Tim Miller, 6th Grade

Today’s school lunch was chicken sandwich. My kid’s favorite. So we drove by the school to try for something, anything, that had even the slightest shred of normalcy.

It came with carrots and a carton of milk. Which took me back….

In 6th grade, my dad put me on the milk plan at Wilmot Junior High. One the first day of school, at lunch, I walked into the cafeteria and followed other kids to the Milk Line. I waited until it was my turn at the Milk Desk, and told a big scary 8th grader, let’s call him Plish, “Tim Miller, 6th grade.” He gave me a milk and checked my name off the list.

I did the same thing the next day. And the day after that. And every day of 6th grade.

The other kids figured it out. There weren’t all that many kids—this was after all the golden era of Capri Sun. After about a week or so, the Plishster had it down. He already knew all the 8th graders. Besides, you don’t become Milk Chief without some skillz upstairs.

The face, the name. White or chocolate. Next. It was very orderly. Kids waited, maybe smiled or said ‘Thank you” and the Plishmaster checked them off. And his lowly, un-named assistant would hand over the milk. But not me.

“Tim Miller, 6th Grade.”

I like to think it was a bright spot in ol’ Plishdiddy’s day. He looked at me sort of like Ryan from the Office. Exactly like that. He would wait for it. Lean in a little. Sometimes ask me to repeat, just to be sure. Sometimes he went with a preemptive strike. “By any chance are you Tim Miller, 6th Grade?”

Sometimes the Plishmaster would see me in the hallway and say, “Hey, look. It’s Tim Miller. 6th Grade.”

Ahh, those were the days.

My middle daughter Mia doesn’t like chocolate milk. For some reason she thinks the 18 grams of sugar make it too sweet.

“Do you want it?” my wife asked.

“Sure,” I said. But I couldn’t drink it. I couldn’t even open it. Something was holding me back. Then I said, “Tim Miller, 6th Grade.” It went down so smooth. Nothing says school lunch like chocolate milk.

20 minutes of my life I can’t get back

FROM: Tim Miller <timmiller26@gmail.com>9:21 PM
TO: p———–@hotmail.com
cc: m————@SDwritersink.com
Subject: Oops

Hi P-,
So this is embarrassing. Needless to say I had some issues dragging and dropping my query letter into the Google Drive folder for our SD Writers INK query letter class. (Actually, this whole thing started when I first accidentally dragged and dropped a folder of mine labelled “Budget”…I guess this is one reason not to have such a messy desktop…) Anyway, when I tried to delete my budget or at least get it into the trash so people don’t know much I spend each month on gas, I accidentally, somehow, moved your document The Infinite Wow Query Letter into the Trash. And, despite my best efforts, for some reason, I can’t move it back.

I’m very sorry! Hopefully you should have no issues restoring the document to the folder. I cc’d our instructor M- if for some reason you can’t retrieve it perhaps she can help since she created the folder. Well, I guess that about covers it.




  1. Things I never thought I would say: “This bowl cabinet is justing getting out of control.”

2. Realized the other day that, after all these years, I’ve had the expression “off-putting” all wrong. Which explains all the blank stares people have returned when I’ve snapped at them, saying, “Hey! Take that back. You’re way off-pudding.” Life will never be same.

3. And finally, thank you to all those readers out there that take a moment to write in saying that they enjoy the blog and it brightened up their day. (You can drop me a line, send me a question, or offer a topic at timmiller26@gmail.com). So I thought I would close this post with a response to Kyle out in Wyoming.

Kyle- thank you for your email. I know very little about kitchen faucets and can’t comment on the touchless kitchen faucet or the likelihood that it buying it for your dad would make it less likely that he will get the corona virus since he picks his nose a lot. I think you should probably tell him that he shouldn’t pick his nose, but maybe you already have. Good luck.

Yes, Mia, Leprechauns Can Get The Corona Virus

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s day. Somewhere along the line, my older daughters have come to believe that leprechauns exist, joining the realm of Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.

There are two sides to this belief: 1) that leprechauns will bring you treats with green-frosting, chocolate, toys, etc. and 2) that leprechauns are to be feared because they will pinch you if you aren’t wearing green.

It was after bedtime. They thought they heard something. They were scared. They wanted me to lay with them.

“You know,” I said, prone on the floor, “leprechauns are like everyone else. They have to stay inside so they don’t spread the virus.”

“No! It’s not true,” Mia, age 5 wailed. “Leprechauns can’t get the virus.”

That’s when I said it. Not unlike the famous “Yes, Virginia,” editorial from 1897.

“Yes, Mia, leprechauns can get the the corona virus.”

THAT GUY #1: The Chuck Berry Reference in “Back To The Future”

Marty McFly duckwalking his way through “Johnny B. Goode” at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance might be the greatest movie rock and roll performance of all time. There’s so much to enjoy in the scene….except there’s just one little, teensy-weensy detail which I will now point out because today I’m being THAT GUY.

