Formerly a professor of American History, ANDREW R. HEINZE is the award-winning author of JEWS AND THE AMERICAN SOUL (Publishers’ Weekly choice: “Best Books of 2004”).
In 2006 Andrew left a tenured position in academia and moved to New York City, where he soon began a full-time career in playwriting. His first full-length play, TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN, a political farce set in the Oval Office in the year 2028 was praised by the Soho Theatre in London as "an accomplished first effort . . . sharp and highly enjoyable repartee . . . very theatrical: fast moving with lots of humour."
Among Andrew's full-length plays, DELETING DAD won the Texas Nonprofit Theatres' 2016 New Play Project competition THE INVENTION OF THE LIVING ROOM won the Texas Nonprofit Theatres' 2014 New Play Project competition; previously it was a Finalist (First Runner-Up) for the 2012 Blue Ink Playwriting Award given by the American Blues Theater (Chicago), and chosen for the Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Playfest! The Harriet Lake Festival of New Plays; HAMILTON, a tragedy about Alexander Hamilton and his son, was a semi-finalist for the 2012 National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and a Finalist for the T. Schreiber Studio's 2012 New Works project; PLEASE LOCK ME AWAY -- a dark comedy about an older woman’s unusual revenge on two adolescent boys who had publicly humiliated her -- was a Finalist for the Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas) 2014 New Works competition; MOSES, THE AUTHOR, a comedy, was produced at the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival, chosen for the Fringe Encore Series and also for the Orlando Shakespeare Theater's Playfest! 2014.
Andrew's one-act plays have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, Miami, Denver, Albuquerque and elsewhere; they include the award-winning comedy THE FQ (about obscenity and cable TV), published in Smith & Kraus's THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS, 2011; the award-winning comedy THE BAR MITZVAH OF JESUS GOLDFARB (“Judges’ Choice" and “Audience Choice” for Best Play at the 2011 New York City 15-Minute Play Festival; Finalist, 2018 National Award for Short Playwriting); and the award-winning drama MASHA: CONDITIONS IN THE HOLY LAND, the Jury Prize Winner for Best Script (748 scripts submitted) at the Fusion Theatre Company's 2012 Short Play Festival and a Finalist (30 finalists of 900 scripts submitted) for the Samuel French 2013 Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival.
Andrew Heinze belongs to the Dramatists Guild of America and PEN and holds degrees from Amherst College (B.A. Magna Cum Laude) and the University of California, Berkeley (M.A., Ph.D.).
Productions, Presentations, Publications, Awards & Honors
(in reverse chronological order)
MOSES, THE AUTHOR -- Finalist (6 finalists out of 300+ submissions), The Hive Collaborative (Provo UT) Inaugural New Play Festival, 2018
HALLIE THE FIRST (an adaptation of Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare) 2018
GREAT ROLES FOR OLD ACTRESSES -- public developmental reading, HB Studio (NYC), May 10, 2017
DELETING DAD -- Second Round Qualifier (20% of 538 entries), Austin Film Festival Playwrights Competition, 2017
THE INVENTION OF THE LIVING ROOM -- Finalist, Palm Beach Dramaworks 2017 New Works Competition
DELETING DAD -- Winner, Texas NonProfit Theatres’ 2016 POPS! New Play Project competition (World Premiere, forthcoming, Bastrop Opera House)
MOSES, THE AUTHOR -- public reading, Theatre Harrisburg 2016 New Works Festival, Sept 6-10, 2016
THE HEARTBREAKING EXIT OF PHILIP HAMILTON -- public reading, Sept 26, 2015, NYC
DELETING DAD -- developmental reading directed by Austin Pendleton, NYC, Feb 7, 2015
THE INVENTION OF THE LIVING ROOM -- Winner, Texas Nonprofit Theatres’ 2014 New Play Project competition (World Premiere, Tyler Civic Theatre, Nov 15-18, 2014)
MOSES, THE AUTHOR -- public reading, Playfest: The Harriet Lake Festival of New Plays, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Nov 1, 2014
THE INVENTION OF THE LIVING ROOM -- public reading, the Queens Theatre (NYC), Oct 18, 2014
MOSES, THE AUTHOR -- produced, World Premiere, at the New York International Fringe Festival, Aug 10-23, 2014 and the Fringe Encore Series, Sept 26-Oct 5, 2014
PLEASE LOCK ME AWAY -- Finalist, Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas) 2014 New Works competition
MOSES, THE AUTHOR -- developmental reading, March 9, 2014 (NYC)
