Riches to Rags

 

Before my wife and I could sell our properties and get out of Costa Rica, the global real estate market collapsed in the second half of 2008 and we lost about eighty percent of net worth in our properties as did our friends and investors around the whole world. I was no longer flush and couldn’t afford to complete the graduate degree at GWU and get my Presidential campaign off the ground. We decided to stay in the country another year to sell off our properties at a loss and eventually move back to the United States.

My hopes for campaigning were not completely dashed.  In 2008, Barack Obama was running for office. It appeared like he had a great chance to win it all. That meant to me that he was going to be the Presidential incumbent in the 2012 election that I had to run against.  I was studying his every move on TV and the Internet from Costa Rica.

 

One day I called my friend, Jon, who worked in the White House and also worked on John Kerry’s campaign reporting directly to his campaign manager and asked what the political process was and the timeline to put my hat in the ring. I then studied the timelines to meet Eligibility Guidelines set by the Constitution. I didn’t have to declare my candidacy until at least later in 2011. I had to formally file papers with the Federal Election Commission to run for the presidential nomination. I still had plenty of time.  Mind you that on a normal given day, the last thing I wanted to do was become involved in politics at any level, not even the local HOA, much less become President.  It was the co-occurring  disorders of addiction and mental illness driving my urge to become the  POTUS. 

 

Once Barack won and took office, he appointed my fellow alumnus from Santa Clara to director positions of the CIA and Homeland Security. So then I had connections up the wazoo. I didn’t think I even needed them anymore, but they would make my transition more smoothly.

Halloween in Las Vegas 2009

 

Feeling quite depressed in Costa Rica after having lost my job and wealth due to the market collapse, I sought to find something fun to look forward to. Mariam and I were not getting along at all and I was out partying all day and night to escape reality. An idea popped into to my head to throw a huge ten-year wedding anniversary bash in Las Vegas, where we had originally gotten married in a helicopter. The plans for the event consumed my whole being for months. We had about fifty people fly in from all over the United States, Costa Rica and Mexico including my immediate family.

 

Mariam and I invited my dad, sister and three of our closest friends to join us for a helicopter ride over the city. We then met up with everyone in a luxury suite at Planet Hollywood to renew our vows.  It was a very intimate and special occasion for us even though Mariam and I hadn’t been getting along. We got through the ceremony conducted by our friend, Biswajit and proceeded to party for the rest of the weekend. It was appropriate that it was called the Charlie Sheen suite because there was enough cocaine floating around that it could have killed a horse.  I kept my thoughts to myself about potentially becoming immortal in 2012 and running for President. It was part of my pact with God.  After the weekend, Mariam and I returned to Costa Rica. We were starting to get serious about moving back to the States.  There was talk about going either to Washington D.C. or Phoenix, Arizona.

The Solo Good Party – 4th of July, 2010

 

Like my mother, I am obsessed with the Fourth of July fanfare.  To continue with my Neutron Timewave party series, I organized a major undertaking to throw a party on top of a mountain overlooking the ocean above the surfing village of Playa Grande, Costa Rica. It was kind of like a rave party hidden in the hills at an abandoned house with a large swimming pool and rancho area.

 

The genesis of the idea stemmed from the underlying depression I was suffering.   The peak real estate market was over. I didn’t have any source of income. I was only spending other peoples’ money. I was not able to get out of bed before noon. Usually, it was because I was masking my depression the previous night by binge drinking.  I really had to ask myself if I was an alcoholic.   My conclusion was that at times I was.  At times I wasn’t.  There was no need in my mind to get professional attention.

 

My modus operandi was to wake up, grab my laptop, then duck back into the covers until noon. I made almost all the party plans from my bed. Then I would roll out of bed and try to muster up the energy to shower, shave and brush my teeth. I would wear the same outfit two to three days in a row. I just didn’t care.  I sat in front of the TV watching “Two and a Half Men” like I did in the old depressed days of watching “Saturday Night Live”.

