Hi! My name is Thacher Schmid. I’m a freelance journalist and musician whose life is a tale of two cities: Portland and Milwaukee.
Here are All The Things I’ve Never Been:
• Never been a hoodlum or a tramp, but I’ve hopped a few freight trains outta Old Milwaukee, including to St. Paul to see a dying uncle.
• Never been a rock star, 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 a truly selfless person, but I’ve helped hundreds of poor families, mostly single moms and kids, to get warm food, keep a roof over their head, overcome barriers.
• Never been an athlete, but I rode the bench on the Carleton Ultimate Team that finished third at the 1994 national ultimate frisbee tourney in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
• Never been a traveler, but I took so many “chicken” buses during a six-month trip from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to Bocas del Toro, Panama that I got a callous on my ass.
• Never been good with words, but I’ve had stories published in the Guardian, Los Angeles Times, The Onion, Adbusters — plus Portland and Milwaukee’s finest media.
• Never been a social scientist, but two departments at Carleton College awarded me distinction for 100 carefully-distilled-to-absolute-boredom pages I researched during six months in Costa Rica studying UPANacional, the nation’s largest sindicato campesino.
• Never been bilingual, but Spanish has been my second language since San José y Los Simpsons, and I still give an employee at my favorite Mexican restaurant shit about the “pedo” (fart) joke she thought I wouldn’t understand.
• Never been a disciplined Buddhist, but the Buddha, the dharma and the sangha have long been my ray of hope in hard times, like when my brother Kyle committed suicide.
• 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, a.k.a. “fax boy.”
• Never been a risk taker, but there was a moment in La Libertad, El Salvador when I thought my goose was cooked, before a farmacista saved my life with a few pastillas.
• Never been rich or poor, but I’ve spent enough time with people in both high and low places to know good people come in all shapes, colors, genders, sizes, ages, ability levels and income classes.