11 - At the Core at Last: The Primordial Jew  pp. 132-140

At the Core at Last: The Primordial Jew

By William Ian Miller

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So i ask again: where amidst all these roles lies the true self, that core of authenticity, that real me behind the masks and veils, that authentic Bill Miller, not the guy who signs this book William Ian Miller? How I got the Ian long before that name became pretentiously fashionable is a story in itself, an innocent one of my dad doing honor to the Scotsman Ian McPhearson, who commanded the ship on which my dad served in the war. I was named after William Isidore Miller, my father's dead father, really Velvel or Villkela Yitzhak Miller in the Yiddish that was my namesake's native tongue. When you are Bill Miller there is always a good chance you will be sitting next to another one on the airplane; you get the mail of several others on your campus, and most recently you lost five years of accumulated frequent flyer miles because some other William Miller in Ann Arbor took a trip around the world on them. So you posture as William Ian Miller purely as a practical matter. But had my middle name been Seymour, I see you thinking, you would not be signing your books William Seymour Miller, would you? Spelling out that Ian, latching on to it as a veil of sorts, shows I know very well who and what I am at the core.

A Bowdlerized Jewish Joke

Maybe the core naked me lies in certain identities, ineradicable identities.


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