Thursday, August 25, 2011
#298 Michael Davidson: How Dangerous He Can Be to Himself
Michael Davidson was born in Miami in 1979. At 2, his parents moved him to Houston and he had a fun childhood there. His parents weren’t over-protective, so he ran around the pool and swam a lot. He rode his bike, walked through the woods, and carved his initials into a gazebo. He climbed onto the roof and leaned against the chimney whenever he was locked out and no one was home. He didn’t read much. He stayed home from school and watched cartoons. He mostly ate grilled cheese sandwiches and mac ‘n cheese. Michael’s first hobby was collecting baseball cards, which he still has, and the stack is a personal reminder of what it means to grow historic. When Michael was 12, his parents moved the family to Barranquilla, on the coast of Colombia, where his mother is from. There, Michael played tennis on red clay courts and Ping-Pong in his sister’s room. He ate arepas and empanadas and deditos. Cheese follows Michael everywhere he goes. In high school, Michael played tennis and did yearbook, which probably helped him get into college, where he studied economics, thinking it would help him get a job. This was a misconception. So far, he hasn’t used his degree for any specific kind of employment. Michael has done remote work for Google, worked as a golf range ball picker, a residential appraiser, and a math tutor. Michael has lived with his wonderful girlfriend Bridget since 2007 and he can’t stop making her smile because he likes seeing her smile so much. Also, Bridget makes home feel like home and he likes it when she plays the piano, which makes him think about how beautiful her mind is. For a while, Michael thought that signing the mortgage to his first home was an important event, but deciding to get out from under the mortgage and start living well again, free from being indentured to the bank, was more important. Here’s a subject change: Michael can only clip his nails outside. Something else: he has a scar between his bottom lip and chin that isn’t small. He got it from the Pacific Ocean, which picked him up when he was body surfing and slammed his face into the seafloor, where he floated around underwater and thought he was going to die. When he surfaced, he felt the sun and laughed, but he couldn’t talk right and part of his mouth was collapsed. Michael didn’t know what kind of person he was until the Pacific Ocean hurt him. He sees the scar in the mirror every day: He sees people staring at the scar when he talks. It’s a reminder of how dangerous he can be to himself. In 2009, Michael’s grandfather died and he hadn’t seen him for nearly a year. He can’t remember exactly what he said or what he looked like the very last time he saw him. In 2010, shortly before his grandmother died, he held her hand in the hospital and said goodbye. This somehow lightened the weight of losing her. Recently, Michael learned how to handpress paperback novels right on his kitchen table and he named the enterprise Tiny TOE Press, which published his first novel, Austin Nights. Michael is happy and healthy and at peace with everyone around him.