal Flying Tomato dude.
I ended up graduating college right after. My parents after the ceremony, gave me a huge tearful hug reminding me “What I had to go through to get there, how I was the first person in the family to have a College Degree and they were proud of me”. One of the best moments in my life I will ever have.
Considering what I had gone through those 22-23 years of life, so far then. I must say, “I was proud of myself and felt alive”…. Though another challenge was about to come and it was harder than College though I enjoying it even more.
Stay tuned for the final (or is it?) of the story of my life, so far with “The Story of Me, Part IV: Goob to the Present!”
-V. for Vinnie