My life as I’d known it came crashing down sometime in  the Summer of 1980.  A product of excessive self indulgence, I was financially and morally bankrupt and so broke, I had to handle the BK process  in pro per.

So, there I was,  30 years ago, with  Carmen Alicia, my soon-to-be ex better two thirds, a casualty, nay, survivor, for better not worse, of my  misguided youthful dalliances and misdemeanors, graciously poised across from me in a booth at Canter’s Deli on Fairfax Ave.  as we’re sharing a Corned Beef Sandwich on rye, whcih she most probably paid for.  I’m penniless, nearly homeless, maybe car-less, about to be wifeless and as I  peer into my life like Columbus desperately seeking Terra Firma, I don’t see an ounce of hope for my personal redemption anytime soon.

Warren's 1st Oil at 8 years old

Then, I remember back in the 70s, Jimmy Carter  was asked  to explain his decision making process.  He shared that armed with only legal pad and pencil, he’d draw a line down the middle of the page and on one side he would jot down all the positive attributes of the issue at hand and on the other side of the line, naturally, he’d put all the negative components of the matter being weighed.

So I said, “Ah Ha!  I’ll do the same thing and take a personal inventory of myself…” I then proceeded to honestly write down all of my positive and negative qualities, my personal assets and liabilities as I remember it, simply to  see who I was on paper.  Aside from the revelation that I’d lived life recklessly and was hell bent on self destruction for most of my twenties and early thirties, it was simultaneously enlightening and surprising.  For as I veraciously scrutinized  and audited my personal balance sheet, each one of my assets was canceled out by an equal and opposite liability, no kidding. Except (pause)…

Except, I swear, at the bottom of the asset column was the  sole remaining word on the entire page, and that word was talent.  So, in a singular moment of clarity and ontological courage, I said to Alice, “I’m gonna rely on my talent and become a designer.”

The next day that’s who I became and that’s what I did in the spring of 1981.  It was now incumbent on me to forge my new career  into parts unknown and have a project to sink my teeth into.

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