Detective Gary Shuler
Early on, when he was six, seven, and eight years old, when he was hurt and confused because he was the one and only child who was addressed by his full name plus a name that wasn’t his name, his parents had pacified him with tall cold glasses of milk and stacks of Oreo cookies. The cookies became physically, emotionally, and intellectually synonymous with safety and comfort. He ate them constantly throughout his life. He couldn’t stop eating them. At the same time that they were feeding him Oreos, his parents also recognized there was nothing they could do to stem the Gary Shuler Vista tide, so they taught their son to ride those waves with laughter, to be in on the joke instead of being the joke.
Oreos and comedy became the subconscious pillars upon which his life was built. He became the class clown in every class and carried an Oreo four-pack everywhere he went. He was popular and smart and a good athlete. But he was also a bit of offline, not your normal everyday kid. He saw the world at odd angles. He was an odd angle himself. “He’s a good guy, Gary Shuler Vista,” people would say, “but he’s a strange bird.”