Guest Post: How I Renounced My US Citizenship And Why (Part 1)

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Doug Casey's International Man,

(Editor's note: The following is a firsthand story of how and why a former US citizen—who kindly shared this information on condition of anonymity—decided to renounce his US citizenship. It's packed with practical advice and priceless insights into this momentous decision. Whether or not you take the ultimate step of renunciation, I believe you will find value from the author's experiences.)

By Citizen of the World

Having evolved philosophically in my adulthood to a fairly hardcore libertarian worldview, I had read the writings of people like Doug Casey, which encouraged people even some decades ago to take concrete steps to internationalize themselves. Not just "talk the talk," but to actually "walk the walk."

My professional career offered me the chance to travel abroad quite a bit, so it was not too difficult for me to begin taking baby steps to internationalize.

I rented an apartment in one of the Asian cities that I frequently visited. A few years later, I made my first overseas real estate purchase of a small apartment in another Asian city, followed by several more in the next few years.

By this time, I was managing to spend about 2/3 of each year outside the US—you could say that I waded into the pool, rather than just diving in.

The passage of the first of the three recent "exit tax" laws by Congress in 1996 had alerted me to how high-stakes the US government regarded full expatriation to be—and inclined me toward doing so.

I reasoned that if they were that anxious to discourage people from leaving, it might well be time to seriously consider doing so.

Still, for about another decade, I wasn't in a good position financially or logistically to do so, although I did begin seriously collecting more information about residency abroad, second passports, etc.

Shortly after my financial and logistical impediments cleared up, Ron Paul began achieving astounding success in the early phases of the 2008 presidential campaign. Encouraged once more at the prospect of there perhaps being a chance to turn things around after all, I put my international plans on hold and devoted nearly the entire first three quarters of the year to his campaign.

But the unremitting ferocity with which mainstream Republicans opposed our every effort led me to renew my efforts to abandon the sinking ship.

Another imperative for me has been the maxim "silence implies consent"—that is, by not acting (especially now that I was in a reasonably good position to do so) to separate myself from the manifest evils of the regime in DC, I would continue granting it my consent.

So, believing at that time (incorrectly, as it turns out) that you had to have another passport before you could give up US citizenship, I settled on the economic citizenship of the Commonwealth of Dominica, which is the quickest legitimate and least-expensive way to clear that hurdle.

I engaged a US-based consultant/agent to undertake the process of applying for Dominica's program—something I definitely recommend.

Even though the agent may not want to hold your hand the whole time or answer every last question you may have, he or she can be quite helpful in navigating any significant rough spots or ambiguities. But be careful: the fees can mount up quickly. Keep in mind that obtaining a second citizenship (so you won't be "stateless" and unable to travel after giving up your US citizenship) and the actual Relinquishment/Renunciation are two distinct phases (there's a third expatriation phase, if you will be a "Covered Expatriate" and have to deal with the "mark to market" exit tax). You'll likely be expected to pay fees to an advisor/agent for each phase, unless you spring for a (much more expensive) "package deal."

Do be careful to choose only a legitimate agency—there are any number of dubious ones offering their "services" on the Internet. If in doubt about one you're considering, you should inquire directly to the government officials of your chosen country whether that agency is in good standing with the officials there.

Initially, it was expected to take about three months to receive the Dominica passport, after all the required documents and preliminaries had been done.

But even as I got those things ready to submit (the required FBI criminal check was routinely quoted as taking up to 12 weeks at that time), the expected approval and completion dates were being pushed out at least several more months.

I had originally considered doing the St. Kitts program, which offered a considerably more useful passport—visa-free entry to all of the EU, as well as to Canada, which is about two dozen more countries than the Dominica passport allows.

So faced with a possibly quite extended delay in getting the Dominica passport and by now having a fair amount of experience in making such an application, I decided to apply for the St. Kitts one as well—and without the additional expense of a consultant/agent.

Since most of the documents and preliminaries I had done for Dominica were also needed for the St. Kitts application, I got the St. Kitts one done much sooner and had everything for it filed about a month after filing for the Dominica one. In the end, the St. Kitts passport was issued about three months before the Dominica one.