PLEASE LOCK ME AWAY -- public reading, the HB Studio (NYC), May 18-19, 2013
HAMILTON -- Semi-Finalist, 2012 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference
HAMILTON -- Finalist (7 finalists out of 132 submissions), the T. Schreiber Studio (NYC), 2012 New Works Project
THE INVENTION OF THE LIVING ROOM -- Finalist (Runner-Up, out of 484 submissions), 2012 Blue Ink Playwriting Award, American Blues Theater, Chicago
THE INVENTION OF THE LIVING ROOM -- workshop reading, Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota, February 20, 2012
THE INVENTION OF THE LIVING ROOM -- public reading, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Playfest! The Harriet Lake Festival of New Plays, November 3-6, 2011
TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN (2007)
THE BAR MITZVAH OF JESUS GOLDFARB -- National Award for Short Playwriting, Finalist (31 Finalists chosen from 700+ scripts), City Theatre,
WOULD YOU LIKE A TISSUE? -- to be produced, New Jersey Rep, Theatre Brut Festival, Sept 2018
DRIVING TO FLORIDA -- radio version, to be produced, Petaluma Radio Players, Spring/Summer 2018
THE BAR MITZVAH OF JESUS GOLDFARB -- public reading, City Theatre, Miami FL, "City Reads" April 16, 2018
THE THING WITH ALGO INSIDE -- produced, The New American Theatre, Festival of New American One-Act Plays, Los Angeles, Apr 30-May 14, 2017
THE BAR MITZVAH OF JESUS GOLDFARB -- 5th Annual New Moon Short Play Reading Series, Luna Stage (NJ), May 15-17, 2017
The FQ -- produced, State University of New York–Potsdam (B.F.A. Student Directing project), Nov 17-20, 2016
DRIVING TO FLORIDA -- produced, Warner International Playwrights Festival, Warner Theatre, Torrington CT, Oct 13-15, 2016
THE FQ -- produced (revival), The New American Theatre, "Best of the Best" One-Act Play Festival, Los Angeles, Feb 8-Mar 8, 2015
WHAT IT TAKES TO GET THINGS DONE IN WASHINGTON -- produced, City Theatre of Independence (MO), July 10-13, 2014
THE FQ -- produced (revival), The New American Theatre, One-Act Play Festival, Los Angeles, June 1-8, 2014
THE FQ -- produced, Metropolitan State University, Denver (B.F.A. Student Directing project), April 2014
MASHA: CONDITIONS IN THE HOLY LAND -- produced, University of West Georgia (B.F.A. Student Directing project), April 2014
DRIVING TO FLORIDA -- Semi-Finalist, 2014 LaBute New Theater Festival, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
MASHA: CONDITIONS IN THE HOLY LAND -- published, BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS, 2013 (Independent Play(w)rights, 2014 e-book)
MASHA: CONDITIONS IN THE HOLY LAND -- produced (30 scripts chosen out of more than 800 submissions), 38th Annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, The Clurman Theater, Theatre Row, NYC, July 23-28, 2013
DRIVING TO FLORIDA -- Finalist (15 finalists out of 343 submissions), Drury University One-Act Playwriting Competition, Springfield MO, April 2013
THE BURT & SAMI SHOW -- Semi-Finalist, the 2013 LaBute New Theater Festival, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
THE INVENTION OF THE LIVING ROOM*** -- produced, Metropolitan Playhouse (NYC) short play festival East Side Stories, April 15-May 5, 2013
MASHA: CONDITIONS IN THE HOLY LAND -- produced, 19th Annual New York City 15-Minute Play Festival, American Globe Theatre, April 22-May 4, 2013
MASHA: CONDITIONS IN THE HOLY LAND -- produced, Student Directing Program, Department of Theater, Bates College (Lewiston, ME), November 13-December 4, 2012
THE FQ -- published, THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS, 2011 (Smith & Kraus, 2012)
MASHA: CONDITIONS IN THE HOLY LAND -- produced, and Jury Prize Winner, Best Script (out of 748 submissions), Fusion Theatre Company’s 2012 Short Play Festival, “The Seven,” Albuquerque, NM, June 7-10, 2012
The FQ -- produced, The New American Theatre, 2012 One-Act Play Festival, Los Angeles, May 13-June 17, 2012
THE NUDE SCENE -- produced, 18th Annual New York City 15-Minute Play Festival, American Globe Theatre, April 26, 2012
THE BAR MITZVAH OF JESUS GOLDFARB -- public reading, 5th Annual Jewish Short Play Competition, Boca Raton, FL, March 31-April 1, 2012
IT'S TERRIBLE WHAT WE DO FOR LOVE -- produced, “Compromising Situations: An Evening of Short Plays,” the 45th Street Theater, January 12-14, 2012
THE BAR MITZVAH OF JESUS GOLDFARB -- produced, Student Directing Program, Lab Theatre, University of Texas (Austin), November 18-20, 2011
