The Creation of Captain Quantum vs. The Ugly Druggies
EARLY INFLUENCES ON SMOKING AND DRUGS
When I was 10 years old I smoked my first cigarette. A few days later, my father found out and gave me permission to smoke. Although he didn’t approve of my smoking he didn’t want me sneaking around or lying to him or my mother. That was the last cigarette I ever smoked.
When I was a teenager I tried pot. All my friends were doing it and in those days we thought it was harmless. However, I couldn’t smoke without choking and I didn’t like the way it made me feel so after trying to be one of the “cool kids,” I gave that up after just two or three times.
Years later I became a partner in a very successful apparel business and was surrounded by a lot of people who spent a fortune doing cocaine. Thankfully, I never even had the desire to try it or any of the other drugs that were popular among my generation. I was very much against drugs on a personal level and I never knowingly dated women who smoked or did drugs. However, I was never a “crusader” or even spoke out against their use. I just accepted that it was something that people did and as long as they didn’t try to convince me to use drugs, I wasn’t going to try to convince them not to.
I did drink modestly, but very modestly. I actually liked the “culture of drinking.” I don’t mean getting drunk and doing the stupid things you regret but the celebratory aspects of drinking as a sign of friendship. Although drinking has a positive social aspect to it, my limited drinking was highly influenced by another love I had… that of riding motorcycles.
I grew up in New York and there is a very short riding season there. The weather was generally unpredictable. I can’t tell you how many times I checked the weather before I left my home in the morning to make sure it wasn’t going to rain only to find myself less than an hour later caught in a downpour riding my motorcycle from my home in Brooklyn to college or work in Manhattan. Do you know how stupid you feel stopped for a red light, in the rain, on a motorcycle while people in cars stare and laugh at you?
Although I didn’t major in it, I studied a lot of science and math courses and one of the simple things you learned was that 30 miles per hour was equivalent to 44 feet per second. So if you have even one drink even if you’re not legally drunk but your reflexes are slowed down by just 1/5 of a second, at just 30 mph you’ll travel about nine feet… an extra nine feet of stopping distance on a motorcycle could be the difference between an active life or one confined to a wheel chair and that’s why I didn’t drink much because I always wanted to be available to ride my motorcycle with full control over my vision and reflexes.
THANKFULLY, I’VE NEVER EXPERIENCED ANY PERSONAL TRAGEDY REGARDING DRUGS
I never got drunk and did something I regretted as the result of drinking or doing drugs. None of my close friends ever got arrested or hurt someone because they were inebriated and no one close to me was ever the victim of a drunk driver.
SO WHAT WAS THE INFLUENCE THAT LED ME TO CREATE WHAT I STILL CONSIDER IS THE MOST CREATIVE DRUG PREVENTION PROGRAM EVER CREATED?
Years ago I owned a nutritional supplement company and a friend of mine came up with the idea to create a game that would teach children about the importance of eating right and asked me to help him develop it. I was too busy with my own business but I introduced him to another friend who helped him create a game called “Nutriverse” that used creatures from outer space as characters in the game. Nutriverse was a contraction of nutrition and universe.
The questions were fairly easy except for the area known as the “black hole” which included the toughest questions. Right before the game was finished, my friend said, “what’s the sense of teaching children about nutrition if they’re going to pollute their bodies with drugs? So let’s use the black hole to explain the dangers of using drugs.” He asked me to write the questions but I didn’t know anything about the subject so I had to do a lot of research.
I wrote about 50 questions and then we created 12 copies of the game to send to teachers across the country to test it. The results were astounding as well as totally unexpected. All twelve teachers, none of whom knew each other, all said the same thing, “forget about nutrition, just give us more creative tools like this to teach kids about the dangers of using drugs.”
I’m a marketing guy and when twelve teachers out of twelve all say the same thing, I knew there was a huge market potential in drug prevention. I formed a for profit corporation called “Play to Win” and for the next five years all I did was research and write about drug prevention and dream about making a fortune by helping people.
That was the genesis of my involvement in the field of drug prevention. And while the program was a huge creative success it was a miserable failure as a business. We did come close, very close to doing a deal with Mattel and another for a Saturday morning cartoon show but although those companies recognized the programs’ financial potential, they were afraid of a legal and PR nightmare should one child say they learned about drugs from the game or the show. So, after five years of development and almost $1.5 million in expenses, I was forced to abandon the project that I was so passionate about that totally consumed years of my life and a good part of my net worth.
Yes, I lost a lot of time and money but I don’t regret that one bit. What I do regret is what the business really cost me… and that was the loss of the love of my life at that time.
I was living with an incredible girl at the time I began creating the program. She was sweet and kind and loving and also drop dead gorgeous. Our relationship for three years was about as romantic, fun and exciting as any you can imagine but I never learned to balance my home life with my work life and, as a result, that caused our relationship to end… but it ended poetically. She told me she still loved me but she had to end the relationship because… I had become addicted to “drug prevention.”
THE NEXT STEP
I still believe in the program and I also believe the timing may finally be right to market the program. Even though it’s been 27 years since I gave up the business, drug prevention is still a multi-billion dollar industry and virtually no one can name even a single company that’s involved in it… and that’s an opportunity I want to exploit and make it part of Revenue Enhancement Worldwide at the appropriate time.