About Daddy Scratches

JonI’m Jon, a.k.a. Daddy. I was born in January of 1970. Since the summer of 2010, I’ve lived in the Philadelphia area. Prior to that, I spent most of my life in the Boston area. Both places are cool. Neither place has palm-tree-lined, white-sand beaches set against a backdrop of warm, aqua-blue ocean waters. I consider this tragic.

As a child, I thought I was going to be a member of the rock group KISS when I grew up. That didn’t work out.

As a teen, I thought I was going to be a cop. I enlisted in the Army and served from July of 1988 through January of 1992. Most of that time was spent working as a military police K-9 handler at Ft. Irwin, Calif., located in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

By the time my tour of duty ended, I knew I didn’t want to be a cop when I grew up; I wanted to be Howard Stern. I returned to Massachusetts and went to college, where I majored in communications and hosted a weekly college-radio show.

Occasionally, I listen to tapes of my old college-radio show. They are mostly bad. Regardless, my quest to be Howard Stern was misguided, since, as it turns out, there already is a Howard Stern.

Located across the hallway from the college radio station was the college newspaper. Since getting paid to talk for a living seemed increasingly less likely, getting paid to write for a living seemed like the next best thing, so I signed on as a Staff Writer, then as Living/Arts Editor, and, finally, as Editor-in-Chief.

I graduated in 1996 and immediately went to work as a reporter for a local newspaper. I covered city-council meetings and wrote about things such as housing developments and sewage problems—and, at one point, about local singer Gary Cherone, who, during my tenure as a reporter, became the third frontman for Van Halen, my all-time favorite band.

I enjoyed writing about Van Halen more than I did writing about city-council meetings, housing developments and sewage problems, so—long story short—I relocated to Arizona and took on a publishing job that offered the perk of being peripherally involved with the group. Highlights included spending the day with the band at Eddie Van Halen’s home studio (a.k.a. 5150) and having backstage passes for the group’s entire 1998 tour. For the most part, this was a dream come true.

The part that wasn’t a dream come true: Van Halen with Gary Cherone was not Van Halen with Sammy Hagar, nor was it Van Halen with David Lee Roth. The album tanked, the tour ended, and I needed to make something happen before my career arc mirrored the band’s.

I landed a job as the editor of an online city guide in Phoenix, and used that position to leapfrog into a gig as a work-from-home music journalist based back in the Boston area … a job I held for 10 years before getting laid off in May of 2010. The layoff happened just prior to my family’s previously planned relocation from Boston to Philly, and so the portable, full-time gig that I thought I was bringing to Philly suddenly was gone, and the sizable mortgage we thought we had secured suddenly was in jeopardy.

A quick job hunt ensued, and I, mostly out of desperation, accepted a full-time gig as a web-developer in the Philadelphia area. Dressing in “business casual,” driving to an office and sitting in a cubicle all day feels rather fucked after calling my own shots for the better part of the past decade … but they’re paying me a handsome sum to play on the computer and listen to my iPod all day, so things could be worse.

My wife and I met in 1993 and wed in 1998. She has a master’s degree in social work (which is helpful, since I’m a basket case who has been diagnosed with ADD) and runs her own clinical private practice. She is an amazing mother, a wonderful wife, distractingly pretty, and the kind of woman a guy would be lucky to spend the rest of his life with. I consider this proof that I have done at least one thing right.

Our son, a.k.a. Zan, was born in June of 2003. Our daughter, a.k.a. Jayna, was born in July of 2005. I am convinced that they are the most adorable, wonderful and gifted children ever to set foot on the planet. I also am convinced that they occasionally are possessed by Satan, and that he uses them to punish us mercilessly.

We bought our way-too-expensive first house during the height of the real-estate boom and spent six years watching its value drop faster than Lindsey Lohan’s employment prospects while simultaneously racking up enough debt to bankrupt several Third World nations. We now live in our slightly-less-unaffordable second house, and are trying to dig ourselves out of a dauntingly deep hole. I’m sure we’ll be fine … you know, as long as both children land college scholarships and let us live with them rent free after we retire.

So, to recap: Forty-something, not a member of KISS, not Howard Stern, married with children, broke.

At this point, it’s all pretty much riding on this whole writing thing.

Thus, the blog.