PEOPLE WE SEE: Meet Darren Gannon

In this feature, the Club introduces you to people you see every day, but you might not know who they are. The Club reminds you that we all have names and stories to tell.

Name: Darren Gannon
Age: 34.
Place of birth: Woodland Hills.
Family life: “I got along good with my parents.” He has two sisters.
Darren Gannon

Growing up: “It was not easy. I grew up with a severe speech problem. After the age of 21, my father told me a few times that at the age of 10 he could not understand me. I was in a college class and asked a teacher a question three times. Each time he could not understand me. So I just stopped. It was very difficult.”

Misunderstood: “When I was young, people actually thought I was retarded, and then I thought I was. I actually did not start believing that possibly I wasn’t until after high school. It was not easy.”

Most prized possession: “My brain, my perceived ability to be open, to try to be as nonjudgmental as possible.”

Favorite TV shows growing up: “I liked a lot of different shows, everything from ‘The Brady Bunch’ and ‘CHiPS’ to ‘The Dukes of Hazzard.’ A lot of police and detective shows.”

Favorite place in the City: “Parks. They’re calming, relaxing, spiritual places.”

Passion for music: “I like music, a lot of different stuff. Basically, the faster the better, although I like slower music. The first band I liked was Rush. I like everything from Iron Maiden, Metallica and Megadeth, which I realize can be very angry music. I do have a certain amount of anger, but angry music can sometimes calm me down.
“I went to concerts. Something I like about the music is that I found that a lot of those people had the same attitudes about the rest of things in society.”

Judgment: “Because I have mental disabilities, I grew up differently. Because I grew up differently, people passed judgments. After they pass judgments, they tell other people, so rumors get started. And before long, it just becomes a whirlwind of untruths. When one person of a certain social standing says something, they’re very likely to be believed.
“It’s very easy to judge people, especially without talking to them.”

God: “I got a bad reputation from a church, of all places, because religion involves other people. Those other people did not understand my problems. I am spiritual more than religious. A lot of the self-help books [I read] go in a spiritual direction. This is how God made me. I try to deal with it the best that I can.”

Make a wish: “World peace.”

Advice for everyday people: “Have fun, relax, don’t stress, enjoy life.”

The interview was conducted by guest interviewer Shawn Dworkin in October 2019 near the Northridge Recreation Center.