 

I started planning the party months in advance. I was royally bummed out about life in general and had to make something happen on the positive side. I made all the marketing materials. I made a promo video that I posted on Facebook and YouTube. I created a webpage in addition to designing the flyer and ticket design.  With the help of two of my friends, the site was prepared with tents, tapestries, special lighting and two stages. We painted psychedelic patterns in the empty swimming pool with florescent paint that served as the dance floor. I negotiated with the liquor company to bring in the booze and beer and hired a security team.

 

I booked the best rock ‘n roll band in the region called the Leatherbacks, a master Latin percussionist and top electronica DJs from New York, Ibiza Costa Rica and Belgium. On top of that, I bought the big Chinese fireworks from the municipal chief of police.

 

The event was a smash. Over two hundred people came out on one of the best summer nights of the season. People told me that it was the most fun they’d had in their lives. People danced and frolicked on the dance floor in the swimming pool until the sun came up.  No doubt, there were chemical enhancements. I put on a fireworks show starting at midnight, which turned out awesome. It was the first time I handled pyrotechnics of that size.  The crowd was very integrated with Americans, Costa Ricans, Colombians, Peruvians and Europeans. Although I wanted to stay relatively sober, I imbibed quite a bit that night. I was watching my step making sure to take my medication every day that week; however, on top of the drugs, the activities seemed quite overwhelming and I started to get very manic that night.

 

The racing thoughts and delusions of grandeur returned. The next day was clean up, which was a daunting task, but I got it done with my super manic energy. Later that night, Rudi, the Belgian DJ and I still had the electronic equipment at the site, so we decided to throw a smaller, intimate party with our closest friends. I was flying out of my skull. My wife was occupied with our visitor friends from Thunderbird that also had come to the party, so I didn’t have her watching over me.

 

We didn’t have any food, so my friend, Spider, and I went to the local grocery store. When I got in the store all the sudden I was overwhelmed with so many choices. I couldn’t decide what to get. Spider and I each had a cart and started filling it by taking two of every item on the shelf. Two loaves of bread, two pears, two nuts…. We didn’t give a shit what it was.  We just threw it in the cart.  We got to the check out and the bill was over $600. It was high, but I had the money. I gave the cashier my credit card and smiled with a psychotic look on my face. My pupils were dilated, and I looked like I was on drugs. The cashier looks at the card and, turns out, it’s my wife’s card with her Spanish last name, not mine. He looks at me and says. “Un momento.” He gets on the phone without telling me I have the wrong card. Then he tells me I can’t make the purchase for the obvious reason. I apologized for the mistake and told him I’d come back with the right card.

 

As we tried to pull out of our parking space, two police cars came and blocked us in. They got out of their cars with their guns drawn. We put our hands in the air and say in Spanish, “Wait. Wait. Slow down.” Before I explain the confusion to the one cop, we were legs spread, hands on the car. We both got the pat down. The other cop buried his nose into my car and started looking for traces of drugs. We were clean. We had nothing on us. I finally got a chance to speak and told the cop that it was an honest misunderstanding and they let us go.

 

We returned to the party and the crowd had narrowed down to twelve people. I started thinking God was telling me that it was kind of like my personal Last Supper. I was served up twelve tropical drinks mixing together all the leftover booze and fruit juices. As we drank from the cups, I thought one of them was going to betray me that night. Sure as shit. It happened.  The friend of mine that was the conspiracy theorist turned on me because he thought he was owed money from the event for his hard work he put into it. The reality was that we lost money and I wasn’t going to pay him out of my pocket. He was a partner with skin in the game, just like us. I lost a friend over $500. What a shame. It’s tough to put a dollar figure to a relationship, but that’s where the breaking point was.

 

I stayed up all night partying with my friends. I told my wife I wasn’t able to drive, so I would stay at a friend’s house.  Meanwhile, I was causing terror and mayhem the whole night.