With the passport hurdle soon to be cleared, I had to make financial preparations. Not so much on account of the exit tax itself, but much more because of the very punitive, but much less known Section 2801 gift/inheritance tax imposed on all post-expatriation gifts and/or bequests to "US persons" by a "covered" expatriate (which I have the dubious pleasure of being).

[Editor's Note: The term "covered expatriate" refers to the former US citizens who qualify to be stung with the exit tax. See this IRS article for more details.]

Because most of my low-to-mid seven-figure wealth had already been taxed at least once (and also having considerable loss carry-forwards ensuing from the aftermath of the 2008 panic), I was not facing much of an exit tax liability itself.

Once I had the passports in hand, but well before I had finished financial preparations, I made the first of the two visits to a US embassy or consular office abroad required for the actual renunciation process.

On the first visit, you must allow the consular staff to inform (lecture?) you about the "grave" consequences and irrevocability of what you seek to do; and you must assert to them that you understand what you are doing, that you really do intend to do so, and do not expect to retain any rights or privileges of US citizenship.

However, you are not allowed to complete the renunciation process at that first visit. You must go away for at least a short while and then come back on a second appointment, "to be sure you really want to do this."

In my case, the consular official whom I met with on that first visit did not try very much to dissuade me, nor did I have any difficulty convincing her that I had thought about it extensively and knew what I was seeking to do.

Another half-year elapsed before I finished all the required property transfers into irrevocable trusts (to avoid Section 2801 gift/inheritance tax), after which I was finally ready for my actual expatriation appointment.

There are actually two somewhat distinct procedures by which you can give up US citizenship: relinquishment or renunciation. The State Department forms and consular staff procedures are similar, but not identical, for both ways.

Renunciation is the more affirmative way, and may be preferable for that reason alone.

Professional and informal advisors have differing opinions on which is better—and even whether there's any substantive difference at all—apart from the $450 fee now required for a Renunciation filing (no fee at all is currently required for filing a Relinquishment—if one is in a position to choose that route).

There are no differences in IRS/tax consequences, and it's said that the State Department makes no distinction between those who relinquish versus those who renounce.

But the fact remains that there are the two different procedures, and some knowledgeable people do recommend relinquishment (if one's situation permits using that method) instead of renunciation.

Be aware though that pursuing a relinquishment requires the applicant to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the State Department people involved (both in the embassy/consular office and the application reviewers in Washington), that the applicant's "potentially expatriating act" (which is usually the act of obtaining citizenship in another country) was truly done "with the intent to give up US citizenship" at the time of "performing the potentially expatriating act."

In contrast, making a renunciation filing, which involves performing an Oath of Renunciation before a consular officer, provides convincing prima facie evidence of intent to give up US citizenship.

The State Department may reject a renunciation filing only if there's clear evidence that the applicant was under some sort of duress to take the oath, or that the would-be renunciant intends to retain any prerogatives of US citizenship (such as continuing to reside in the US without obtaining any residency visa/permission as an "alien").

Because so much time had elapsed since my first visit, I had to re-do it. Mercifully, the consular staff allowed me to return quite soon for the actual renunciation process.

There are numerous reports of delays of weeks to months in getting appointments (for either or both of the two required visits) at many of the busier embassies. I have personal knowledge of an embassy in a major Asian city requiring a two-week interval between an applicant's first and second renunciation visit regardless of how full or slack its appointment calendar was.

A note about embassy/consular office practices: The expatriation requirements and procedures are stated in fairly thorough detail in in Volume 7, chapter 12 of the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM).

In practice though, each embassy/consular office seems to operate with a fair amount of discretion.

As just one example, FAM explicitly states that an embassy or consular office must allow any US citizen to expatriate who applies there to do so. Yet I was told by consular staff in one major Asian embassy that it refuses to let anyone who is not a legal resident of that country expatriate at that embassy.

Though they're primarily focused on the plight of the many Americans who permanently moved to Canada, the Isaac Brock Society maintains an excellent website. It keeps an extensive—if anecdotally based—log of people's expatriation experiences at various embassies/consular offices around the globe.

The actual process of formally doing the renunciation was straightforward and was conducted without any further hassle or delay at my next appointment.

Stay tuned for the second (and final) part of this story. It has specific details about the renunciation process as well as the author's personal experiences dealing with US officials during and after the process.

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Pladizow's picture

Leave the plantation while you can!

May soon be illegal!

