Paul Dinin dropped out of high school his senior year to make gobs of money working with computers. Later, Paul helped launch Consumption Junction, a site renowned for its collection of graphically shocking videos, a position that has allowed him to travel the world. He's survived Katrina, shot grenade launchers, fallen into canals, and thrown parties for Philippine Orphans. Welcome to the world of Paul Dinin.
Tell me about your senior year of high school.
I was a pretty bad student near the end of the year and I had been impeached from the class presidency because my grades were poor and I had a couple of weapons violations. I got an offer to go work for this company in Atlanta. They offered me an inordinate amount of money for a seventeen year old, so I decided to drop out of school. I rented one of those fat Elvis body suits and, on my last day of school, got all my teachers to sign me out as, "The king is leaving the building."
The big newspaper in Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, picked up the story because I was throwing a Happy Dropping Out Party at my house with a couple hundred kids. Someone ran in and started screaming, "Hey, there's some woman outside who says she's with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She's taking people's names and stuff." I went outside and, sure enough, there was a husky woman with a notepad writing down people's names. She heard about me from everyone else at the party and decided to write this article about me dropping out of school. A week after I dropped out, to the pleasure of most of the staff and administration, there was a huge front page article with a picture of me saying, "High School Student Drops Out to Make a Ton of Money." They started calling me the next Bill Gates. It was pretty ridiculous, especially since the fall out of the whole thing was about ten months later.
They were paying me a lot of money, but it was all cash. They'd hand me a few thousand dollars every week. Even at seventeen I knew that that there was something wrong with that. I assumed it might be drugs. One day, my boss called me into his office. He was Irish. He said, "Paul, you and I need to think of a way to supplement our incomes." I'm thinking, "It's going to be drugs." And he says, "Do you know anybody who smokes weed?" I'm seventeen at the time, so I say, "Of course I know people who smoke weed." He says, "Great. I just bought sixty pounds and need you to sell it to your friends." At that point, I didn't really want to be a drug dealer and figured that the hassle of working eight hours a day only to be paid in drugs that you had to work another eight hours to sell didn't make any sense.
I left, and at a good time too because a month after I left I saw my boss's face in the paper under the headline, "Bicycle boy bank robbers captured." They'd peddle into banks on bicycles with a fake bomb, rob the place, and then peddle out through all the back alleys, hop in a getaway car, and head out. They were pretty good at it. They hit eighteen or nineteen banks in the southeast and the company I was working for was just a way for them to launder the money.