It is 1980.
I am at UC Irivne. My Spanish class must write and perform skits in Spanish. I am absent the day of writing/rehearsing. I show up on performance day.
“Okay. What are we doing?”
“We’re doing the trial of a man’s soul before God.”
“OK. What do I play?”
“I’m the judge – that’s God. James is the man whose soul is on trial. Janet is the angel.”
“And I am..?”
She looks at me uncomfortably.
I have long hair, a moustache and a goatee. I have been told that I look like a young Albrecht Durer, the German Renaissance – era painter and printmaker.
“You’re El Diablo. You’re the Devil.”
I am a little disturbed by this.
“Why me? Why do I have to be El Diablo?”
“You weren’t here. I’m sorry. It just worked out this way.”
Then she pauses.
“Besides,” she adds. “You kind of look like the Devil.”
A few hours later, after we have successfully performed our trial en español, I head to my darkroom to develop the day’s photos for the newspaper. A group is gathered in the lobby of KUC across the hall. Several staff members – Vince Han, Michael Becchina, Michael Weinzweig, Jeff Schneidewind, Ken Spears, and others are orienting the newbies like Katrina Nourblin and Christine Suh on the station policies.
Then they begin discussing that most important topic, the ‘air name’ they must select for themselves. Staff members offer suggestions, bantering back and forth. Suddenly, Schneidewind turns to me, where I am watching from what I thought was a safe distance.
“You should be Diablo!” he exclaims.
Wha – WHAT?
I snap back. “WHY?”
He laughs. “You know. Deeble. Diablo.”
Well, that only makes too much sense. It’s actually pretty good. I’m pleased. And relieved.
“Besides,” he adds. “You kind of look like the Devil.”