THE BAR MITZVAH OF JESUS GOLDFARB -- produced, and Winner, Judges' Choice, Best Play; Winner, Audience Choice, Best Play; 17th Annual New York City 15-Minute Play Festival, American Globe Theatre, April 25-May 7, 2011
THE FQ -- produced, the Depot Theater, Garrison, NY, Aery Theater Company 2010 One-Act Play Festival, September 10-19, 2010
THE BAR MITZVAH OF JESUS GOLDFARB -- produced, Stone Soup Theatre, One-Act Play Festival, Seattle, May 13-16, 2010
THE FQ -- produced, and Winner, Audience Choice, Best Play; Honorable Mention, Judges' Choice, Best Play, 16th Annual New York City 15-Minute Play Festival, American Globe Theatre, April 19-May 1, 2010
ADAM NAMES THINGS IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN -- produced, Spare Change Theater (NYC) “In A New York Minute” Play Festival, April 9-10, 2010
THE BAR MITZVAH OF JESUS GOLDFARB -- Finalist, 9th Annual 10x10 Festival, the Arts Center, Carrboro, NC, May 2010
THE INVENTION OF THE LIVING ROOM -- produced, the HB Studio Theater, Annual One-Act Festival, December 4-21, 2009
THE INVENTION OF THE LIVING ROOM -- a speech from the full-length play, published in THE BEST WOMEN’S STAGE MONOLOGUES, 2015 by Smith & Kraus.
WHY I LOVE TO EXERCISE -- monologue produced in "One Match: A Monologue Night" by Blowout Theatre Company, NYC, June 4, 2016
*** THE INVENTION OF THE LIVING ROOM is the title of both a one-act play and the full-length play that developed out of it.
Ph.D. History (U.S.), University of California, Berkeley (1987)
M.A. History (U.S.), University of California, Berkeley (1980)
B.A. History, Magna Cum Laude, Amherst College (1977)
Professor of American History, University of San Francisco (2002-06)
Associate Professor of American History, University of San Francisco (1997-2002)
Director, Swig Judaic Studies Program, USF (1997-2006)
Assistant Professor of American History, University of San Francisco (1995-97)
Adjunct & Visiting Professor of American History, University of San Francisco (1993-95)
Research Associate, University of California, Berkeley (1991-92)
Visiting Professor of American History, University of California, Berkeley (1990-91)
Visiting Professor of American History, University of California Davis (1989-90)
Visiting Professor of American History, San Jose State University (1988-89)
AWARDS & HONORS
Belin Lecturer, University of Michigan, 2007
Nemer Lecturer, University of Southern California, 2006
Jacob Rader Marcus Memorial Lecture, Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2006
Mary Whiton Calkins Lecturer, Society for the History of Psychology, 2005
Invited Lecturer, American Studies, History & Psychology, University of New Hampshire, 2003
Ignatian Faculty Service Award, University of San Francisco, 2003
Pew Senior Fellow, Center for Religion and American Life at Yale, 2002-03
Maurice Friedman Lecturer, San Diego State University, 2002
Shaol Pozes Memorial Lecturer, University of Arizona, 2001
Invited Lecturer, Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion, Yale University, 2000
Lucius N. Littauer Foundation Grant, 2000
John C. Livingston Memorial Lecturer, University of Denver, 1999
Aaron Kriwitsky Young Scholar Lecturer, University of Hartford, 1997
Hannah Levy Memorial Lecturer, University of Denver, 1996
Loewenstein-Wiener Fellowship, American Jewish Archives, 1992
Lucius N. Littauer Foundation Grant, 1992
Meritorious Performance and Professional Promise Award, San Jose State University, 1988-89
Lucius N. Littauer Foundation Grant, 1988
Max Farrand Fellowship, UC Berkeley, 1984
Eugene McCormac Fellowship, UC Berkeley, 1983
Rabbi Harvey B. Franklin Memorial Fellowship, American Jewish Archives, 1982
Bodman Foundation (N.J.) Scholarship, 1973-1977, Amherst College
ADAPTING TO ABUNDANCE: JEWISH IMMIGRANTS, MASS CONSUMPTION AND THE SEARCH FOR AMERICAN IDENTITY (Columbia University Press, 1990)
JEWS AND THE AMERICAN SOUL: HUMAN NATURE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (Princeton University Press, 2004)
* Finalist, 2005 National Jewish Book Award (category: American Jewish History)
** Finalist, 2004 Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute Book Award
***Named one of the “Best Books of 2004” by Publishers Weekly
COLLABORATIVE AUTHORSHIP, BOOKS
One of eight authors of Race and Ethnicity in America: A Concise History (Columbia University Press, 2003) and the Columbia Documentary History of Race and Ethnicity in America (Columbia University Press, 2004)
“Schizophrenia Americana: Aliens, Alienists and the ‘Personality Shift’ of Twentieth-Century Culture,” American Quarterly 55 (June 2003), 227-56.
