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Journals of an Insane Genius -- February 1999

Once again my credentials have been challenged. I've been posting these journals on the Internet in hopes of getting some feedback. In the past I've described myself as a soldier, scholar, engineer, and beer drinker. I can document all of these. I am also certified SCUM (yes, I do have a certificate). The last challenge was in October when someone doubted my claim of being a SuperGenius. All I had to do was flash my Mensa card to settle that one. But the most recent is from a person that read my journal entry from November of 1996 where I describe the first time (it's happened more than once) that I fell off of my bicycle. This is the line that they refuse to believe:

"Summoning the courage that will be legend to future generations I flew into the intersection with the war cry of my northern tribe sending waves of fear through the bewildered motorists."

The challenge has to do with my claim of belonging to a northern tribe and whether there actually is a "war cry". People that know a bit of my history are aware that I grew up in Flint, Michigan and assume that this is what I'm talking about. A good guess, but not exactly. You see, my father *is* a Viking.

Of course, I don't expect anyone to take my word for it. In 1990 my father, being a good citizen, filled out and returned his census survey. For "ancestry" he entered Welsh Viking. About three months after mailing his survey he received a phone call. Since my dad doesn't have any friends like Linda Tripp I am unable to provide a transcript of the conversation. The following is close enough:

Census worker: "Mr. Miller do you mind if we ask you a question about your survey?"

My dad: "Not at all."

Census worker: "About the wood burning stove, is it upstairs or downstairs?"

My dad: "Upstairs."

Census worker: "Okay, that's all we needed to know."

My dad: "Anything else I can help you with?"

Census worker: "Nope, that covers everything."

My dad: "Glad I could help."

So not only did he claim an ancestry of Welsh Viking, the survey was reviewed by an official of the United States Bureau of the Census. Anyone seeking to investigate further is welcome to peruse the census data made available at http://www.census.gov on the Internet. Keep in mind however that information submitted on individual returns is not made public for 72 years from the date it was taken, 2062 in this case.

If you're still not convinced then allow me to submit the following: my dad built his own "Viking Table". You may need a little history here. My dad raised 5 sons. When he remarried it was to a woman with 5 children of her own. In terms of grandchildren I am the sole holdout, the others have produced 22. Obviously holiday dinners are never small. Several years ago my nephew Bradley asked my dad if he would ever be big enough to sit at the "grown up" table. With epic visions of the Viking Table already developing in his mind my dad told him that he would be big enough the following year.

Great ideas always need time to be developed, my dad refers to this process as "mulling it over". Eleven months later he finished mulling. "We need to stop by the lumber yard to pick up a few things", he told my mom. "What kind of 'things'?", she asked. "Oh, you know, a couple hinges, some brackets, some four by sixes, just odds and ends really". The lumberyard closed early that day.

I recently asked my dad how he knew what the correct dimensions for a Viking Table were. He told me several factors needed to be considered. First, it had to be large enough so that there could be a full place setting on each side with plenty of room in the middle for huge serving trays. There also needed to be enough clearance between the wall and the back of the chair of a person seated at the table so that it would not be necessary to scoot the chair in if someone wanted to walk behind them. Finally, it should be tall enough so that your arms rest comfortably on the surface of the table when you are seated (none of this 'elbows off the table' nonsense at Viking Feasts). Precise measurements of the largest room in the house revealed that the dimensions of the Viking Table should be 12 and a half feet long, 4 feet wide, and 2 feet 4 inches high. In other words 50 square feet of tabletop for your dining pleasure.

After purchasing the materials he felt that he needed to mull over the production methods he would utilize. With less than a week before Thanksgiving he finished the second round of mulling. He excitedly demonstrated how each component (legs, cross braces, tabletop) would be manufactured to my mother. Then he pointed out that since the "detail work" was done and that she was a retired toolmaker it only made sense that she work on the implementation of these pieces. "*Bad word* *bad word* *very bad word*", she replied.

All of the components were cut out with a full two days before Thanksgiving left to spare. "Did I mention that we need to sand all of these pieces before assembling them", he asked my mother. "*Bad word* *bad word* *extremely bad word used in a humorous context* *bad word*", she suggested. Assembly was completed the night before Thanksgiving.

There were twenty-two people over for the feast that year. For the first time everyone, including Bradley, sat at the table. There was plenty of room to spare.

As for the "war cry of my northern tribe", it really does exist. You will have to keep in mind that these oral traditions are handed down from generation to generation and that there always exists a possibility that the current war cry no longer resembles the original that struck fear into the hearts of enemies on the battlefield. But I stand behind what I wrote about the events in 1996. Just ask yourself this, if you were sitting in your car while waiting at a red light and suddenly saw a bicycle rider approaching at a speed normally only attained by theoretical particles, and this person was screaming, "Lreedle eedle eedle deedle", wouldn't your initial reaction be a combination of fear and bewilderment? Back to Journals of an Insane Genius


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