Halloween Traditions in the Millerverse

One of the most endearing things about my girlfriend, Elizabeth, is how deep into her family’s Eastern European roots she is. In fact, her father taught a class on Slavic Cultures in my high school. Perhaps it’s seeing someone I hold in such high regard being so involved in their own family’s histories, but I’ve been inspired to delve more deeply into mine. 

As luck would have it, I’ve come across some information about how the first seeds of my family tree celebrated their All Hallow’s Eve. While my family is primarily of German descent, our Miller lineage isn’t defined by the political makeup of European borders. Some of these traditions won’t make sense, considering contemporary European Halloween customs.

From my fingers to your eyes, the celebratory customs of the Miller family, as practiced in the Old Country:

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We

Such a powerful word, “We.” Two letters, one syllable, and yet it has one of the most powerful context usages in the English language. We, while visually innocuous, speaks volumes when used in the correct sentence. Perhaps it’s because I wield language as both a sword and a shield, but I think a lot about the words we use, and how they too can be used as a sword and a shield. No word is as much of a Swiss Army Knife as “we.”

“We” is the defeat of solitude. Saying “we” conjures strength in numbers. “We” is the stark absence of loneliness. “We” is a first-world army against the militia forces of “I.” “We” could be as simple as two, or be as vast as a cast of thousands. “We” is Nirvana to those who dwell in “I.”

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Five Books I Loved Reading in High School (That I Would Have Never Admitted at the Time)

Being a bibliophile with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) comes with a unique set of challenges. First, the books have to be the kind of book that grips me from the beginning and stimulates dopamine production in a big way. Second, if someone tells me I have to read a book, I have absolutely no desire to read it whatsoever. I’m sure you can see how reading assignments in high school were a challenge.

I’ve always had a desire to be well-read and I am for the most part. The struggle with ADHD, and trying to cope with the disorder while it isn’t being properly managed, is that people who aren’t aware of the affliction may think I was just a slacker. When getting a reading assignment, I wanted to devour the work, but executive dysfunction wouldn’t allow me. When you struggle with wanting to be something, and your body not allowing you to do so, you develop defense mechanisms. One of my biggest ones was aversion to authority. If I gave the impression that I was going to buck against authority, no one would be surprised when I did, and I wouldn’t let anyone down.

For this week’s blog, I wanted to share five books I loved reading in high school (or was told to, read them later in life, and kicked myself for not enjoying them at the time) that I would never admit when I was being assigned the reading — because I wanted people to see me as anti-authority.

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A Steamy Satire: No Receipt, No Surrender

I don’t know if I’ve told you all this yet or not, but I’m kind of an idiot. Not an idiot as in stupid, but I don’t take much of anything seriously, and I can usually find something to laugh at in just about anything. You want proof? I laughed during my own mother’s funeral …in my defense, the CD player broke before it could play my mom’s favorite song, and her black cloud was legendary. 

I was recently watching episodes of “Big Mouth” on Netflix and there was an episode when two guys were going to write a screenplay for an adult film based on their occupation. Idiot mode engaged. I decided to take my favorite art form, satire, and apply it to a work situation. Mama always taught me to laugh at tough situations and sometimes people are tough to deal with. For your reading enjoyment: a short story about a workplace encounter.

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Final Exam: 80’s & 90’s Cultures

Before wanting to be a writer, I wanted to be many things. At one point, I wanted to be a teacher – not because I was excited about educating children – mostly because I wanted to watch them suffer. I always wanted to be that wiseass teacher that had tests that were complete mindf***s.

As an observer of society at current, I have seen things that have made my hair grow, then curl, then fall out all over again. I saw a video of someone referring to the band N*Sync as “N S Y N C.” I’m not going to lie: I tried to pickle my brain to get rid of that realization.

To cleanse my brain of such atrocities, I have decided that if I ever did become a teacher, or professor, I’d teach 80’s and 90’s cultures. For this week’s blog, I decided to share my final exam with you all. Please post your test results in the comments and share with your friends to see if they’d pass Mr. Miller’s class.

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