Dre4dwolf's picture

You can just shred all  your id, and claim to be born here without a certificate.


It doesn't make sense to me why you need things like....

-Marriage License (a paper from the government telling you "its ok, you have permission to marry that person")

-Birth Certificate, a paper saying that the government knows who you are and will assign you a social security number endebting you to pay half your working life income to the previous generation (debt slavery certificate)

-Passport, to enter your land-area of birth, the Federal Government acts like it "owns" all the states, meanwhile the only place the Federal Govt actually exists is in some trivial non-important district (D.C.) over-run by prostitutes and banksters , D.C. could slide off into the Ocean and almost no one in the continent would give a rats ass.


The only way you are "free" is if you are "free" from bureaucracy intended to rob you for your entire life-time.


If we are going to have any country at all , any government at all, it should be on the STATE level only!, this way you have a choice of where you can live, under what laws you want to live under.

If you want to live in a state where MarryJ is legal, move to that state, if you want to live in a state where you don't need any paper work to own a gun, move to that state.

And let each state fail or prosper under its own experiment.

Don't force the same failing experiment on all states and deprive Americans of the opportunity to live under the rules and society of their choosing! The entire point of America was supposed to be

-No Laws

-No govt theft

-No High Taxes

-No  B.S.

-A land where you can make it with a little luck and hard-work 

-A land with no stupid shit like patents, trademarks, barriers to entry in markets (free market)....

-No Monopolies

-No Banksters

-No Taxes on property

-No foreign entanglements.


every "point" of being an "american" the entire set of reasons to want to be an "american" have been stripped and eroded away.

The only difference between America and Greece is that America has a stockpile of Nuclear Arms to bully the world with, both societies are failing, because Direct Democracy does not work, only orderly top down Democratic non-intrusive Republics work.


Representative Democracy based on mob rule is a sure-fire way to destroy a society in short-order, you need a very small , limited Republic or society falls apart.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture



Leaving the USA is serious business, and is only for a very few:

1)  Able to speak the language, like the food, etc.

2)  Have sufficient resources already "there" for a comfortable landing

3)  Prepared to STAY there (ie, having had spent AT LEAST three months "there")

4), 5), 6)...


However, if it turns out that you do NOT like your new home, you can just sneak back into the USA over the border and become an illegal alien.  I would THEN choose California or any other "welfare state"!

malikai's picture

Leave states, relinquish citizenship.

Return to states under false ID.

Claim Free shit en masse.


0b1knob's picture

Anyway to renounce citizenship and REMAIN in the US?

Best of both worlds.   In Soviet America illegals are treated better than citizens.

eatthebanksters's picture

Perhaps some day we'll be enlightened like North Korea where life is great and only crazy people want to leave, but even so it is against the law and punishable by death to say anything negative about the country, the system and the leader and likewise to attemtp to leave the wonderful country.  Pelosi, Reid Obummer and Holder look to North Korea as the model for the USA.

Eahudimac's picture

Who do you think has bigger penis? Kim Jong Un or Nancy Pelosi? I think Pelosi. Hillary Clinton plays the submissive role in that relationship, therefore Nancy must be hung like a moose. They use her foreskin as a tarp at Yankee stadium when it rains.

Doña K's picture

As long as you have dual citizenship or get a passport without informing anyone you don't need to renounce your citizenship. I know several people with three passports. The US accepts dual citizens.

Example 1. An Israeli or a Dane immigrates to the US and becomes a US citizen. Then he/she marries a South American. By virtue of that marriage he/she has the rights to residency in that country and the path to citizenship. The US does not know of the third.

Example 2. real case: A Brit married to a Japanese visiting the US for a 3 month business trip and had a baby in the US. The baby got a birth certificate from Nebraska. The mom took that to the Japanese consular and received a passport. The dad took the certificate to the UK consular and got a passport and they also got a US passport. The twist here is that the Japanese force you to pick either the Japanese or the US one (when you become 18) since they know your place of birth. The UK passport is still under the radar 


chumbawamba's picture

But the fact remains that there are the two different procedures, and some knowledgeable people do recommend relinquishment (if one's situation permits using that method) instead of renunciation.


RENUNCIATION.  The act by which a person abandons a right acquired without transferring it to another.


