Mike’s beginning in California:

Mike’s beginning in California: Christmas morning 7:04 am 1966 I was born in Santa Monica hospital the fourth of 5 boys. They brought me home to Topanga Canyon in a Christmas Stocking. This year I turned 56. My friends have accused me of dying my hair because it isn’t grey, I figure it’s more related to a low-stress lifestyle. We grew up Catholic and attended “Our Lady of Malibu”. I remember constantly doodling on my papers, and in first grade, a classmate told me “One day you’ll be a famous cartoonist”. I remember thinking “How cool would that be.” In the fall of 1979 right before Christmas Break there was torrential flooding, the main road into the canyon was washed away. We were elated, no school for who knows how long. A couple of friends and I decided to go exploring and check out all the flood damage. We had our rubber boots and Crossman Bbgun. Eventually, we came to a drainage pipe that went under the main road. It was about six feet high and had a steady flow of water about 4” deep. I went in and jumped side to side and made my way to the bottom exit. The water was blasting into a shallow pool with the main creek thundering brown angry water carrying boulders and pieces of Creekside houses. 100ft down. I tried to wave my friends in so they could see it too. They shook their heads “No”. I started to run back up the pipe jumping from side to side. I made it almost to the top and I guess I was getting tired, and my boot caught the fast-moving water and I fell down. I instantly knew this was going to be bad, I flipped over and dug my nails into the pipe trying to slow down. The pipe had a layer of slippery green moss that let me know, there was no stopping. I curled up and braced for impact. I flew out of the pipe and when I hit the bottom of the icy cold pond, I broke both ankles and gingerly swam to the shore, my boots were filled with water which made them feel like concrete weights. I wouldn’t be walking home. The first person who came down was a reporter from the LA Times. He gave me his jacket and his cowboy hat. It was starting to rain again, I was shivering uncontrollably. A helicopter came in and was hovering above us, they eventually flew away when they decided I wasn’t hurt enough or that it was too dangerous. The fire dept showed up and dragged me up the cliff in a metal gurney. They loaded me onto a large county work truck with a group of workers. One of them gave me his blue beanie and we headed for the top of Topanga. The road was washed out there as well, they hiked me in the gurney across the creek to a waiting Ambulance and ended up at Malibu emergency hospital. I came home in a wheelchair, soon after my parents broke the news they were splitting up and my younger brother Steve and I were going to stay with my Uncle in Texas. I feel like I was shot out of that pipe and landed in Texas. I’ve been here ever since.

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