I’m referring, of course, to when the lead guitar player Marvin Berry calls his cousin, who doesn’t at first recognize him (very plausible for the many-Marvin 1950’s) and exposes him to “that new sound” he’d been looking for. A 2017 Forbes article by Allen St. John, written after Berry’s death, points out the obvious problem: the implication that Berry ripped off his signature riff from a white suburban teenager. “A backhanded compliment at best,” St. John wrote.

St. John also wrote: “Now BTTF is a time travel movie and if you start thinking too much about layers of who learned what from whom and when, it’ll give you a migraine.”

Which is where, as THAT GUY, I sharply disagree with St. John’s assessment of what constitutes migraine thinking. For example, washing the dishes while your two year-old listens to “Let It Go” on repeat, while ALSO playing with an Elsa doll that sings “Let It Go”…now that is a recipe for a migraine. This shouldn’t even come close to a headache.

The main problem, aside from the “diss,” is the Space-time continuum theory that Dr. Emmet Brown so eloquently described to Marty when he first arrived in 1955. According to this theory, it simply isn’t possible that Chuck Berry got his inspiration from the Enchantment Under The Sea dance, as opposed to T-Bone Walker. “Great Scott!” Doc Brown might exclaim, at the very notion that a phone call from Berry’s cousin Marvin provided the spark of innovation (as opposed to years of honing his trademark riffs in St. Louis clubs playing, as Berry himself called it, “hill-billy rock” — blues and country and teenage Americana whipped together like a milkshake).

So here’s the part St. John, who likely has not heard “Let It Go” more than 10,000 times, claims would cause a migraine. BTTF Part One basically features two timelines. The Loser McFly and The Winner McFly, which begins in the “second” 1955, after George McFly knocks out Biff. (The first 1955 being when George is hit by Lorraine’s father’s car.) The Loser McFly timeline features “the first” 1985, with a Loser Marty learning to play guitar and in doing so, listening to classic songs like “Maybellene”, “Roll Over Beethoven”, and “Rock and Roll Music”. Loser Marty basically steeped himself in, as Dylan referred to Berry, “the Shakespeare of rock and roll.”

Loser Marty could not have been steeping himself in music that originated from the guitar of his future self: Winner Marty. He hadn’t traveled back in time yet. Only the entire universe would be destroyed if he did. So where did Loser Marty really pick up that riff? Not from himself, which might represent some form of rock song inspirational DNA being passed along through an incestuous space time continuum of masturbation.

It’s that simple. Now it might…MIGHT approach a slight headache if we were to discuss how rock and roll music itself might be radically different in the new, Winner McFly 1985; or how Loser Marty could travel back to 1955, then “Back To The Future”, and just take his place at the breakfast table in an altered space time continuum (as evidence by the Winner McFly house etc.). Like didn’t the Winner George and Winner Lorraine McFly have intercourse and reproduce a new Winner Marty, that would have had an entirely different upbringing that might not have led to a crippling loser McFly self-doubt that could be channeled into learning guitar riffs? If the BTTF writers were really following all the plot lines, there should have been some type of Marty confrontation: the Loser/Winner Marty vs. New Marty, the offspring of the Winner McFlys. And then, at the end of BTTF Part One, when Doc Brown flies to the new 1985 from new 2015, what if he encounters New Marty, that has never met Doc Brown because he has spent his childhood in advanced, scholastic, gifted after-school and summer programs? The entire trilogy would need to be rewritten…

I guess I could see how that last paragraph might be approaching the area of thinking that might, sort of, give you a headache. This is probably too long for a blog anyway. I guess St. John was right. I just, you know, thought someone should point out the discrepancy. I didn’t want to do it myself. So I adopted this convenient new alter ego. Don’t blame me. Blame THAT GUY.

Introducing a new word: CHUSBAND

This one is for the married men out there. We need a new word in the English language. And that word is chusband. And it means…wait for it…life.

This is what it would look like in the dictionary:

Chus-band /chɘzbɘnd/ noun life.

If we all band together and use it regularly, inconspicuously, in everyday conversations, it’s bound to catch on. Here are some sample phrases to get the ball rolling:

It’s a shame you dropped that piece of bacon. But you know what they say, chusband goes on.

Did you hear they found new evidence of extraterrestrial chusband on Mars? I guess like some specks of ice or something. Far out, huh?

Feet up. Cold beverage. Now, isn’t this the chusband?

I don’t often eat Mexican in back-to-back meals, but that’s chusband in the fast lane for you.

Let’s get in and out of Costco as fast as we can, as if our very chusband depends on it.

I don’t care for spicy food. (With raised eyebrow) My real appetite is for chusband.

