A selfie taken during a walk up Dog Mountain on Daddy Daughter Day.

Hi! My name is Thacher Schmid. I’m a journalist and musician whose life is a tale of two cities: Portland and Milwaukee. In homage to the “talking blues” tradition of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, here are All The Things I’ve Never Been.

• Never been a tramp, but I’ve hopped a few freight trains outta Old Milwaukee, to St. Paul to see a dying uncle, and Chicago to hear the blues.

• Never been a musician, but I’ve held 2,500 writhing dancers on the tip of my fingers, violin bow, amplifier and electronics — and once played Hava Nagila for a chair-borne bride at a Jewish wedding, so fast the challah caught fire.

• Never been good with words, but I know the difference between an em dash and an en dash, and that mysterious semicolon sweet spot. I’ve spent enough time reporting, typing and reading that my shoes’ soles are paper thin, my wrists and fingers hurt, my fingers are inky, my spine’s all twisted and my eyes can’t hardly see.

• Never been a selfless person, but I’ve done my best by a few hundreds of single moms and kids, inmigrantes, Spanish speakers, folks who might need a little more of this and a little less of that — mostly they showed some good sense by not listening to me.

• Never been an athlete, but I rode the bench on an ultimate frisbee team that finished third at the national ultimate frisbee tourney in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The taters and crawdads were good.

• Never been a manly man, but I was the first male to work in the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Washington, D.C. office—as a media intern, also known as a “fax boy.” Don’t get more masculine than that.

• Never been a traveler, but I took so many “chicken” buses during a six-month land trip from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to Bocas del Toro, Panama that I got a callous on my ass and barely made it out of El Salvador. Almost stayed in Nicaragua, because that’s a country.

• Never been a social scientist, but two college professors with fancy titles liked the 100 pages I banged out for them during six months in Costa Rica tramping around following UPANacional, that nation’s largest sindicato campesino.

• Never been bilingüe, but I got unos pocos verbos en Centroamérica and from Los Simpsons, and I still give an employee at my favorite Mexican restaurant shit about the “pedo” (fart) joke she assumed I wouldn’t catch.

• Never been a Buddhist, but the Buddha, the dharma and the sangha finally made me sit down for a second or two.

• Never been rich or poor, but I’ve spent enough time with people in high and low places to know good people come in all sorts — except politicians.

• Never been a protester, never thrown no fake blood or pies, but I’ve beat a drum, told tough truths, bussed on out to Washington D.C. to yell a little, held some signs, marched with a bunch of righteously pissed people and got a few nice whiffs of that good ole’ Portland tear gas.

• Never been a dad, husband, or home owner, but two little towheads done been following me around Portland for a few years now, and I can’t go out and have a good time no more, plus the bank got a way of magically taking money right out my bank account every month.