How to explain who I am and what I do now? That’s no easy feat. In my boyhood, I caused a lot of trouble. I was always getting kicked out of school. Before classes started at Blacksburg High in Virginia, I would get stoned with Pat Wilson, an openly gay guy, and Ann Roth, who was a cheerleader and one of the most popular girls in the school. She was definitely counterculture. I was the school troublemaker. I talked back to teachers and I skipped classes, too. I would steal stuff, like cartons of cigarettes, from stores and I grabbed pot from an older brother. I had eight blood brothers and sisters, plus a whole bunch of adopted brothers and sisters. I was number six in the birth order. All of us waited in line for mom’s attention. She gave me time and love; my dad gave me discipline and love.
We were a Catholic, military family in military housing. It was kind of like a barracks. The only place I ever really felt comfortable was in the kitchen with my mom. She would tell me that I should be good. I would do crappy stuff and she wouldn’t tell my dad. He never fisted me but he spanked me and pushed me around. He was a colonel in the army, and a leader of men and I didn’t want anyone to lead me, least of all him.
I’d walk into class at school with a pen coming out of my pants and everyone laughed. I would take the aluminum wrapping from Wrigley’s Gum, make a kind of fork, stick it into an electric socket and blow it up. This was in a parochial school where girls were in uniform and the guys would mess with their dresses.
Why did I do all this? Negative attention was better than no attention. While I was growing up, my mom went to school to become a therapist and a psychologist. I was her inspiration. She was finishing grad school when I was granted emancipation. I was doing Ritalin and also selling it at school by the time I was 14. They told me that I was hyperactive and had too much energy. I was raised with all that crap about Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. I believe Jesus lived, but I doubt he had supernatural powers, and, when I was growing up, I didn’t believe that I would burn in hell unless I repented my sins. My parents gave ten percent of their income to the church. Priests were living comfortable lives while people were starving. One of my own sisters worked graveyard shift at Walmart and struggled to feed her kids and my parents were giving away thousands of dollars to the church.
I did try to be good. I was an altar boy and confirmed and sang hymns, and at the same time I’d steal beer from the frig at home and go into town and shoot pool. I’d scrounge $10, buy tickets for Virginia Tech football games, then sell them, make between $200 and $300 and then persuade a college student to buy me and my buddies beer and whisky. Chris Porter and me would drive in his MG to Bluefield, West Virginia and buy a case of Jack Daniels. The drinking age was 18 there, and it was easier to get booze than in Virginia. My older brother, Mike, was a rebel and an inspiration. He moved out of the house and then straightened himself out while I remained un-together.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved my parents, though my father didn’t think so. He acted like I hated him. I just didn't like the way he ran the ship.
I actually gave my own son, Milo Hugh Munson, my dad’s first name. My father passed away a while ago. My mom is still alive, but I don’t talk to her anymore. I told her that I didn’t think the world would last much longer and that the military and the Catholic Church were helping to ruin it. You know, the U.S. military has been in 50 to 60 wars over the past hundred years or so. It’s all about natural resources, not human rights. And the U.S. military teaches soldiers in dictatorships how to repress uprisings and rebellions. How can an educated person believe in Noah’s Ark and the Ten Commandments and then blow up kids in Nicaragua?
My siblings didn’t like it that I was honest with my parents. They wanted me to go on attending church and being a good altar boy. Fuck them!
I understand, you gotta teach kids to read and write, but inoculating them with false facts about U.S. history, no thanks. Teddy Roosevelt was no hero and Henry Ford was thick with the Nazis. I wasn’t taught the ugly truths about American history. I was in Amsterdam for a cannabis event and this Middle Eastern guy comes up to me and says, “You’re a fucking American.” I said, “Well, yes, but I don’t support Bush.”
In my own family, I suppose I’m getting pay back now for my misdeeds. My daughter, who’s rebellious, is my parents’ revenge on me for what I did to them. But I love her greatly.