24,075 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Micah Wittman

Micah Wittman

1 through 24,075 remain unknown. Here is the balance:

24,076. I grew up celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas (some years in the reverse order). Continue to with my wife and three boys.

24,077. In 1995 I spent 3 months in a children’s summer camp in Ukraine. There were still wall murals and other trappings of the Soviet Union era stuffed into closets from the days it was run as a communist scouts/pioneer camp. With no government funding since the fall of the republic, a local paint factory union bankrolled the camp. I learned to skull that summer from the nicest guy you’ve ever met who had been on the Russian national rowing team. I ended up in the best physical health in my life; walking was our main form of transportation and meals were sparse but adequate. If we wanted to walk to the nearest open air market you had to cross the river that bordered the camp on one side. This was usually achieved by shouting across the water to the house on the other side to rouse the “old man” or “old woman” who lived there and paddled a dingy as a ferry service. The “old man” preferred to get paid in vodka (I’m not even joking).

24,078. I lived in Orange County, California, then Greater Vancouver, BC, and now Central Alberta. Yes, if you follow the progression I’ve gone from +16C to -16C weather. I’ll take cold climate and warm culture any day.

24,079. Coffee, black.

24,080. Made two major electronics purchases on ebay: a Palm V (years ago; was a thing of beauty) and Bwana’s 1st Generation iPhone (in my pocket right now).

24,081. There was a hostage crisis my sophomore year of high school. I was in Spanish class, which was fortunate; Mr Tuttle’s choir class wasn’t so fortunate: they were being held at gunpoint by a student enrolled at our school. A SWAT team and the other requite emergency responders descended upon the campus while we were in lockdown. The gunman (gunboy?) released the teacher and the girls, and continued to hold the boys captive. A young man, held hostage, verbally confronted the perpetrator with, “I don’t think that’s a real gun!” … and then was shot. But it wasn’t fatal as the bullet went through one side of his jaw/cheek and out the other. SWAT stormed in immediately upon the gunfire and apprehended the shooter. It was over. I hadn’t socialized with this obviously disturbed teenager, but I did know him back in elementary school. Why that day? I still wonder.

24,082. I’ve performed at Disneyland several times, marching the Main Street parade route. Trumpet in hand. High School band. That was for fun, though, we had “serious” competitions on our minds most of the school year. If you’re from California or Texas you may fully understand the scope of this </geek out!>

24,083. Warning: Cringe ahead of time. Ready? I once, quote unquote, heroically tried to save my little sister from herself when I saw she was about to unsheathe a fish-filleting knife. I grabbed on to wrest it away as the blade drew out to some degree. Right. I’ll stop there. I only have a minor scar now (I love you Mols! Also, shout out to my two brothers: Yo!).

24,084. On the cold winter morning—snow storm of ’96—of our wedding day, I slipped on the outside steps of the church, to what I’m sure would have been my sudden, tragic death; but I righted myself in time. I firmly believe tread-less tuxedo rental shoes should be banned. Everywhere.

24,085. I don’t fear the ocean (I swam competitively, lifeguarded and taught swim lessons). But I fear being underwater in close proximity to that mammal known as the whale. Otherwise I think they’re great.

24,086. I used to pause to see my digital watch tick to precisely 3:33 33. Usually PM. I don’t wear a timepiece now.

24,087. My water polo cap number was 3.

24,088. A large wedding destination website company approached me out of interest in buying a website/webapp I created that they would, presumably, fold into a new set of services in a space in which they were expanding. In the end no agreement was reached. It was a nerve-racking, decision-making process for me at times (contemplating how I could be the best possible trustee of my users’ privacy in any kind of transfer of control, for instance). It was good experience, and I’m at ease that I continue to keep and nurture “my baby”.

24,089. I had a grand plan for the way in which I would propose marriage to the love of my life (she still is and will always be). It involved showing up to surprise her in New York (when she expected me to be back home on the west coast), a romantic carriage ride through Central Park, and exploring the city together for the rest of the week. How it actually went down: I proposed on the side of nondescript country road not far from where we each lived. By a fire hydrant. With a “ring” I fashioned from a piece of string. Two months later I still went ahead with a NYC surprise appearance at which time I replaced the string with an actual ring made by a goldsmith, which was set with my great grandmother’s heirloom diamond.

24,090. If you’re a stereotypical university bachelor, and you make the mistake of thinking you can use a cookbook. Note: When it calls for 6 cloves of garlic. They mean cloves, not bulbs. Enough said.

24,091. I once coded for a start-up software company in a small town called Hope. I worked remotely—from home—3/5 days a week. The other days I commuted a 2 1/2 hour round trip. The product/service was built on Lotus Notes/Domino. Everything you hear about Lotus Notes is true. Everything you don’t hear about it is also true. I had a tab at a local coffee shop; it was cool like that.

24,092. My first girlfriend (and later the wife of a close friend) died in her early twenties of brain cancer. She cared deeply and lived fully. In her last year of life, she continued to actively volunteer at a care facility where she made the sick and forsaken smile at the sound of her coming down the hallway. The day she passed away was also the day my first son was born, about 20 minutes apart in time.

24,093. I’m neither Catholic nor an art historian, but this little book is nonetheless one of my favourites: Meditations on Peace, Sister Wendy Beckett

24,094. I find a button down shirt and dress pants as comfortable as anything else I could wear during the day.

24,095. Garden Grove, California may have had one of the first Hello Kitty stores to hit North America, and I was driven past it every week growing up in the late 70s, early 80s. No further comment.

24,096. I show my trust of online services which request/require an email address in the following way: Low Trust: I give a temporary address from a disposable email address service. Medium Trust: a dedicated address at my own domain (service.m@example.com). High Trust: my primary address. Only the few and the brave earn High Trust.

24,097. In university, I helped out as my now wife conducted a social psychology experiment on personal space (proxemics). I stood in the middle of a room, and each test subject was instructed to walk toward me and then stop when moving closer would be uncomfortable. She then measured the distance between the toe of their shoe and the toe of mine. I remember two instances in particular: One female test subject who came close enough that half of our bodies where touching when she stopped. Awkward! Ok, so the other case was a male subject, and when he stopped the toes of his shoes were both past the front of my shoes. Is that a distance of zero? Or should one record a negative number? Science is hard.

24,098. I credit my mom for my tuned sense of empathy and my dad for so many open conversations that challenge my mind to form new connections that hone logic, persuasion and passion on various subjects.

24,099. I’m me, but if my beautiful wife and I can love each of our children as effectively as our four parents care for us…I will be extremely proud.

25,000. I don’t like spoiled endings. The dénouement is so sweet when you can’t see quite how it will work out, will the wrap-up be too happy (false)? or too sad (stalled)?—how could it possibly end just right? That’s the magic. When it happens you don’t know how you got there, but you know it was worth the trip.

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