 

As the sun came up the next morning, I was driving along the beach with Spider and two beautiful women from the party. The radio was blasting to an electronica group called Infected Mushroom. I passed a resort along the beach and got a thought in my head. There was a 25-meter pool at this resort and there was a place where the water was only an inch deep.  I got out of the car and went over to the pool.  I placed my camera on the ground on one end of the pool and pointed it at the shallow area. Then I backed up twenty feet and started sprinting towards the pool. When I was running over the pool, it had the illusion I was walking on water.  In my total manic state, I ran too fast and crashed into a cabana on the other side and banged myself up really good. The employees all laughed at me and knew I was out of my mind. There was great footage of Neutron walking on water. I thought that’d be great for the comedic section of my presidential campaign.

 

Everybody wanted me to do another party. That week, I started to think grandiose.  I could organize a huge music festival with big names like the Wailers and Jack Johnson. I was sure he would have loved to have come visit the country again and surf at Playa Grande. I was a phone call away to him given my old roommate at Santa Clara was best friends with him. I went to several potential venues and started to negotiate with them. I was in way over my head. I could have pulled it off, but it would have taken so much time and money, which I didn’t have at the time. I even called the agent for the Wailers and started to negotiate the price and terms.  They wanted $10,000 plus airfare and baggage.  Ouch!  Seemed high, but that didn't stop Neutron from trying.

 

Later that day, I thought it would be a novel idea to upgrade my SUV. I drove to the Toyota dealership with Spider in the capital of the province and picked out the most expensive car in the lot. The salesman, who I knew well, told me to wait as he prepared all the paperwork. He came back and said I’d owe them $30,000 after the trade in.  I had $3,000 in my bank account and financing was not an option.  I had no clue how the hell I was going to pay for the car. My mind was totally upside down. I was slapped in the face with reality and left the dealership depressed and disappointed in myself for being so stupid.

 

The next day, my wife and I left for the southern part of the country to attend a wedding of her Mexican cousin. For three straight nights, we partied our asses off Mexican style until the sun came up. After the first night, I realized that I mismanaged my lithium supply and had completely run out. Mariam could tell I was starting to get manic and became quite pissed off at my irresponsibility. Everything went without a hitch until we were returning to our part of the coast and I got a fine from a federal policeman for passing a double line, then not stopping.  He threatened to throw me in jail and Mariam got worried. In the end, he imposed a $1,200 fine for both infractions. I was trying to stay cool but was at the verge of snapping. My wife almost lost it completely on me.

Asleep at the Wheel

 

A couple days later, I continued to suffer from sleep deprivation, which led to over overtiredness, impaired ability to focus, and a lack of good judgment. I wasn’t making sense and doing stupid shit like running through a poisonous snake infested field in the middle of the night. My father called me one night to check in and sensed that I was out of it. He had been suspecting something was wrong with me for some time. He wanted me back home for a psychiatric evaluation.  He made a flight reservation for me to leave Costa Rica to return to the United States. My wife had intended for me not to drive to the airport as she felt I was probably in a manic episode after so many sleepless nights.  She secretly slipped a sleeping pill with all the other medications I was taking.

 

I felt I was capable of driving, even though I had not slept for several days. I took the car keys from the desk while my wife was in the shower to pick up a few personal items before I was to leave to go to Phoenix, Arizona to stay with my parents.  On the way back to my house in Playa Flamingo, the sleeping pill kicked in hard and I proceeded to fall asleep at the wheel immediately without having had the time to pull off to the side of the road. I hit another oncoming car head on at high velocity and crashed into the ditch. Miraculously, no one was hurt. The automobile accident was the first for me in over twenty years. My behavior once I got out of my car was seemingly rational. I immediately went to the driver that was hit to see if he was injured.  I then stayed with the other driver the entire time to exchange the proper information and waited for the police to come.

 

The police arrived at the scene of the accident and checked my blood alcohol content.  The results indicated I had no alcohol in my system. There were no evident signs, nor evidence that I had any drugs or alcohol in my car.  Because I looked so dazed and confused, the police proceeded to handcuff me and drive me to the police station in the capital of the municipality, Santa Cruz.  Once at the station, they proceed to beat me up and lock me in a cell with no toilet. One cop took my hat off, threw it on the floor and proceeded to urinate all over it. I was there for about six hours until the Chief of Police from whom I had bought the fireworks for the Solo Good Fiesta arrived.

