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Jim and Irene were your classic overachieving couple.
They met at Stanford as undergrads in the late 90s.
Jim was captain of the water polo team and also ran the sports column for the Stanford Daily.
He studied Economics and Philosophy and was picked by many of his classmates to be the
“next Governor of California.”
Irene was one of the few black, female physics majors who were really gifted at mathematics.
She excelled at theoretical neurophysics especially, and had published two or three research
papers by the end of her Senior Year.
The two spent the immediate years after college apart, Jim on his Rhodes scholorship in England
and Irene in Cambridge Mass doing research.
They stayed close and eventually married.
20 years later they had two boys, a 17 yr. old and a 15 year old.
They lived in Palo Alto again, both teaching at Stanford.
Their lives were utopic when looked at from afar.
But there existed much turmoil within the family.
Neither of the boys had followed in their parents footsteps of overachieving scholastic rectitude.
Their oldest boy, Albert, was a committed punk rocker.
He sported the full septum piercing, a purple mohawk, tight jeans, bullet-belt.
He promised to get a face tattoo as soon as he turned 18.
He’d come home from school (when he went to school), walk right past his parents and slam
the door to his room.
Immediately the loud, booming, screaming music would throb through the house.
Jim and Irene were generally good, fair parents who had tried to bring Albert up right.
He’d been a model student until the age of 12 or 13… when he began hanging out with a
different crew of kids.
Almost overnight the onset of his teenage years seemed to bring with it abrupt and disturbing
changes in his personality.
Disrespecting his teachers, parents, police and adults in general.
Smoking cigarettes, drinking and who knows what else.
Sneaking out of the house at night.. coming back early in the morning.
His mother staying up late worrying about him.
Albert finally got kicked out of the private high school he attended.
He didn’t do much better at the local public school.
Fights, attitude, crazy behavior.
Jim and Irene were worried sick and didn’t know how to handle their son who they loved.
Finally one day Albert just didn’t come home after school.
They didn’t see him for a few days.
They called all his friends, his friend’s parents, the police.
Nobody knew where he was.
Finally they received a hand-written letter from Albert.
He was in Vancouver… on tour as a roady for a punk band he knew.
He told them not to worry and that he was doing what he had to do.
Bagel in 10 years