RELINQUISHMENT.  A forsaking, abandoning, renouncing, or giving over a right.


- Black's Law Dictionary, 4th Edition

Looks like they get something with one but not the other, hence, the tax.  But basically it implies your U.S. soul is worth $450.

The State Department may reject a renunciation filing only if there's clear evidence that the applicant was under some sort of duress to take the oath, or that the would-be renunciant intends to retain any prerogatives of US citizenship (such as continuing to reside in the US without obtaining any residency visa/permission as an "alien").

Bullshit.  I can renunciate my United States citizenship and revert back to my state citizenship by birth.  I'm a native Californian, without the United States (the corporate).

I am Chumbawamba.

PT's picture

What happens if you just "lose" all your ID and claim refugee status in a different country?  How does that work?

Is it hard to get a second passport / citizenship as an Israeli?  Would it be worth it? 

What?  Nothing.  I didn't say anything ... 

piliage's picture

But, the problem is that FACTA, the new international banking regulation, gives the IRS international audit power over sovereign banks. If you kept all of your money abroad in a coffee can and lived in a tent, perhaps this will work. The IRS is specifically targeting duel nationals who are 'hiding' their nationality, and the penalties being enforced internationally are HUGE. A simple internet search will yield dozens of horror stories from Canadians, etc. who have gotten nasty letters with big penalties attached from the IRS due to their "American' nationality.

10 years ago, your solution worked. Now, many of us abroad are faced with being double taxed as the current deductions are not indexed to currency devaluations. Uncle Ben's strategy of devaluing the dollar 'increases' your income abroad and moves you quickly out of the deduction threshold into AMT-land. Also, once you go into AMT land, you loose your local tax paid as a deduction, 55-60% marginal rate in Belgium. I guess I don't pay enough tax once, so the IRS thinks I can pay again...

I've lived abroad and ran a business in Europe for 15 years. My partners in my firm now need to have THEIR bank accounts declared to the IRS, even though they AREN'T American, as the new IRS banking regulations require disclosure of all business accounts where I have a share of ownership. If I don't, they can confiscate 50% of the account or $100,000, whichever is GREATER.

Of course, these regulations and audits required only of Americans abroad are in direct violation of the equal protection clause of the 4th amendment. Hell, we fought a revolution over this shit in 1776. We living abroad are seen as piggy banks with legs as we don't get to vote for congress as we don't have a local address - the congress can screw us with little political fall out.

Of the OECD countries, the USA is the ONLY one that taxes by nationality. Not even the French stoop so low. Someday, someone will try to file a lawsuit in federal court, but until then, telling the US to take their passport and shove it is a viable option for many of us living outside the USA.


Doña K's picture

When it comes to banking it's very messy indeed. There are still several countries however that do not cooperate with the US FACTA.

fedupwhiteguy's picture

Dona, FACTA is the reason these expats are looking into renouncing U.S. citizenship. The feds want moar money!!!

merizobeach's picture

"REMAIN in the US?"

It's still a Soviet gulag either way.  No, thank you.

August's picture

Return to one of the Holy and Enlightened Sanctuary Cities of the USA, where even making enquiries as to one's citizenship is forbidden.

Life is good, eh?

Papasmurf's picture


Return to states under false ID.

Claim Free shit en masse.

What about those finger prints you gave them from your iPhone?

Abitdodgie's picture

If you have an iphone then they are to dumb to be thinking of leaving Amerika , so dont worry about the finger print 

4 wheel drift's picture

Leave states, relinquish citizenship.

Return to states under false ID.

Claim Free shit en masse.





get rid of all jobs/wealth....  (buy RV/nice motorhome -diesel pusher, or similar)

go to CA.  buy piece of land in warm weather.   (hopefully low taxes, and part of the get rid of wealth scheme)

work for walmart or similar for a year then convince employer to let you go.... (so you can)  claim unemployment/disability/beg on corner

put on the list for whatever other free shit is available....

make sure it is warm outside live happily ever after....   -g


all of the above is MUCH better than having to deal with any and all of the bureaucrats the process implies.....

RafterManFMJ's picture

Tylers, you need to do an article about building a time machine and then beating LBJ about the head with an axe handle in 1963; this and expatriation are equal possibilities for 99% of the readership.

