I was born in Midland, Michigan, the son of an engineer and a musician. A childhood bouncing from there to upstate New York and eventually Atlanta contributed to my accidentally midwestern accent.
Norse and Midwestern genetics gave me the build of a dumpster and, odd for my family, a discernible neck. Despite this, I eschewed a family tradition of playing football, preferring the Tae Kwon Do dojang and the school theater. I also developed an early habit of voracious reading, often of something besides what I was supposed to be reading at the time.
The end of college saw me with a degree in theater, a love of stage combat, and absolutely no desire to go anywhere near New York or L.A. Fortunately, there was a war on and his secondary talents were needed. Jay became a U.S. Marine, serving as a machine gunner in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
I can't say I was a particularly stellar grunt. Overweight and overeducated, without enough sense to shut up about it. I spent most of my time running the company armory. I did wind up learning a good bit. The biggest being that I was a much better advisor than I was a leader, at least by Marine Corps standards.