At school, where he was ordered to avoid all excitement due to a heart condition, Gareth was an average student with few friends who was an occasional target for mockery and bullying by neighbourhood children and classmates. He was known to assist the school truant officer and volunteer to run errands for teachers and neighbours. During the fourth grade, Gareth began to suffer blackouts. He was occasionally hospitalised due to these seizures, and also in 1989 for a burst appendix. Gareth estimates that he has spent almost a year in the hospital for these episodes between the ages of 14 and 18, and attributed the decline in his grades to his time out of school. His friends suspected the episodes were an effort to gain sympathy and attention; on many occasions, they would accuse him of faking, even as he lay in a hospital bed.
Gareth’s only significant athletic avocation is snow skiing, which he pursues enthusiastically using stolen equipment and forged lift tickets. During high school he was arrested at least twice on suspicion of burglary and auto theft. When he reached age 18 the details of the incidents were expunged from his record, as is customary in Washington and most other states.