My friend Susan Mernit has been enthusiastically chronicling the rapidly spreading 25 Things Meme on Facebook.  I’d been succesfully avoiding it, but this weekend, I was tagged four separate times.  Begrudgingly, I oblige…

  1. I’m not really a curmudgeon.  I just play one on the Internet.
  2. I drink more coffee than is healthy.  Two cups in the morning before work.  I take a full travel mug plus a three cup thermos to work with me.  I refill in the afternoon.  I drink my coffee black.  The worst thing that has happened in 2009 is the closing of the Starbucks downstairs from my office.
  3. I was the sickly asthmatic kid when I was little.  Twice a week allergy shots.  Trips to ER for bad asthma attacks.  They used to give you an epinephrine shot for quick relief, followed by a suspherine shot to hold you over for 24 hours.  I went to a special camp for asthmatics when I was a kid.  We had scheduled medicine breaks for those of us who needed our breathing machine treatments.  My college friends would later refer to this as “wheezy kids camp.”
  4. Regardless, I played goalie for our high school soccer team and attack and midi for our high school lacrosse team.  My coach would hold my puffer during the games.  My junior year, I was the last player selected for the lacrosse all-star team.  I got about 3 minutes of playing time during the all-star game.  My parents were proud nonetheless.
  5. I almost didn’t graduate high school on time.  I slacked off my final semester of English and failed to complete a paper.  I spent the first two weeks of that summer doing a report on Tess of the D’Urbervilles as make up work.  The experience taught me that no matter how smart you think you are, you still have to show up and put in the work to be successful.  Oh, and you’re not as smart as you think you are.
  6. I have run three marathons.  Finishing my first marathon was simultaneously the best and worst I have ever felt at any particular moment.  My best time is a 4:16.  My worst time is a 4:19.  I’m very consistent.
  7. I used to be good at math.  I finished all of my high school math courses by my junior year and got an 800 on my math SAT.
  8. I spent summers growing up taking college level classes through a program run by Johns Hopkins called CTY.  My brother called it Nerd Camp.  Between 7th and 10th grades, I took paleobiology, trigonometry and advanced algebra, computer science, and mathematical logic and reasoning.
  9. My dad taught me how to be a geek.  When I was in elementary school, I could program in BASIC, use a slide rule, and do calculations in base 16.  I can do none of those things anymore.
  10. My mom taught me how to be social.  She is always the first in and last out at a party.  I feel perfectly comfortable showing up by myself to an event where I know nobody.  If you just walk up and introduce yourself, most people are more than happy to endure a brief conversation with you.
  11. I have been laid off three different times.  The first time was a week after we got back from our honeymoon.  Not the start I was looking for.
  12. The last time I was laid off, I twittered about it.  This led to my fifteen minutes of fame when my story was covered by the blogosphere, the LA Times, the NY Times, CNN and a host of other media who for some reason found it compelling.  I still get media inquiries to talk about layoffs.  I just did an interview on NPR last week, nearly a year after the fact.  I regret that my fifteen minutes wasn’t for something more constructive than getting laid off, like inventing something.
  13. I took ballet for three months in junior high.  Kimberly and Jennifer talked me into it.
  14. My grandfather is one of my biggest heroes.  I named my son after him.  Rest in peace, Papa Jack.
  15. My dad is my other biggest hero.  He taught me how to be a good husband and a good father.  But there was no way I was naming my son Stanley.
  16. I have a sense of humor that is sometimes hard to understand.  For some people, I come across as arrogant when in reality, I’m sarcastically self-deprecating.  Or maybe I’m just arrogant.  Fortunately, my wife gets me and she loves me anyways.
  17. I will eat anything once.  Although the last time I was in Beijing, I had spicy fish that put me in the hospital.  Note to self:  Lay off the spicy fish.
  18. Once after coming home from a business trip to Germany, I somehow came down with viral meningoencephalitis.  I thought I was having a stroke.  The paramedics thought it was a drug overdose.  I spent two weeks in ICU and another six at home taking daily anti-viral IVs.  The brain is a weird organ.
  19. I started my first business in second grade.  I sold re-usable points charts with pictures of vikings on them that I made in PrintShop.  I sold them to other kids for points.  I ended up getting a lot of perks in second grade.
  20. I’m a startup junkie.  I want to build businesses.  I’m working on several right now.  One is currently making money, one we’re bootstrapping, and one we’re looking for investors.  My biggest problem is the number of hours in the day.  I love being my own boss, but the unsteady income is a stresser.   Despite this, I believe that ultimately I will be more successful relying on my own hard work and creativity than on someone else for my income.
  21. I’m happy with the  Google results page if you search for “Ryan Kuder.”  I think it’s important for your name to Google well in today’s professional environment.  I’m also proud of the fact that I show up on the first page if you search for, “2008 sucked,” and “today was a crazy day.”
  22. I’m very bad at personal correspondence.  I’ve done a suboptimal job of staying in touch with the people who are important to me.  I’m working on this.  Facebook helps.
  23. My favorite job as “Daddy” is coaching my daughter’s soccer team.  Last season we finished 1-11 and I couldn’t be prouder of them.
  24. I met and fell in love instantly with my wife at a labor day pool party at our friend Kara’s house ten years ago.  Before I ever met her, I saw a picture of Mandy at Kara’s house and I knew I had to meet her.  The caption on the photo was “Mandy Marshall is a hottie.  Nicole Pickard is a hottie.  Kara Kocal dates gangsters.”  Mandy is a hottie, although Kara’s husband is not a gangster (as far as I know).
  25. I like to teach my kids things.  Usually these things are more like stupid pet tricks than anything they’ll find useful later in life.  And usually this results in Mandy telling me that I’m going to take “years of undoing,” as the kids grow up.

If you’re one of the people I tagged, I’m sorry.  You know what to do.  And if you don’t know what to do, you probably wouldn’t post anything anyways.  But in all seriousness, it’s kind of fun.  If you get tagged, just post a note (or a blog or whatever) with 25 Things about you and tag a few other people.