Harbanger's picture

LBJ launched progressive reforms like the War on poverty and created what he called the "Great Society" for all Americans.   Before my time, but I'm sure he must have been very popular with all the "smart" people back then, same as Barry now.  You can't go back in time, we just suffer the consequences.

MrPalladium's picture

LBJ single handedly killed America and made it a very hostile place for the core population.

gallistic's picture

Yeah, that pesky Civil Rights Act really made it a "very hostile place for the core population" didn't it?

e_goldstein's picture

I'll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.


verum quod lies's picture

One act did it: the Immigration Reform Act of 1965. Importing 3rd world Marxists results in 3rd world Marxism. 'Demographics is destiny.'

gallistic's picture

Many of the anti-intellectual rugged individualists here consider the Great Society as some pussified, communist, (add your adjective here) program, but they are too stupid to realize that they probably benefitted in some way from its social, educational, and civil rights measures, and America became a better place because of it.

Xibalba's picture

 probably benefitted in some way



Yes.  But at the expense of a thousand generations.  It's something very special when you have an entire generation taking from it's children's children in order to drive an obese car and have plastic trinkets galore.  American exceptionalism  indeed. 

Frankie Carbone's picture

You make it sound like the experiment is over and it was a resounding success. Except you conveniently forget that the tab is coming due, and is anywhere from 70-200 trillion dollars.

Now, I am still alive and myself, my children, and my grandchildren are stuck with the bill, with no effective means to pay it, and no benefit from past laviousness.

How is that a success?

The experiment is still in play, with the whirlwinds whipping up for Part II of the outcome, which are the consequences of idiotic and impractical idealism. 

Are you a bona fide idiot, or are you being intentionally obtuse to jerk chains and elicit a response?

Second question. Are you a boomer, and hence one of those folks that has mopped up the gravy and hopes to hit "gov't funded payola" into your sunset years?

Sorry you didn't prepare for your own future. Cat food by the case is cheap at Cosco. You'll get by. And if you don't that's Darwinian selection at play and mother nature just doing her thing.

Frankie Carbone's picture

"Please don't be a spelling nazi sir". Besides, this is a new era of slovenliness of the grammar of our once sacrosant mother tongue, where any millenial generation imbecile (apologies for the redundancy) can can use any word in any context ("don't hate on me bro"), invent any word they desire as long as other imbeciles adopt same ("hey, look at that dude's bling!"), or misspell words without the expectation of being called to task for the error ("dude, don't be a spelling nazi!").

Sarcasm aside, I thank you for calling me on my indolence with respect to honoring the appropriate rules of grammar. We as a society are much too tolerant of shit that our parents and grandparents would have been called out for.

Apathy and sloth. The world around us is a mess for a reason.

gallistic's picture

Carbone, of course, you are correct to say that the "experiment" is not a one-time event. It is ongoing and changes over time. I would also submit for your consideration that the great society legislation is not the only (or perhaps even the largest) cause for our fiscal deficit.

I am assuming that you asked your questions in good faith, so, I will try to answer your questions-

Neat and pat "answers" to difficult issues are often the mark of ignorance. Yes, I am often dissappointed at the level of discussion here, and I sometimes play devil's advocate and start some shit.

I am not captive to faction or party, and yes, I sometimes deliberately trigger reactions from the knee-jerk crowd to expose flawed-thinking fallacies. Sometimes it is a pre-requisite to clear out the clown car for a good dialectic to take place. I try to do my part in that, and I do not hold anybody's hand by adding an explanatory /sarc tag to any comment either.

No, I am not a boomer, and I doubt that cat food is in my future, but thanks for your concern. However, I must caution you to be careful expressing any concern for a fellow man, woman, or child though. You might (gasp!) get branded or pigeon-holed as a "socialist" ;)

Frankie Carbone's picture

You are correct in your assertion that black and white answers are the hallmark of an idiot. But I did not respond to you with a black and white answer. I observed, and replied that the inference that you made - that somehow the Great Society is a success - is a valid conclusion is incorrect, and then provided a premise that contradicted your implied conclusion, thus negating your argument.

Most Americans wouldn't know a socialist if Trotsky himself rose from the grave, gave them a swift kick in the ass, and said "Hi, I'm Leon and I'm a socialist".

