TERRY: And yet one of the things that’s been so impressive to me, Tim, is not only have you had this intellectual
grounding — which you say comes out of your family —
but you have had this very strong spiritual basis with the
Unitarian church, with your own sense of wildness or
landscape. This is a rumor, but I want to ask: I heard you
were, like, a Born Again Christian?
TIM: At one point, yeah.
TERRY: Talk to me about that.
TIM: I became that way when I was eighteen. My senior year of high school. I’d always been a jock. That was
my identity. And then I had this shoulder problem for a
couple years, and I finally went to the doctor and he told
me that I’d broken my scapula two years earlier.
TERRY: You were a wrestler.
TIM: Yeah. And I played football.
TERRY: Talk about that.
TIM: Oh, I don’t know. That’s not very interesting.
TERRY: I think it’s really interesting. You know, high
school’s a big deal. It helps form you. Wrestling is a
contact sport—not unlike politics. You were really
good at it.
TIM: It’s combat, more than contact.
TERRY: And it’s also mental.
TIM: Mmhmm. I mean it bred a very combative mindset
for me. Something that I struggled against for a while. It
took me a while to recover from that.
TERRY: How so?
TIM: It taught me to look at things from a combative
perspective, and a somewhat violent perspective. It was
a part of myself that I really hated when I was in high
school. I didn’t really like who I was.
TERRY: As a wrestler?
TIM: As a person.
TERRY: Was it anger? I mean, I’ve got three brothers.
And I watched them go through adolescence. And what
you do with that kind of physicality, power, strength, anger, frustration, you know what I mean?
TERRY: I mean, was it that?
TIM: Yeah, somewhat. It was a lot of confusion around
what power and respect are, that I think a lot of young
males struggle with.
TERRY: And where were you living?
TIM: In Pittsburgh.
TERRY: So you’d moved at this point?
TERRY: And, so you’d been told by the doctors that you
had a shoulder problem.
TIM: Yeah, well, basically they took an X-ray and immediately the doctor said, “You’re done. You’re never going to
wrestle again.” Because I’d broken the back of my scapula
that held my shoulder in place. And so it had been sliding
out for two years.
TERRY: And you had to have been in a lot of pain, right?
TIM: Yeah. And all of the soft tissue in my shoulder had
stretched out, so I had to have this huge reconstructive surgery; they basically replaced everything in my
left shoulder. At the end of the day, for my whole high
school career, I’d go to practice. That was what I did.
And it was like the second day after I’d gotten this news
from the doctor that after school I didn’t have anywhere
to go. I just sat in the senior lounge, and there were all
these people kind of wandering around, and I had no
idea what these people did with their lives. Then one of
my teachers, who was a younger guy, sat down next to