But he still wanted to do something. He got a job at the Dallas Summer Musicals, selling box office tickets and planning events for nearly 20 years.
“It was like my element, I guess,” Austin says.
In the 90s, he started making YouTube videos. For one of his premieres, he put on a funny wig and glasses. He thought he looked scary.
He’s quite tech-savvy and taught himself or googled how to use a host of apps, like Vine – until he was “kaput” – and more recently, TikTok.
“I didn’t really know what I was going to do because it’s a youth medium,” Austin says. “And the people there, they were dancing and singing and lip-synching and stuff like that and I was kind of out of my element.”
Creating the videos — about four a day on TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Facebook and Instagram Reels — provided Austin with an escape and a way to express himself creatively. For a while, he wanted to be an actor, but he was afraid he wasn’t good enough to do it. In this way, he can entertain while maintaining a certain anonymity, since he does not see his audience.
Videos like “Cooking with Old Man Steve,” where Austin records himself whipping up a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, get a lot of attention. This was especially true when stay-at-home orders were in place. Years ago, a video of Austin eating a peanut butter sandwich went viral on Vine and has been viewed over 9 million times.