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Hello, I'm Aaron Johnston. I always like to know a bit about the person whose opinion I'm reading. Perhaps you feel the same. In any case, here's the down and dirty on me.
I grew up in the Deep South. My pre-teen years were spent in rural Alabama, catching crawfish and eating wild blackberries.
It was cotton country, so many of the older kids drove their four-wheelers and tractors to school. And by "older" I don't necessarily mean old enough to drive legally.
My sister and I took the bus. Our driver was an elderly gentleman in desperate need of some dental work and prone to taking sharp curves at dangerous speeds. Whenever he shouted, "Watch this, y'all," the few events of our brief lives flashed before our eyes.
We moved to North Carolina before I entered high school. I spent much of my free time there making home movies with my younger siblings. Our Indiana Jones film includes a scene of my then four-year-old brother accidently whipping me across the face.
It's a family classic.
At BYU I joined an improv comedy troupe called The Garrens - named respectfully after Sister Garren, a dorm mother at Deseret Towers. We performed weekly shows on campus, doing sketch comedy and improvisational theater games.
After a year of college I served a mission in Venezuela. It was a wonderful, life-altering experience.
When I got back, I taught at the MTC for a few years. I enjoyed my time there immensely. If I could have made a career out of it, I would have.
Back at BYU I met Lauren. She had become a member of The Garrens, and we had a lot of laughs both onstage and off.
She graduated in April of 1999 while I flew off to New York City to fulfill an internship requirement. Absence made the heart grow fonder, and we married in the Orlando Temple that September. Another couple who married there that same day wore Mickey Mouse ears for their wedding photo. Tacky, I thought.
My internship opened a few doors for me. After graduating I took a job as a copywriter at a mid-sized ad agency in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Working in advertising was exciting - even though some of the products I wrote copy for weren't. Which reminds me, if you're hungry for information on horse antibiotics or grass fertilizer, I'm your man.
Lauren and I continued doing theater - thanks to the efforts and encouragement of a dedicated ward cultural-arts specialist. We performed several stage productions with other members of our ward. It was wild fun.
In November of 2002 our son Luke was born. I'm still waiting for the day when he's old enough to understand my telling him, "Luke, I am your father."
I left advertising in the early part of 2003 for a dream job in Los Angeles. I was a producer slash writer slash delivery boy for Taleswapper Inc., a production company headed by some amazingly talented members of the Church: author Orson Scott Card and film director Peter Johnson.
Los Angeles was wonderful. Lauren and I joined another improv group managed by some dear friends of ours from BYU. It was fun to perform with Lauren again. She's incredibly talented.
Our second son Jake was born in 2004. He and Luke are two peas in a pod. Telling him "Jake, I am your father" just isn't the same.
In 2006 we moved back east to Greenville, South Carolina to be closer to family. I currently work as a copywriter for an advertising agency here. The accounts are much better. No more horse antibiotics. The boys love being near their cousins, and Lauren and I cry every night, missing the wonderful LA weather. If you live in Southern California, savor it, my friend. Savor it. The rest of us are living vicariously through you.
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