I find it hard to remember my younger self. Looking back, I was fairly unremarkable. I was not part of one clique, I had lots of different kinds of friends, I was not miserable. I think I was fairly typical. I went to a boarding school but didn’t board there and did what I had to do. I have warm feelings towards my younger self. I don’t look back on him with any shame or misery.
I suppose I was bookish – I read anything and everything. We had to read Sons and Lovers in class and I didn’t want to but it was great. And Naked Lunch completely freaked me out. And I had an older brother and sister, so I would listen to everything from Brian Eno to weird reggae and ska, Pink Floyd to Joy Division and David Bowie. I was all over the map. I suppose if there is anything that characterises what I was like it is that I was into everything.
Believe it or not I was in the high school swimming team. I was very good. That was the thing that I did. That was my major social group. I wasn’t a big jock kid but I was on a team. And that is mostly what I think about when I look back to high school.
I grew up in a big university, where my dad’s friends were all intellectuals. That is probably why I was so curious. I always imagined I would be a teacher, like most people in both sides of my family going back a few generations. But I wasn’t thinking about the future. I even went through a period of considering going to the naval academy. I don’t know what I was thinking.
I would tell my younger self not to be so shy all the time. I was too shy when it came to romance. I’d tell him, don’t worry, everything will be fine. I’d say: “Have more fun than you are having.” I was about 18 before I got over my shyness.
We are living in a dark age now. Politics is a toxic radiation area.
I was more relaxed as a kid than I am as an adult. Adult concern hits you, life hits you, responsibility hits you. There is more planning now I have a kid. My parents were very good about encouraging us to do things and I try to pass that on. As hard as it might be, make sure you do what you love in life. Fortunately my son doesn’t seem to have any interest in acting. I wouldn’t discourage him but I wouldn’t be thrilled, even though acting has been pretty good for me.