“Peace of Mind (1946): Judaism and the Therapeutic Polemics of Postwar America,” Religion and American Culture 12 (Winter 2002), 31-58.
“Jews and American Popular Psychology: Reconsidering the Protestant Paradigm of Popular Thought,” Journal of American History 88 (Dec. 2001), 950-78.
“But is it History? World of Our Fathers as a Historicized Text,” American Jewish History 88 (Dec. 2000), 495-510.
“Clare Boothe Luce and the Jews: A Chapter from the Catholic-Jewish Disputation of Postwar America,” American Jewish History 88 (Sept. 2000), 361-76.
“The Americanization of Mussar: Abraham Twerski’s Twelve Steps,” Judaism 48 (Fall 1999), 450-69.
"The First Mass Market Rabbi," Midstream: A Monthly Jewish Review (June/July 1996), 14-17.
"Judaism and the Therapeutic," The Reconstructionist 61 (March 1996), 27-35.
"The Morality of Reservation: Western Lands in the Cleveland Period, 1885-1897," Journal of the West 31 (July 1992), 81-89.
"'A Department Store on Wheels': Jewish Street Peddlers and Mass Consumption in New York City, 1880-1914," American Jewish Archives 41 (Fall/Winter 1989), 199-214.
“The Political Economy of Mass Consumption,” review of Lizabeth Cohen, “A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America” and Ann Satterthwaite, “Going Shopping: Consumer Choices and Community Consequences,” Journal of Urban History (May 2006).
"Sacrifestivals: On Christianity and Mass Consumption in America," review of Leigh Eric Schmidt, "Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays," Reviews in American History 24 (Dec 1996), 668-75.
"Mass Consumption, Schmass Consumption: On Jewish Things and American Popular Culture," review of Jenna Weissman Joselit, "The Wonders of America: Reinventing American Jewish Culture, 1880-1950," Reviews in American History 24 (March 1996), 73-83.
Abridged version of “Peace of Mind (1946): Judaism and the Therapeutic Polemics of Postwar America,” in Jack Kugelmass, ed. Key Texts in American Jewish Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2003), 225-43.
“Jewish Women and the Making of an American Home,” (chapter reprint from Adapting to Abundance) in Jennifer Scanlon, ed., Gender and Consumer Culture Reader (New York University Press, 2000), 19-29.
“From Scarcity to Abundance: The Immigrant as Consumer,” (chapter reprint from Adapting to Abundance) in Lawrence Glickman, ed., Consumer Society in American History: A Reader (Cornell University Press, 1999), 190-206.
"Adapting to Abundance: Luxuries, Holidays and Jewish Identity," (chapter reprint from Adapting to Abundance), in Jonathan D. Sarna, ed. The American Jewish Experience, 2nd edition (Holmes and Meier, 1997), 166-84.
"'A Department Store on Wheels': Jewish Street Peddlers and Mass Consumption in New York City, 1880-1914," in Jeffrey S. Gurock, ed. American Jewish History (Carlson, 1996).
