John Lynch pulled up outdoors my condominium in a black BMW 320i, home windows down, bumping Younger Thug. We have been getting KBBQ at Street to Seoul, and I had fretted over my outfit for an inordinate period of time, unwilling to infuse my greatest gown with the scent of smoked meat.
John didn’t share my concern; he wore a cream-colored hoodie adorned with glittery palm timber that appeared prefer it belonged within the discount bin at Goodwill — besides it was Saint Laurent and price $850.
John is a junior majoring in screenwriting. His mother is a highschool English instructor. However the place did his cash come from?
“World of Warcraft,” he defined. “I made all my money gaming.”
John, 22, began enjoying World of Warcraft when he was 10; between 16 and 20, he performed professionally beneath the moniker “Snugglebunny,” streaming video games and competing in tournaments. In 2014, he reached the higher echelon, rating second in your complete U.S.
Across the similar time, he figured he may as properly put his earnings to work and dabbled within the inventory market. He invested in Tesla, and has diversified his portfolio since. Now he shares his closet with Gucci and Golden Goose.
I wouldn’t name him a star, per se, regardless of the notoriety he has accrued as one of many first directors of the “USC Memes for Spoiled Pre-Teens” Fb group. The web page presently boasts a powerful 36,000 members — much more so, contemplating its inception was a mere three years in the past when John was a freshman. Although he wasn’t the unique founder, his heavy involvement was instrumental in its speedy rise to reputation. The banner photograph is of his beloved canine, Daisy.
The memes web page features as a kind of sandbox for John — an opportunity for him to flex his comedic chops, check new materials and hopefully fire up some delicate controversy alongside the best way. His fame as a gleeful polemicist precedes him; some college students have taken offense to his posts that poke enjoyable on the Greek system. However John doesn’t care; he simply thinks it’s humorous.
“There’s a huge part of me that loves to provoke,” he stated. “I don’t have any personal vendetta. I just love trolling people.”
He’s simply one other scholar, actually. However there’s a sure aura that surrounds individuals who crave fame and a spotlight, who, of their pursuit of the limelight, stay life much more boldly and dramatically than me. Are you able to blame me for a couple of first-date jitters?
Fame and fortune
Regardless that he’d been to Street to Seoul a number of occasions, John didn’t know which meats to order. He stated his pals often ordered for him. He knew he favored bulgogi, so we obtained some, and when it arrived he speared it with a fork.
“I don’t know how to use chopsticks,” he stated. “When I eat sushi I pick it up with my hands. Or I use Fun Chops!”
John’s favourite ebook is “The Great Gatsby,” and it’s arduous not to draw parallels between his life and Jay Gatsby’s. In his wildly ostentatious streetwear splendor, John embodies new cash by way of and thru: wide-eyed, unversed within the methods of the world and keen to bask in all positive issues life can supply to somebody in the best tax bracket.
He’s planning to journey solo to Paris this December, his first time leaving the nation. He needs to go everywhere in the world: Australia, Japan, Iceland. For now, although, he racks up frequent flyer factors by jetting residence to New Jersey — enterprise class, in fact.
John drops racks on garments to “try and compensate for [his] low self-esteem.” And that’s simply the tip of the iceberg; his curiosity in psychology has manifested in a mess of self-diagnosed neuroses. He struggles with melancholy and nervousness, stemming from a troubled childhood the place his mother typically left him within the care of his grandparents whereas she dealt with his alcoholic dad.
It’s not sufficient to say that he likes his eggs sunny aspect up; he speculates that he takes satisfaction within the good, intact yolk as a result of his life is the polar reverse. He tends to lust after the unattainable — MILFs or emotionally distant sorority women — due to his “fucked-up upbringing” and his absentee dad, an Oedipal complicated rooted in his thirst for consideration.
“It’s about conditional love,” he surmised. “If you don’t get attention from one of your parents, you’re drawn to people who treat you really nicely one second and then later bail.”
His specific model of self-aware, self-deprecating humor lends itself nicely to stand-up, which he’s been doing for 4 years. However his comedy origins prolong all the best way again to first grade, when he would maintain courtroom in his elementary faculty rest room: “I would have a crowd of people around me, and I would make up really stupid jokes.”
He’s not afraid to get private in his units, partly as a protection mechanism, and partly as a means to distinguish himself from what he calls the “I smoke weed and live in my mom’s basement” comedy crowd. How he misplaced his virginity is a favourite bit, although once I requested him to elucidate, he demurred, insisting that I’ve to catch his act on Nov. 15 to hear the story (to which I agreed).
The stand-up comedy present, happening at Floor Zero Efficiency Cafe, is for charity, in reminiscence of his pal Mckenna Martin, who died from suicide in April.
