In the summer of 1984 I was 13 and going into the 8th grade. I spent the summer at my grandparents in Torrance, which is where I was born by the way, and got to hang out with good friends I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. I had been living the past 3 years in Inglewood, lo at one point we had lived right on Crenshaw Blvd. and believe me I could fill a whole blog with stories of the 3 years I lived in Inglewood, but that is not where I was the summer of ’84, so let’s get back to Torrance. That summer was one of my best childhood memories, though I wasn’t really a child anymore, it is more like my first teen memories. I spent most of it running around with friends having fun. We’d take the bus to Del Amo Mall and hang out all day, catching a movie sometimes, we saw Ghost Busters and Gremlins that summer. We’d hang out in donut shops and bowling alleys, smoking cigarettes and talking to girls. We’s go out late at night TPing people’s houses. I even got drunk for the first time, and I mean smashed. The whole summer was a blast for me and something I will blog about again one day, but let’s skip to the chase.
My grandma read the The National Enquirer Magazine, though any one who knows what the Enquirer is knows it isn’t really a magazine but a gossipy newspaper. Anyways, my grandma had a lot of them and I would read some of the articles. Two of them stuck with me for the rest of my life. They were both similar though about different subjects. The first was about the assassination of J.F.K. It listed names of everyone who had been killed due to an ongoing conspiracy. I remember being in awe that something so big as the assassination of a President could be so full of secrets and unknowns even after so many years. I was young and I believed every one of those names listed must have been killed for the cover up. I’m not gonna get into all of that, again maybe another blog. Besides it was the other article that really shook me, and is where I first read the word zero used as a name.
It was an article about Charles Manson and The Family. The article was similar to the J.F.K. one in that it was also about people who had died in connection to The Family and an attempt to silence people. I’m sure most of you who read here are very familiar with the Manson case and have probably read “Helter Skelter”, in the summer of ’84 I knew almost nothing of The Family or had any interest in serial killers, so this article pretty much scared the shit out of me. In fact over the next year with the coming of the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez, serial killers would become a scary thing for everyone I knew, but that too, will have to wait for another post.
While reading that article one of the names stuck out, Zero. It was the nick name of one of the younger Manson Family members (real name is John Philip Haught). In 1969, while in a house filled with other Manson Family members, Zero died while playing russian roulette BY HIMSELF! At least that was the story told by those who were there, police couldn’t ask Zero about it, he was dead. I felt sorry for Zero. And as I said the article and Zero stuck with me.
Skip ahead nine years to the summer of 1993 when I finally read Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. I am no longer 13 years old and knew a little bit more about the “Family” and serial killers. I had seen the movie, Helter Skelter long before then but had not read the book yet. So I picked it up and read the book that began, “The story you are about to read will scare the hell out of you.” I chuckled a little, like I said I was not 13 anymore, I would not be so easily shocked. But it did scare me a little. To day it’s still one of my favorite true crime books. The thing is just scary. Like many cases like these, The Manson case is bizarre and the story of a thief, wanna be rock star, turned serial killer, turned super star has many different craziness to it, and in the book I was reminded of Zero, the kid who played russian roulette with himself and lost in a house full of “Family” Members. I started thinking about the nick name “zero”. Why did he go by it, who gave it to him? To me the name meant so much. It was nothing, but zero was something, and if nothing was something, it was also everything. Sorry to get so deep there, and it would take a little longer to explain that better, but simply put, a complete nothingness is also everything in its existence. It became somewhat of a philosophy for me in my twenty. Everything was nothing and nothing was everything. I know mumbo jumbo, blah, blah, blah. Point is the name zero became sort of symbol for me.
Flash forward a few more years, 1996 or so. I’m in Vegas by now and Zero is popping up everywhere. It’s a skate board company, it’s a song by Smashing Pumpkins, whose lead singer Billy Corgan actually wore a shirt with the word “zero” on it. I had used zero as a nick name a few times up to then, but it was at this point I really started using it. No one really called me it though, not many people I knew wanted to call me zero, so it was just mainly myself who thought of me as zero, but I did get to buy some cool stickers and t-shirts now with my nick name on it.
And finally a few more years later in 1999 while picking out a screen name for my AOL account, zero became permanent, and the rest as they say is history.
Many people now call me zero. At Fright Dome it is mainly what I am known by. Well that and Stranger, but again, that’s another post. Wow this post really set up a bunch of other crap about me I can write about. I bet a few of you like that.
How bout you Nancy? Isn’t that a much better story of how the screen name zero dinh came about. Makes a whole lot more sense then what Dorothy probably told ya. Of course you may still think that this is just some false reality created in the mind of your ex, but I really don’t care, the print is too small for you to read anyways, right?
For everyone else I hope you enjoyed a little more insight to me and my little screen name. It’s not complete but it is all real. I’d had to write my whole life story to explain the whole connection to me and the name zero. Someday I might.