 

My father flew to Costa Rica that day to come rescue me as he had done in Switzerland and Miami. After a few days of chilling out together and decompressing, he escorted me back to his home in Phoenix, Arizona. I was immediately taken to Dr. Emerson, a psychiatrist in Phoenix, and was diagnosed as having had an acute psychotic episode for months on end.

 

The choice at this time was to put me in a hospital or take me to my father’s home in Phoenix under close supervision. It was decided the best way to bring me out of my manic episode was to take me home, change my medication, get some sleep and try to relax.

 

Immediately following the accident, I verbally settled with the person in the other car and my father agreed to pay him immediately. However, an attorney advised me to wait until all legal issues were resolved. I made a special trip to Costa Rica with my father on September 26th, with the main purpose being to attempt to resolve all the issues outstanding in regard to the accident, the most important being to settle with the driver of the other automobile.

 

After six years in Costa Rica, this last mania proved to be the clincher for me to move back to the United States. I flew home with my dad to live with my parents while my wife decided to take a five-week spiritual pilgrimage through Spain.  She was going to come back to join us in Phoenix after her trip.

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

 

I watched an event on the day before Halloween 2010 that blew my mind. It was The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear put on by my two comedic heroes John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. An estimated 215,000 people showed up to watch them put on an event that was stolen straight out of Mr. Neutron’s playbook. They had a collaboration of musicians, actors and politicians.

 

One actor that I knew I had to include in one of my Neutron Timewave skits or movies was Don Novello, otherwise known as Father Guido Sarducci. Not only was he a cast member on Saturday Night Live, he was also a Thunderbird graduate.  Other guests included Sheryl Crow, The Roots, Mavis Staples, Cat Stevens, Ozzy Osbourne, The O'Jays, Kid Rock, Tony Bennett, the Mythbusters hosts, Adam Savage, Kareem Abdul- Jabbar, and R2-D2.

 

I thought the whole concept of restoring sanity applied to the entire nation, but also to me personally after I totally screwed up my life in Costa Rica.  From viewing this huge event, I one day wanted to create something similar on the National Mall with Neutron as the center of attention.   

The Divorce and Rock Bottom

 

The next day after the Restore to Sanity rally, I flew to New York to do two things. One was pick up Mariam from the airport on her way back from Spain. The other was to go to a costume parade down Sixth Avenue in Manhattan on the superhero themed float dressed as Mr. Neutron, the Manic Avenger with a Thunderbird friend, Eric.

 

On Halloween day 2010, I picked Mariam up at JFK with a Thunderbird friend, Jason, and we went back to his house just outside of the city. Mariam became tired and jetlagged and wanted for us to stay home and skip the parade. I was pissed. I had been looking forward to that event for weeks. I knew it would have been a crusher if I went without her, so I stayed in.

 

The next morning, I woke up and Mariam was wide awake in bed staring at me. She didn’t mince words and didn’t hesitate to say that she finally wanted a divorce. I was devastated. It was a wakeup call that there were consequences to my foolish actions while manic. We gave each other a huge hug and cried for a few minutes.

 

We got back to Phoenix and she filed for a divorce at the Divorce Store. No lawyers. No headaches. We just split our assets down the middle, paid $300 and started to move on with our lives.

 

My Presidential plot started to crumble. I really thought I’d need Mariam as she was with me in most of my visions to carry out the role of First Lady and the better half of the Holy Grail couple. I thought at the time that she would eventually come back to me when the time was right, perhaps just to keep my delusional narrative alive.

Little did I know it at the time, because I was still not thinking straight but I had now lost my job, lost my properties, crashed the car, split up with my wife, moved back to the US from paradise, and was looking at a lot of therapy ahead of me.  I had fallen out of a tall tree and hit just about every branch on the way down without even noticing it until it was all gone.  My alcohol and drug induced coma didn't help matters at all.      

