Growing up into what would become the Tourettic Bully-Proofer.
My Early Years
I grew up in Southeast Dallas, Texas. (That section of Dallas is known as Pleasant Grove. Trust me when I say it was anything but pleasant.) It was and still is a very rough part of Dallas. At this point in my life I had no way of knowing that I would grow up to become The Tourettic Bully-Proofer.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had been born with Tourettes Syndrome (TS), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ( The Tourettes Trifecta).
During the mid-1990’s I coined the phrase Tourettes Trifecta to describe my situation. My father was a violent alcoholic, my mother was an addict, and my brother was both.
I Did Not Finish High School
Now for the good stuff. After dropping out of high school in the eleventh grade ( The 2nd time through. This is very misleading because about twenty years later it would be determined that my IQ was 141, which is genius level.) It turns out that I was just totally bored in high school and did not realize it.
So, I joined the military in the hopes of escaping the daily bullying from the neighborhood kids. Unfortunately, that did not go as planned. I was still being bullied because of the tics that are part of the trifecta.
Nothing was ever long-term for me
Finally, I was kicked out of the Navy because in their estimation I could not “Adapt to military life”. That was the understatement of the year. I still had not yet been officially diagnosed. During the 21-year period between the date of my separation from the Navy, on June 24, 1971 and the date that I was officially diagnosed, March 22, 1992, I was fired over 200 times. It did not seem to matter what my level of performance was.
That is not an exaggeration. In fact, the Social Security Administration classified me as 100% disabled in December of 1992. I had been classified as unemployable. The reason they fired me was always the same. “Mark, we like you, your honest, and dependable. Man, you work harder than anyone here. But you just do not fit in.”
I went through girlfriends just about as fast as I did jobs. I could never understand why the ladies never wanted to stay around me for very long even. Particularly since I had been classified as extremely good looking when I was only 15 by a 25-year-old woman that was friends with my mother.
It was ALMOST too much for me.
The emotional pain of living with the undiagnosed Trifecta become so overwhelming that I attempted suicide three different times during my twenties. I eventually found out that the source of all my problems was the PTSD that I developed while I was in the Navy from the persistent and unmerciful bullying. It seemed like to me it was happening 24/7. I eventually tried to end my life in late April 1971 right before I was discharged in what the Navy called “An inability to adjust to military life”. I’d say that was probably the statement of the year. I would go on to attempt suicide three more times in my twenties because I just did not think I could tolerate the pressure I was feeling.
In March 1992, the psychiatrist that I was seeing finally told me, “Mark, I may not yet know exactly what the problem is. But there is one thing that “I DO” know about you. You have a will to survive like I have never seen before. You are the type of guy that if you were in a plane crash up in the mountains and everyone on that plane was killed except for you. It would be because you were the one son of a bitch on that plane that absolutely REFUSED to die. Ten days later you would come walking out of those mountains—-frostbit, but you would be breathing. That is just how determined you are. You will not let anything or anyone knock you down and keep you down.”
My Two Wives
I always knew that I was extremely strong-willed. I just did not understand why. My first wife, Judy, was a very attractive, sweet, highly intelligent (Yes, I know. Then why in the hell did she marry me? Good question! If I ever figure it out I will let you know.) woman. The marriage lasted exactly 8 years and 5 months to the day. We got divorced in August 1980.
About 8 years later, I met and married my second wife. We have now been married going on 35 years. She was a practicing Ophthalmologist in the Philippines. Both of the women that I have been married to are extremely intelligent. They just have lousy taste in men. Judy graduated as the valedictorian of her high school graduation class of 1972. My second wife was the valedictorian of her medical school graduating class. I do not marry dumb women.
Our daughter is just as intelligent as Mom. She also has an enormous amount of plain old fashion common sense. (I keep wondering about who her father might be because a kid like that cannot possibly be mine.)
Finally, Things Started to Click for Me
For the next twenty-seven years, I was self-employed. I owned a residential maintenance business. When I was sixty-four, I started writing. At this point I was well on my way to becoming The Tourettic Bully-Proofer. I just did not know it yet.
Since then I have written three books, and more articles than I can even remember that have been published in other people’s books magazines, newspapers (I was an Op-Ed columnist for The Dallas Morning News for about a year).
This will give you an excellent idea of what kind of life I have lived. My complete autobiography is currently for sale on Amazon. It is titled “Consistently Persistent: Living with the Tourette Trifecta.”
It has been anything but dull. Trying as hell maybe, but never boring.