On this occasion of International Women’s Day, I’d like to say thanks to just a few of the women in my life. If you weren’t named here, don’t think it’s because I have nothing to thank you for, know that it’s more that I don’t have infinite time to thank you all.
My mother, Cindy Ramsey Casciato
Without this woman, I wouldn’t even have life. More than that, she raised me to be fair, open-minded, intellectually curious, and fierce in protecting the things I care about. In other words, she’s responsible for almost everything I consider my core attributes. (Except being an obnoxious, abrasive jerkface. I figured that out on my own.) Thanks for everything, mom!
My daughter, Eris Casciato
My daughter helped me figure out what is really important in life, and helped me grow up and become an adult. If she had never been born, I’d have probably spend most of my life trying to stay drunk; avoiding responsibility, ambition, or accountability; and ended up a loser and a disappointment. Instead, I’m semi-competent at being a decent human being, thanks to her inspiring me to get my shit together. In other words, she made my life worthwhile and gave me purpose. She is also cool beyond all measure. Thanks, Eris!
My wife, Abby Benson
My wife is my best friend, my constant companion, and an ever present joy. You know when people say “partner” to refer to their lover? She is genuinely my partner, in a way that no other woman I have ever been involved with before her ever was. She has my back, and I have hers. She is excellent at her things, and those things complement the things I am excellent at. She keeps me healthy and sane, and continually challenges me to be precise in the things that I say, honest about my feelings, and true to myself. She is also smokin’ hot. And she’s about to make me a dad for the second time, which is beyond wonderful. Thanks, Abby!
My sister in law, Anna Bjornson
For always, always calling me on my bullshit, because, let’s face it, someone has to do it. And she’s really fucking good at doing it in a way that I not only respect but value (even if occasionally I get a little butthurt about it). Also for exposing me to many wonderful new ideas throughout our years of knowing each other. Thanks, Anna!
Patricia Calhoun, editor of Westword
I had the wonderful good fortune to do my internship at Westword. That led to a four-year professional relationship with the paper that ended only when I got a full-time job that precluded me from writing for them simultaneously (city editor at The A.V. Club, my current job). I didn’t work closely with Patty often, but often enough. Quite simply, she showed me how this job should be done. She’s simply ruthless in chasing the truth, dispensing edits, and calling out stupidity wherever she sees it, and holy shit is that great. And she can edit and write at a higher level than anyone I have ever seen, and faster than I dreamt possible. She is simply excellent at her job, and one of my inspirations. Someday I hope to be half the writer and editor she is, and if I stop being such a slackass, I may even have a shot at it. Maybe. Regardless, she set the bar I strive for. Thanks, Patty!
That’s all I have time for, but there are so many other women I owe huge debts of thanks to, so let me just list a few names here: Sylvia Dawson, Lindsey Trout, Elizabeth Asscherick, Jude Buchanan, Tuyet Nguyen, Donnita Wong, Janelle Purcell, Dr. Sheila Rucki, Zoe Williams, Elizabeth Ramsey, Judy Ramsey, Giea Ramsey, Cammie Ramsey, Kara McQueen, Micole Smith, Erin Thompson, and many, many more. Thanks, I wouldn’t be who I am without you (but don’t worry, that doesn’t mean I blame you)!