Behind The Man

I was born on March 5, 1989 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Fla., the first child of Joan and Jay Pruner. About the time I was entering preschool, my family moved out to a budding suburban community known as Brandon, Fla., a town that used to be known more for its cows than its people. I have called it home ever since.

Ever since I was little, stories have been a huge part of my life. I learned how to read from the newspaper (I wish I could be a badass and say front page of the New York Times but it was the football section of the St. Pete Times sports page). While fellow classmates slept during nap-time in kindergarten, I would raid the teacher’s bookshelf, throwing down any string of words and pictures I could put my grubby hands on. I would be the kid who, when called on to read during class, would give the characters distinct voices and inflections.

Growing up, I wasn’t the grand catch of Darwinian selection—I was out of shape, unathletic and cared more about sports and history than girls and the latest fashions. I would’ve probably been swallowed up in obscurity had I not possessed one talent—my writing. For me, Microsoft Word was my canvas—I had the power to create anything I wanted with a few touches of the keypad and a stroke of imagination. I went out of my way to make sure that everything—even a one page blurb on the historical significance of Flag Day—was better and more creative than everyone else’s. It often got me into trouble in school (i.e. drafting a “Declaration of Independence” from my 5th grade teacher and writing a screenplay for a religious figures’ WrestleMania.)

From 2003-7, I attended Tampa Jesuit High School, a small, Roman Catholic, all-boys school run by the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuit Order. Before I got to the school, adults and peers would constantly tell me “wait ‘til those Jesuit’s get a hold of you, they’re going to REALLY make you a man,” and “You think you write well, just wait and see what the Jesuits will show you.” I did what any snot-nosed teenager would do, scoff and downplay. However, it would really be during high school where I found my passion to write. The teachers, especially my English ones, would constantly challenge me to outperform my previous assignments and would never let me fall for the trap of complacency. I have a lot to owe them for the student and person that I’ve become.

After a lot of hard work (yes I actually did somewhat try in high school), personal drive and what I suspect to be a computer glitch in the application pool, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to the University of Florida. Currently I am in my third year and I am studying journalism. In my spare time, I work as a staff writer for the Independent Florida Alligator, the largest student-run newspaper in the country, covering the city of Gainesville and all its magical happenings, as well as play on two intramural teams, serve as commissioner for my fantasy football and go out on weekends and do things that would not be approved of by most church bodies.

I think in terms of my life, I’ve have a great setup. I have a neat family, a very supportive core of friends, a job that I really enjoy and I get to go to school ( one that is a ridiculous bargain) to learn how to write. Although I do have my share of bad days, I still think at the end of the day, I got away with a steal.