One in 2000: George Miller

George Miller ’09: simple man, simple pleasures. This week’s One in 2000 . . .

How are you?

Great. I had a great weekend. It was a really good Homecoming.

Yeah, for whatever reason, whether it was the weather or “GameDay” or all that schnapps I had in the morning, the vibe was so great yesterday. Everyone was in a good mood. Except for Amherst of course. Anyway, what’d you do?

Well, we got up at 7 a.m., painted our faces with lightning bolts in purple and yellow, I threw on my big purple and yellow wig . . . [He motions to a coagulation of purple and gold hair-like material about the size of a youthful grizzly bear]. . . and then we went down to “GameDay.”

Did you have a sign? Was it very intellectual? My personal favorite is the ol’ classic, “Williams plays a more aesthetically pleasing style of football than Amherst” from my sophomore year. I love cerebral heckles.

[laughing] No, no sign. I carried people instead. I lifted up my friends and they lifted up signs. One of my friends grabbed the “War is over if you want it” sign from outside of Spencer and tried to get it on camera, but one of the security guys came over and was like, “Hey, no anti-war protests . . . ”

Darn the man!

Yeah, but the best part was definitely seeing the alums who were there. I watched about 20 minutes of the football game, but seeing people was the best part.

Somehow the game wasn’t really that interesting because, uh, you know, Amherst scored, oh, zero points!

And rugby won too, which was amazing. One of my friends played on a healing separated shoulder and re-separated it. But it’s okay because he got a jersey.

The Amherst rugby jerseys are pretty too. Were you hung over this morning?

Nah, not too [badly]. I know a few tricks involving water and multivitamins. Were you?

Uh . . . yes. Let’s not talk about it. So . . . George, what exactly would you say you do here?

Hm, well . . . I do Chinese, I play squash, I do a bunch of community service – I’m big on that – oh, and, I like to cook.

What community service do you do?

The main thing I’m involved in right now is this organization called Berkshire Share. I’m one of the coordinators. We get super cheap groceries delivered direct from warehouses once a month – we call it D-Day – to a church in North Adams, where we distribute it to those who are in need. Actually, next Saturday is our biggest D-Day of the year because it’s right before Thanksgiving.

That is awesome. Which church in North Adams was that?

Oh, you know, the one with the steeple.

Right. Got it. So tell me about Chinese.

Ha, well, Chinese dominated my first two years at Williams. I started it when I came here kind of on a whim and now it’s my main major. I’m going abroad to China this spring and I spent this past summer in China.

Whoa. That’s mad China. What were you up to this summer?

I was on this summer program, Princeton in Beijing, otherwise known as “Prison in Beijing.”

Princeton’s whack!

Truth. In Beijing we were studying intensive Chinese language so we’d be inside all day in class. We would have four hours of class plus a one-on-one session with a prof. That was the saving grace though – the profs were all like 24-year-old women, so that made class more fun. We also spent three weeks traveling around the country though, which was awesome.

That’s baller. Where’d you go?

[skeptically] We went to seven cities . . . will you even have heard of most of them, never mind actually spelling them?

Hm, good point. Well how ’bout this then, did you see the Great Wall?

I did see the Great Wall.

Was it great?

It was great.

Was it a . . . oh, never mind. What was the coolest thing you saw in China?

We went to the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang. They’re this awesome Buddhist complex where there are all these sculptures carved into the mountainside and you could see where people had defaced them or re-carved them as the dynasties changed. They were started . . . uh . . . in BC.

Back in the day, huh?


Do you see yourself going anywhere with Chinese in the future?

Well, the goal is to become like Chinese pop star Wang Lee Hom. He graduated Williams in ’98 and learned Chinese here and now is a superstar in China. I saw his picture on water bottles when I was there. And . . . I have some of his music as well as a lot of other Chinese pop.

Is that a guilty pleasure or a serious academic interest?

Complete guilty pleasure.

Any parting words?

Einstein said, if one studies too zealously, one easily loses his pants. That’s my go-to phrase.

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