One of the hardest (and least talked about) parts surrounding taking a new job and leaving your old one is how the people that you’ve shared your life with will no longer be around daily. This is the case with Michael Whittaker, a rad person who has been so much more than a co-worker to me. He is my partner in crime, the Batman to my Robin. He is my friend and I love him with all of my heart.
A brief background on Michael: He used to work in publicity for SST Records. For those that don’t know about SST Records, here’s a basic bio: They were started by Greg Ginn, who started the band Black Flag, who basically started the whole DIY (do it yourself) indie record label movement. That’s the important part of what you need to know. He’s also worked for A&M Records and is all sorts of plugged in to cool things around Portland, Maine and the rest of the world.
People love Michael and with good reason: he is extremely caring, attentive, and to put it bluntly…he gives a shit. He wants to see great things done in the world and inspire everyone to make the most of their lives.
Michael liberated my mind and taught me that anything is possible, especially in libraries. Wanna make music with teenagers on cassette tapes and synthesizers? Do it. Wanna hang out with teens, talk about their lives, and create connections above everything else? Do it. You have nothing to lose.
I want to put Michael into a box and ship him down to Chattanooga with me. That’s not possible, but damn, I wish it was.
Michael, time for me to get sappy: thank you for all that you have taught me. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for supporting my crazy ideas and at the same time adding even more insanity to them. Thank you for having crazy ideas. It is through you that I’ve learned how to be a better Justin Hoenke and Justin The Librarian. I won’t say “without you, I am nothing” but I will say this: “without you, I am a fraction of what I can be”. You are the best. I love you dude.