CONTRIBUTIONS TO EDITED VOLUMES
“Popular Psychology,” in St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture 5 vols. (Farmington Hills, MI, 2000), v. 4, 90-92 – 3,000 words
"Advertising and Consumer Culture," for Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia 2 vols. (Carlson, 1997), v. 1, 23-32 – 6,000 words
"Morris Adler," "Joseph Proskauer," "Morris Lazaron," "James Warburg," for American National Biography (Oxford UP, 1998)
"Ida Cohen Rosenthal," in European Immigrant Women in the United States:1800 to the Present (Garland, 1994)
Eli Lederhendler, “New York Jews and the Decline of Urban Ethnicity, 1950-1970” Studies in Contemporary Jewry (forthcoming, 2004)
Marilyn Halter, “Shopping for Identity: The Marketing of Ethnicity,” Journal of American Ethnic History (Spring 2002)
Jeffrey Melnick, “A Right to Sing the Blues: African Americans, Jews, and American Popular Song,” Journal of American History (March 2002)
Hasia Diner, “Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration,” American Jewish History (Dec. 2001)
Mitchell B. Hart, “Social Science and the Politics of Modern Jewish Identity,” American Historical Review (June 2001)
Phil Brown, “Catskill Culture,” Business History Review (Spring 2001)
Stephen Whitfield, “In Search of American Jewish Culture,” Journal of American History (Dec. 2000)
Donna Gabaccia, “We Are What We Eat: Ethnic Food and the Making of Americans,” American Historical Review (Dec. 1999)
Steven Katz, ed. “American Rabbi: Life and Thought of Jacob Agus” & “The Essential Agus,” Association for Jewish Studies Review (Fall 1999)
Ron Chernow, "The Warburgs," American Historical Review (Dec. 1995)
Frederic Cople Jaher, "A Scapegoat in the New Wilderness: The Origins and Rise of Anti-Semitism in America," American Historical Review (Dec. 1995)
Shelly Tenenbaum, "A Credit to Their Community: Jewish Loan Societies in the United States," Journal of American History (Dec. 1994)
Peter Levine, "From Ellis Island to Ebbets Field: Sport and the American Jewish Experience," Journal of American History (Dec. 1993)
Jacob Marcus, "United States Jewry, 1776-1985," Journal of American History (Sept. 1991)
PAPERS, PANELS, ADDRESSES
“Jews and the American Soul,” (featured speaker, Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture, Leipzig, 2005)
“Jews and the American Soul,” (keynote address, Society for the History of Psychology, Washington D.C. 2005)
“Jews and the American Soul: Reflections on the 350th Anniversary of Jewish Life in America,” (University of Hawaii – Manoa, 2005)
Commentator: “The Ghetto Revisited: The Reappraisal of a Concept” (Organization of American Historians, San Francisco, 2005)
“God's Partners or God's Servants? ‘Democratic Judaism’ versus ‘Autocratic Christianity’
in American Popular Theology” (American Academy of Religion, San Antonio, 2004)
“The Crisis of Relevance for American Jewish History: Toward 2054” (Sixth Scholars’ Conference in American Jewish History, Washington D.C., 2004)
“Aliens, Alienists and the Shift from 'Character' to 'Personality' in 20th-Century America" (University of New Hampshire, 2003)
Commentator: “Jews, Jewishness and the History of 20th-Century Psychology” (History of
Science Society, Cambridge, 2003)
“Farther From New York: Jews in the Humanities after World War II,” Conference -- The Humanities and the Dynamics of Inclusion (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2003)
Panel Chair, “Consuming is Believing: Consumer Culture and Religious Identity in the United States in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” (American Historical Association, Chicago, 2003)
“Assimilation and Psychic Pain: Construction of an American Cultural Category,” Conference --The Problem of Pain in Medicine, Culture, and Public Policy (Rutgers University, 2002)
“The Entrance of Martin Buber and Erich Fromm into American Culture” (Western Jewish Studies Association, Orinda, 2002)
“Psychoanalyzing America: How Jews Changed American Thought in the Twentieth Century,” Maurice Freedman Lecture (San Diego State University, 2002)
“The Hidden Ethnicity of American Psychological Thought: 1886-2000” (Association for Jewish Studies, Washington D.C., 2001)
Commentator: “The Many Audiences of the Lower East Side” (Organization of American Historians, Los Angeles, 2001)
“Psychoanalyzing America: How Jews Changed American Thought in the Twentieth Century,” Shaol Pozez Memorial Lecture (University of Arizona, 2001)
“Jews and the Triumph of the Therapeutic: Reconsidering the Protestant Paradigm of American Culture,” Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion (Yale University, 2000)