Osama Killed

 

On May 2, 2011, President Obama sent the orders to carry out a mission that successfully killed Osama bin Laden. I was watching the news break live at my friend James’ house on a visit back to Costa Rica. I thought to myself, “Now that they’ve killed Osama that messes up my plan to catch him myself as I had envisioned all along.”

 

I thought maybe he was still alive because they wouldn’t release any pictures of his corpse. So now that page was taken out of my playbook.  I kind of felt relieved that I didn’t have to fly to Pakistan nor Afghanistan to hunt him down. I took a sobering look at chances of becoming President and started to think that I should put the whole President thing aside for a while until God gave me new inspiration.

11/11/11

 

Earlier in the year of 2011, I had revived the idea of getting all my Thunderbird friends on the Oasis of the Seas. It was a totally grandiose idea, but this time I was going to curb my expectation and try to get 150 people on the ship as opposed to filling the entire thing with over 4,000 alumni, family and friends. I put a pulse out to my friends and they were all on board for the idea. The date I had chosen was the magical 11/11/11.

 

One of the Board of Directors and benefactors of the school decided he wanted to throw a huge alumni party on campus on the same date, so I shelved the cruise idea for later. Although I thought I was getting shut down, I remained positive and decided to throw an event in Phoenix while everybody was in town for the reunion. I called it Mr. Neutron’s Double Decker T-Bird All Star Booze Cruise. The name said it all.  We boarded a tricked out English double-decker bus and toured through Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona hitting several bars and clubs on one of the nights of the reunion.  We set up a DJ and cracked out the glow sticks and danced all night. Everyone was elated with a special friendly magic in the air. On the way home at 2:30am, the bus broke down on the side of the highway.  We had enough booze to survive a nuclear war, so nobody was unhappy. The party continued on the broken-down bus until a new one came to pick us up. That one, too, broke down on us and I had to negotiate with the owner to pay for everybody’s cab ride home.  Although we suffered a setback, everybody had a great blast.

Death of Another Friend

 

In late November of 2011, I went back down to Costa Rica from Phoenix to visit old friends. A friend of mine, James, was into major drug use due to a deep depression from a bad divorce. He was snorting piles of cocaine and taking Mephadrone, which was like a form of liquid ecstasy from China. On top of that, he was also popping Oxycodone tablets, sometimes a whole packet of ten at a time.   He was slowly killing himself. He had lost his will to live. I tried to work with him, but I simply did not have the time to do so because I was only visiting Costa Rica on occasion.  I did have a serious talk with him and told him I thought he was bipolar like I am and that he ought to go see a psychiatrist. He was too far down the road. He lost probably close to fifty pounds and started to look emaciated.

 

After one huge bender, his roommate, Spider, tried to be the Good Samaritan and take him to a resort to dry out and relax, but it was too late. His heart was beating erratically in the car on the way to the resort while Spider was punching him in the chest as hard as he could to act like a defibrillator. He dropped James off at a rehab center crippled up in a ball. His business partner and best friend, Todd, drove five hours furiously to meet him there. They got him out of the car and stabilized him for five to ten minutes. Then Spider and Todd went for a bit to eat. Ten minutes later they got the dreaded call. James had passed.  He had unbelievable potential, but most likely was bipolar as well.  I was in country at the time of his death and we had a very nice get together among friends to pay tribute to his wild and free spirit.

 

I came back to Phoenix saddened and depressed.  I felt like that could easily have been me that overdosed. So, I buried my head in job searching for several months, but could materialize the right opportunity for me. Day in and out I was hanging out with my parents.  I got out golfing from time to time, but I was flat broke feeding from hand to mouth from my parents. Looking on the bright side, my ex-wife and I had two properties left in Costa Rica but were reluctant to sell them until the market bounced back. I at least could say I owed a condo and an ocean view lot there. I wasn’t technically a total couch surfing bum with absolutely nothing to show for it.

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