He additionally jokes about his mind tumor, a pineoblastoma, for which he underwent surgical procedure in 2014, a process that left skinny grooves arcing throughout his scalp. They’re shrouded when his hair is grown out, however when it’s shaved, he employs a rotating forged of baseball caps to keep away from the intrusive ogling.
He’s carried out on and off on the comedy membership UnCabaret, a gig that his screenwriting professor, Robert Ramsey, helped him land. When John was a scholar in his “Intro to Screenwriting” course freshman yr, Ramsey took an instantaneous liking to him, they usually have developed a rapport through the years.
“I had a warm spot in my heart for John Lynch from the get go,” Ramsey stated. “He is nothing if not an iconoclast. If you’re a stickler for authority and demand the right kind of behavior at all times, you’re gonna run into problems with John Lynch.”
His irreverence is each a blessing and a curse. It could get him in hassle, like when he emailed a professor — no caps, no punctuation — about slugging Jack and Coke on the aircraft. However there’s a sure charming attraction, too, to somebody who refuses to genuflect to social conventions. Everybody will get the identical model of him. There isn’t any public or personal persona with John Lynch — what you see is what you get, and he doesn’t care should you don’t like him, as a result of he likes him.
He’s undoubtedly not everybody’s cup of tea both. Ramsey informed me that different professors have requested him for recommendation on how to strategy him. However the choose few with whom he’s developed a relationship all share comparable logos: an insolent humorousness, and a fierce, vehement loyalty, a mirrored image of his personal devotion to the individuals he cares about.
His pal Lili Jenkins described him as “the kind of person when, if you need someone, you’d want him to be there … just the definition of a good friend.” And he and his partner-in-crime, Dylan Rohn, rib one another mercilessly, however finally, they’re ride-or-dies.
“John’s just a kid with his head in the clouds, his heart on his sleeve, a chip on his shoulder and the world in his eyes,” Rohn quipped, earlier than his sardonic tone sobered into earnest affection. “It’s easy to forget sometimes that John is a human being, ’cause he’s such a big personality. He’s like a whirling dervish, in the best way possible.”
Identify in lights
John needed ice cream after KBBQ, so we headed to Jeni’s, an ice cream parlor with hip artisanal flavors. He was stressed, his consideration span a hummingbird, darting from one fascinating factor to the subsequent. He modified his thoughts on the 11th hour and requested for brown butter almond brittle, even after the server already introduced him a scoop of the chocolate-flecked salted peanut butter. Our conversation typically devolved into digression and tangent; as soon as, he put me on maintain to pine over a Labrador retriever within the distance.
There’s no marvel that, when contemplating his future, he’s unwilling to choose a single profession path. When requested the place he sees himself in 5, 10, 20 years, John is a veritable jack-of-all-trades, assured in his means to achieve any enterprise he chooses.
“Five, probably on ‘Saturday Night Live,’” John stated. “Ten, I want an Oscar. For screenwriting, acting … I think I can direct too, ’cause I got good vision. I think I got one really, really good movie in me. I got a good TV show too. And if anyone wants to put me on a track, I think I got one guest feature in me.”
Then, after he’s made his mark on the leisure business, he needs to attempt his hand at politics and “do some good.”
“Maybe it’s naive, but I want to make a difference,” he stated. “Oh, and I want to buy my mom a house.”
Clearly, the child’s acquired massive goals. However for now, his day-to-day routine appears so much like some other 22-year-olds: get up, brush tooth, bathe. He may pop in and say hello to a few of his courses. Or you might discover him enjoying a pick-up recreation on the basketball courtroom, despite the fact that “people on the west coast can’t hoop.” Or perhaps he’ll be placing the ending touches on his screenplay, an autobiographical account of his expertise with most cancers, which he hopes to produce this summer time with Dylan’s assist.
The purpose is: Life is sweet. The longer term is sweet.
A common man
Night time had fallen, and on the experience again, I plucked up the braveness to ask concerning the handicap placard dangling from his rear-view mirror. Was it for his tumor?
“No, it was my dad’s. I just took it after he died,” he stated matter-of-factly.
He rattled off a collection of tragedies he’s weathered, courting again to 2012: John’s grandfather died that November, then his dad died in December 2016, then his grandmother eight months later. After which Mckenna died final April.
“That’s kind of where everything became a bit much for me,” he stated.
The radio blasted 2000s pop punk. The garish, disconsolate lights of Koreatown flashed by. I wasn’t positive what to say — I’m sorry? For what? For being dealt awful arms in life, again and again?
However then John spoke up once more: “I’ve had a great life overall. I would never change anything that’s happened to me. I’m very grateful. I have so many great people who love me. I love USC. I love the world. I have so much love for everything.”
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