Aren’t my daughter’s thirty-seven flower and sun drawings beautiful? It’s like they say, art imitating chusband.

He was in the hospital and it wasn’t going well. It was a matter of chusband and death. And you know what they say, chusband’s too short.

Did you paint your shutters? It’s like you breathed new chusband into the front of your house.

No one even knew I was in the blanket fort. For hours. I was having the time of my chusband.

There, that should be enough to get us started.

If all goes according to plan, in a year or two, when our wives turn to us in the doorway before heading out to the nail salon and say, “happy wife, happy life,” we’ll be able to counter with “yeah, well, happy husband, happy chusband.” Then, at long last, we’ll be able to live out the chusband of our dreams.

Imaginary Swim Results— Medal Round

Recently, while I was stirring away at Mac ‘n cheese, I heard a loud smack and it came to my attention that Mia (age 5) was upset with Mazey (age 8). As it escalated into scribbling on artwork I intervened, skillfully, by yelling at them both to stop. Later, I discovered the source of the conflict. Mia was unhappy with the results of Mazey’s imaginary swim contest. Understandably so.

First Place: Bunny

Second Place: Gumdrop

Third Place: Blank-blank

Fourth Place: Mia

DNP: Waddles

DNP: Delaney (age 2)

12 Things To Say To Dampen The Mood In The Delivery Room

  1. Congratulations on your new baby! Also congratulations on never sleeping in again! Even on Saturdays. Especially on Saturdays. Even when your birthday is on Saturday. Especially when your birthday is on Saturday.
  1. I’m so happy for you! But no so happy for the millions of perfectly healthy adoptable children in third world countries that you’ve forsaken.
  1. Wow. The first breath of Life. It’s a miracle. Really special. But what about the rest of the breaths from here on out? I just looked it up and the average person that lives to 80 will breathe 672,768,000 breaths in a lifetime. That’s millions and millions of them that will use up precious oxygen and spew yet even more carbon dioxide into the existential threat that is our warming atmosphere. Still think your newborn’s breathing is a special miracle? Yeah, not so much. Congratulations on making another suckhole. But I’m glad you’re happy. Your happiness. That’s what’s important.
  1. Those first few moments with your newborn are so precious. You know what won’t be precious from now on? Vacations. Terrible. The worst. Airplanes. Hotel rooms. Restaurants. It’s a nightmare. All that manufactured fun when you’re just tired and pissed off. It’s the pits. We just went to Hawaii. Sure, it was nice. What wasn’t so nice was lugging carseats through the airport or getting kids and strollers through security, I mean have you even given a thought to what that process is like? Just getting there was exhausting. And let me throw in a little visual: an educational tour of a plantation when it’s super hot and all the snacks are gone and the complaining is like an ice pick in your eardrum. Do you think anyone gives a rat’s ass, at this point, about how to cut open a coconut? 
  1. Peek-a-boo is a great game to play with your new baby. You know a great game to play with your partner? Spread a bunch of rakes around the living room and take turns running around and getting smacked in the face.
  1. Here is a sweet song you can sing: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage. After that it’s an endless stream of bickering with your spouse about myriad subject matter ranging from dishes to diapers to who’s turn it is to rock the baby to sleep at 3 AM to why book club and girl’s night have to be on back-to-back nights?
  1. Birth is a time to say hello, but also goodbye. For example, now would be a good time to say goodbye to your peace of mind. Here, let’s practice. You try thinking of things you need from the grocery store and I will shout “Mommy” every four seconds.
  1. You know how they say Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth? Well, judging by these smiles, I would say right now, it’s this delivery room. But you know what will be the Happiest Place On Earth pretty soon? Your bathroom, where you can lock yourself inside for thirty minutes and watch random Youtube videos as your feet fall asleep.
  1. Your baby is an absolute dream. Speaking of dreams, I hope you’ve already achieved yours. Because otherwise we’re talking about a real uphill climb. And by hill I mean like Everest or El Capitan or both of them combined into El Neverest Capitan. Like it’s not going to happen. Like that bloody umbilical cord might be symbolical right about now.
  1.  Isn’t life a miracle? So is paying for college. If I were you, I would get out of this hospital ASAP and start saving. I’m not kidding. Even little things like that apple juice and crackers on your tray. It all adds up and it’s gonna cost you a fortune. An arm and a leg. A fortune of golden arms and silver legs. A lot.
  1. It’s so sweet how you just gazed into your baby’s eyes and said, “I love you with all of my heart and I always will.” In about four years you’re going to gaze backwards, with yogurt and snot all over your yoga pants, while making a cheese sandwich without the crust and shout towards the bathroom “Do your very best job to get all of the poopy out!”
  1. That was some delivery. When do you think you’ll have sex again? I mean, it’s going to be like months, maybe years….