Wednesday, January 2, 2013

About the Author

I thought we should start the New Year off with a little meet and greet.  Just a Smidge has gained quite a few new readers in 2012, so I thought an "about the author" segment would be helpful. I am the 40-year-old husband of an amazing woman, and father of three boys, affectionately known as Son Number One, Two and Three, currently ranging in ages from eight to four years old. My beautiful wife and I are raising/corralling them in Northern California, where we were both born and raised.

I think we should really start with my name. The following is a segment from “The Name,” the very first Just a Smidge post I ever wrote, way back in June of 2008. It is also the forward of my latest book, The Tree of Death, and Other Hilarious Stories.

I am a fourth-generation American who was born and raised in California, but you would never guess that when looking at my name, so I really feel like I should start with an explanation. It's spelled Schmatjen. It's pronounced "Smidgen", like a smidgen of this, and a smidgen of that. No one in the family knows why. It's German, but some kind of strange hill-people German that were more Austrian, or more Swiss, or more drunk than regular Germans.

So we all went by "Smidge." Once you pronounce it for people, that's your nickname. No getting around it, and all in all it's a pretty good deal for a kid. If you're destined for a certain nickname, it's nice to know ahead of time that it's going to be palatable.

In the Schmatjen clan, there is a general rule that because of the last name's inherent spelling and pronunciation issues, the first names had better be fool-proof. So, inexplicably, my folks named me Marc with a "C." I'm not sure what they were thinking at the time, but looking back on it, it seems ill-advised. I have always liked it, but it invariably adds an extra dimension to the name-explaining process that we Schmatjens constantly go through.

So that’s the story on the name. Now, here are 23 other facts that you should know about me:

1) My wife thinks I am a great driver.
2) My grandpa killed General Patton's dog.
3) Bright sunlight makes me sneeze.
4) I am related to a U.S. president, but I forget which one. I think it's either Grover Cleveland or Woodrow Wilson. I don't care. I would only be excited if it was Teddy Roosevelt, and it isn't.
5) My favorite movie is a tie between Romancing the Stone and Fletch.
6) Until I was in my teens, I thought that coffee really would stunt your growth, and that drinking alcohol made your beard grow faster, because in the movies, when guys would wake up hung-over, they always had a five-o’clock shadow.
7) I cry at the end of Rudy.
8) I am slightly over six feet tall, I weigh just over 200 pounds, and I have the bladder capacity of a four-year-old.
9) My two favorite flavors are slightly burnt pepperoni and toasted sesame seeds.
10) I swam 100,000 yards in one week when I was in high school.
11) I can remember movie quotes and song lyrics from 20 years ago, but I can't remember what my wife just told me three minutes ago.
12) I did a flying squirrel off of a 60-foot-tall rock into Lake Havasu, and I have very mixed feelings about my kids ever trying something like that.
13) I constantly get my left and right mixed up. It makes driving directions with my wife difficult.
14) My favorite joke of all time is: A guy walks into the psychiatrist’s office wearing nothing but underwear made out of Saran wrap. The psychiatrist looks at him and says, "Well, I can clearly see you’re nuts."
15) My basic math skills leave something to be desired.
16) I cannot stand cantaloupe. Fruit salad that contains cantaloupe is completely ruined.
17) I was born without the ability to have any sympathy whatsoever for stupidity.
18) I have had the controls of an airplane for about 10 seconds. I was not good at flying straight or level.
19) I crossed into Switzerland underground briefly while in a salt mine, but I have never been there above ground.
20) My favorite place to be is on a boat.
21) I have never wanted to be younger.
22) I truly like almost everybody I meet.
23) My wife is still laughing right now about #1.

So there you have it, folks. You now know everything you need to know about me. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week.

Happy New Year, everybody!

See you soon,


Copyright © 2013 Marc Schmatjen

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