“But Is it History? World of Our Fathers as a Historicized Text,” Fourth Scholars’ Conference in American Jewish History (Denver, 2000)
“Peace of Mind: The Jewish Inspirational Classic that Rocked Postwar America,” Conference -- Key Texts in American Jewish Culture (Arizona State University, 2000)
“Jews and the Genesis of American Popular Psychology” (American Historical Association, Chicago, 2000)
“Healing the American Soul: Rabbi Joshua Liebman and the First Jewish Best-Seller in History (after the Bible),” John C. Livingston Memorial Lecture (University of Denver, 1999)
“Judaism Confronts Psychology” (Oxford Centre for Hebrew & Jewish Studies, 1998)
“Mass Consumption in a Den of Poverty: Images and Realities of Material Life on the Lower East Side,” Conference – Remembering the Lower East Side (New York University, 1998)
“The Challenge of Abundance: Perils and Possibilities for American Jews,” Aaron Kriwitsky Young Scholar Lecture (University of Hartford, 1997)
“The War, Psychological Healing, and Jewish Assimilation” (Immigration History Society, New York City, 1997)
"‘Crimes ... of Such Peculiar Horror': Theodore Roosevelt, the Jews, and the Language of Human Rights” (American Historical Association, New York City, 1997)
"From Meydls to Magnates: Jewish Women as Pioneers in American Business,” Hannah Levy Memorial Lecture (University of Denver, 1996)
“Jews and the American Soul: Psychologists, Rabbis, and the Development of an American Therapeutic Culture” (Scholars' Conference in American Jewish History, New York City, 1996)
“Boston's Jewish Soul-Healers and the American Therapeutic Culture” (American Jewish Historical Society, San Francisco, 1995)
“Facing the 21st Century with Teddy Roosevelt” (60-Plus Seniors' Org., San Francisco, 1995),
“Abundance and Power: The Case of the Jewish Immigrant Woman” (University of Maryland, 1993)
“Rabbi Joshua Loth Liebman and the American Quest for ‘Peace of Mind’” (Hebrew Union College, 1992)
“‘A Dove Among the Ruins’: American Transcendentalism and the Thought of José Martí” (American Historical Association, San Francisco, 1989)
“American Advertising in the Yiddish Press, 1888-1914” (Popular Culture Association, New Orleans, 1988)
LANGUAGES OF SCHOLARLY RESEARCH
Spanish, Yiddish, Hebrew, German, Ladino
and . . .
Now that we’ve gotten the formal business out of the way, the question arises, Who is the man behind the resume, the living, breathing person behind the names and dates?
Answer is under construction.
Meanwhile, I can tell you this --
I’ve held jobs in many fields, yet I’m not a polymath. And why? Because the lexicographers decided that “polymath” had to include certain arbitrarily determined abilities and not others. To them I say: Read what follows and reconsider your criteria:
1) electrician’s apprentice (winner: The Most Shocked Teenager in New Jersey Award, with special commendation for my work in the installation of 220-volt circuit breakers)
4) waiter (celebrities I served: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward and their daughter who now runs Newman’s Own and who I think liked me but I let the opportunity slip between my fingers, which is why I’m not making salad dressing right now; Gregory Peck. footnote: Bill Cosby, who lived near the restaurant I worked at in Amherst, MA, came into the bar but I only handed him a drink while I was waiting to pick up an order, and told him I had an idea for a sitcom about an African American psychiatrist and his sophisticated family)
5) auto-body repair (I operated the electric sander, lowest job on the auto-body totem pole and THE most boring in the world)
6) assistant counselor at a group home for teenage wards of the state of CA (oy; talk about NOT making a difference)
7) taxi driver (in Richmond CA. Life lessons learned: Do not drive a taxi in Richmond CA)
8) gas station attendant (this was before the Era of Self-Serve; the job was actually kind of fun; something about being master of the pump; also I did it for a while, not for the rest of my life)
9) high school teacher, English and Spanish
10) graduate student instructor (meaning I was a graduate student, not that I taught graduate students; the shorthand for this job is T.A. -- Teaching Assistant, the person to whom unsuspecting parents entrust their children for many class hours per week so that the professors to whom they pay large sums of money can avoid the SECOND most boring job in the world (after operating the electric sander in an auto-body shop): grading papers.
And all this between the ages of 17 and 32. Eat your heart out, Wolfgang Amadeus.
award-winning author & playwright