My childhood was rough enough to knock the belief in happily ever after clean out of my heart. My parents split when I was too young to remember; then, when I was five, my dad died in a plane crash. I’ve always been one of those hardheaded chicks who believe that we’re all responsible for our own happiness. Still, when I married Laird I was confident I’d found my soul mate. Who could be more perfect for me than a guy who was my height—six feet three—and was even more intense and focused than I was?
All through your twenties you were fine… Then something happened. Another birthday, maybe. A breakup. Your best friend’s wedding. Suddenly there you were: walking down the aisle wearing something halfway decent from J. Crew that you would totally be able to repurpose with a cute pair of boots and a jean jacket. And as you made your way toward the altar, looking at a groom who wasn’t yours (not that you’d even want that par¬ticular groom), you found yourself, for the ﬁrst time ever, having something—feelings?—about the craziest thing: Why you’re not married. Why you’re not even close.
The summer vacation between freshman and sophomore years, I was working my way through the summer reading list when Lord of the Flies brought me to a halt. I wasn’t ready to start another book when I finished that one. I’d never read anything so layered with meaning: it haunted me, and I needed to think about it some more. But I didn’t want to spend the whole break doing nothing but reading and watching TV…
Somewhere in my forty years as an artist and performer, I picked up a reputation for being a serious guy. Many of my fans don’t realize that I was never bar mitzvahed because I was the kid betting on the dreidel in Hebrew class and smoking cigarettes during breaks. If you were beaned by a water balloon or splattered by a flying tomato in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, it was likely launched from the rooftops by yours truly.
I never had any desire to be in law enforcement. In high school, my dad called me a half-time student. He said, “David, you spend half of your time getting kicked out of school and the other half getting back in.” My vice principal wrote in my senior yearbook, “Some bring happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go. Good luck; you’ll need it.”