It’s a Photon Deal

My old man had a nineteen eighty-something Cadillac Seville. He loved that car. I wasn’t a big fan. It was bulky and had leather seats and whenever it reached a speed over 23mph, the wind would create a whistle that flew through some unknown parts of the frame and engine and could be heard for miles.

A 1980 Cadillac Seville

Most of the time that was a good thing. We knew when dad was coming home. But when you were in it, it was very annoying. It was as if your ears were ringing all the time. No wonder I like wearing headphones so much.

On this day, I was currently in the back of the car, crying. Pitching a fit. Throwing a tantrum. Being a kid. Dad had huge plans for us…we were going to this new place called Photon: a place where you can shoot each other with lasers. We’d always been close to our dentist, who was a family friend and always up-to-date on the latest fads.

Well. I didn’t want to go. Hence the fit. I wanted to stay with mom and not do this thing.Honestly, I remember being pretty scared. Television and my toys and my house seemed a lot better to me than going to this high-tech building with people and kids I didn’t know that well.

I couldn’t help but thinking of this story over the weekend at Comic-Con International: San Diego.  There I was with my own son, who has never missed a Comic-Con in his entire life.  Granted, he’s four…but still.  I know plenty of people who have NEVER been to SDCC.

And he was nervous.  He was scared.  He liked the comfort of his own house and hot wheels and legos.  The trolley filled with Supermen, White Walkers, and Freddy Krugers wasn’t exactly what he wanted to see as I shuffled him out of the house at 8:30.  Everyone should be still sleeping at 8:30, but he’s face to face with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at the train station.

My mom and dad put their foot down. “You have to go.  This is a fun activity that your dad has worked hard for.  You’re going to have fun”.  I protested the entire way to Photon.  The memories are faded, but the car ride seemed to be the longest and loneliest I’ve ever experienced.  When we pulled up and it was time to go inside, I was furious.

The voice-over for the trolley said “Next stop: Convention Center. Convention Center is next.”  In his Captain America shirt, he worked up the courage to ask in a timid voice: “Daddy? Is this our stop?”

Trolley ride. We could have just a few laps on this.

“Yeah buddy. Let’s go to comic-con.”  We’d been down here just 14 hours previous, checking out all the Harley Quinn’s and fun things to do without a pass.  We did a scavenger hunt with The Tick, and he found enough clues inside the room to earn the title of “The Muscle”.

Photon scared the hell out of me.  I still don’t know why.  It was just this huge complex with two floors, the top one being the only one I could set foot in.  I was too small and too young to be running around with 200lb musicians and dentists, shooting lasers at one another.  Shocking.

But my memories of that second floor were paradise.  Since the dentist is, well, a doctor, he comped me and the other kids unlimited laser fire from the second level. So basically we were Ed Harris shooting at Michael Biehn from The Rock for a few hours.

The game floor at Photon.  Photo from

And I loved it.  Dad couldn’t pull me away from that place, and I ran back inside the house to tell my mom all about it.

That’s what coined the phrase, “It’s A Photon Deal”. It was something I was terrified of doing, and I ended up loving it.

I was scared to apply at Knott’s Scary Farm. I ended up working there for 10 years. I was terrified to take a job in the ESPN Zone corporate office. I traveled the country.  I gave up everything to be a whale trainer, and I found a family.  #aphotondeal

As Reznor and I set foot into the showroom floor with our badges, bags, and smiles, he got nervous with all the people and the noise.  He got impatient with the lines. But once we got in, I had to chase him around.  He played with *their* Legos and Hot Wheels. He picked out two original prints he liked from an artist. And even though he was shy in the beginning, by the end of the day he was giving high fives to the Night King from GOT.  I smiled knowing that my dad had been in the exact position with me. So I called this our first Photon Deal.

My friends and family and colleagues have been very kind to me.  They enjoy my writing, and have told-nope-forced me to write more. But I need to be honest: this scares the hell of me.  A website. A blog. A new podcast.  I don’t want to do it.

I feel like crying in the back of a Cadillac (although the back of any car will do). The scenario would even be consistent: my mom is telling me that I MUST do this. But I don’t wanna.

But then my dad told me: “Hey, it’s A Photon Deal.”

Okay, old man. Start dodging these lasers.

Follow me on twitter at @aphotondeal

7 thoughts on “It’s a Photon Deal

  1. Hey Mike – this looks good. a few pieces of constructive criticism (not based on content or story)-
    *make sure you’re reading and re-reading this at least 5 times. i happened upon a few grammatical errors.
    i’d also consider resizing the photos that you include. sometimes if the photos are too small, it draws your attention away from the story because they look slightly out of place.

    That being said, this looks great! ❤


    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is about time! Your writing always evokes such emotion in your readers. We are so proud of you. Couldn’t ask for a better role model for Izzy. I never want her fear to stop her from doing what she is meant to do. We believe in you! Only criticism… Can you enlarge the smaller pictures?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very inspiring, Michael. Great that you are willing to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, which is one factor in having incredible breakthroughs in life, which you have. Great that you are carrying this to the next gen. Reminds me of the mindset of one of the Navy Seals or NFL players on our development team. You will definitely not be a racehorse on a carousel:)


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