For example, Barry Obama is NOT a socialist by any means of the imagination. He's is closer to a coporatist-fascist (redundancy again? LOL) who is wise enough to know that the plebes can be bought off with swag purchased with money borrowed from their grandchildren's pockets.

With respect to the aforementioned, boomers are among the most selfish douchebags this nation has ever produced, and most of them will vehemently defend their "right" to have me provide for them into their retirement. 

I too have the desire to flog sheep of different hybrids, and by your statement assumed that you were a hopium addicted two-party groupie sheep. My apologies.

I ate a can of cat food in a college bet once (Friskie's Buffet chicken I believe) and puked it up as about a gallon of Bud Lite was already residing in the space it was meant to occupy. It taught me two lessons in life. First, funnelling beer leads to stupid bets, and second, prepare for one's retirement.



piliage's picture

Hey Gallistic, why don't you go take a walk through Camden NJ or Detroit MI and tell us how your social utopia government handout programmes are working? For that matter, as you are a fan of Belgian surrealism, why don't you go hang out in Brussels for a couple days with the 22% unemployed and see how well that city is doing under the management of a string of socialist mayors who have used unchecked immigration as a voter recruitment tool?

gallistic's picture

Now that's more like it! I am Glad to see I started a shit-storm and brought on a hail of down arrows.

Yes, I have taken a walk through Camden, but not through Detroit. The damage there was caused by many reasons.

Reducing those problems to "social utopia government handout programmes" is overly simplistic and betrays the fact that the person saying it has their ideological blinders on.


piliage's picture

"The Black Family Is Worse Off Today Than In the 1960?s, Report Shows"

"In 1950, 17 percent of African-American children lived in a home with their mother but not their father. By 2010 that had increased to 50 percent. In 1965, only eight percent of childbirths in the Black community occurred out-of-wedlock. In 2010 that figure was 41 percent; and today, the out-of-wedlock childbirth in the Black community sits at an astonishing 72 percent. The number of African-American women married and living with their spouse was recorded as 53 percent in 1950. By 2010, it had dropped to 25 percent."

Why don't you tell me more about the wonderful value added by the great society programmes of LBJ, you genius.

And according to you I'm the ideologue...too funny.

gallistic's picture

Ok, I'll bite.

Is that weak-ass article supposed to prove that the great society programs are the reason for this?

To say that this "worse off" condition was caused by the "great society programmes of LBJ" is simply an enormous leap of reason.

Is that really what you contend?



dougngen's picture

Hey galistic...go back to think progress you mental midget

Gohn Galt's picture

Hard to keep track of LBJ's deeds.  He signed off on a lot of those 1960 riots before they happened.  LBJ coordinated with Gov Romney to riot and burn down Detroit and then bring in the National Guard.  You don't want to be anywhere these nut jobs know about.

merizobeach's picture

So you're too rich to expatriate?  I know poorness isn't a factor because I was poor-as-shit when I left for good over a decade ago.  As it turns out, a prosperous life is much more easily attainable outside and away from the prison-bubble of that country and its inducements of the trapped-in-the-USA mentality.

GotNuttin'todo's picture

"Poor as shit". You mean financially or morally? Where do you keep your I-did-it-all-by-myself wealth merzio...wrapped up in your white flag?

merizobeach's picture

"financially or morally?"

Financially; I had a couple hundred bucks to my name.  Morally, I felt mostly alright--I spent a couple years doing some Kerouac-ian road trips after I'd put in some effort to medical marijuana and congressional term limits campaigns, among others, but I couldn't accept paying taxes anymore, to the Bush gov or any.  So I went back to Asia to live.  Twice, it's the best decision I've made.

"wrapped up in your white flag?"

The only 'flag' I would wave is that of my own sovereignty, and I will act in the best interests of my own 'national security'--laws, governments, and others' opinions be damned.  You are perfectly welcome to ride the USs Titanic to its inevitable demise.  I won't be accompanying.

Seize Mars's picture



You are right

Wow I have learned a lot from reading ZH articles - and the comments too

Moe Hamhead's picture

Yeah, even the President doesn't have a birth certificate !!

Harbanger's picture

We have proof of Lab fees paid and circumstantial evidence that in 1961, he was hatched in the Columbia Univesity Laboratory for Social Sciences.

fonestar's picture

His father was a petri dish organizer.