“When I poured the cinnamon into my crush’s mouth, she began choking violently.”

We, we made french toast that morning. It just felt like, it just felt like we're doing, like, these, these adult things. When you're 18 or 19, and for the first time, it's just at the outset of, of college, and you're like, buying food materials on your own, it feels so novel. Went out and bought a brand new thing of cinnamon for our French toast, and -- but, the same hand, you're still kids. Because I remember when we were done with, um, when we were done with breakfast that morning, we were -- again, were just kinda hanging out in my best friend’s kinda, like, basement apartment area that he had as a part of a bigger house that he shared with fellow college baseball players. Goofing around, and somehow, some way this, this girl that I had just met recently that I knew was gonna be so special in my life as long as I don't ruin it… We were goofing around. She was laying on the floor. I remember pouring -- what I was trying to do is pour bottled water into her mouth from like four feet in the air, like it, “This is kind of a cool trick, like look at us go.” It, it's so stupid. I don't know why. I don't know what compelled us to do that other than, like, flirting. It can be very strange for people. I guess, like, we just wanted to goof around with each other. And so I remember, though, I was doing the thing where I was pouring water into her mouth, and I looked to my right, and I saw the cinnamon that we had bought that morning for the French toast, and in my head I remember thinking like, “Cinnamon tastes so good in French toast, and it tastes so good in cinnamon bread. All the cinnamon I've tasted has tasted delicious in my life.” I said, “What if I do this girl a favor, and I, and I swap the water that I'm pouring into her mouth, and I just pour the cinnamon instead. So she gets, like, this tasty treat when she's not expecting it.” It turns out I'm an idiot. This is before the cinnamon challenge. So this was not widespread knowledge -- well, granted, it probably was widespread knowledge, but not for me. So, uh, when I poured…

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“Well, while this is happening the casket slips and now it’s tilted.”

My aunt, my son's great aunt, passed away, and she wanted all the nephews to be her pallbearers. And my son was 16 at the time, and he was a nephew, so he became a pallbearer. And I explained to him what pallbearers do, and he was like, "I gotta get in the grave?" And I said, "Heck no, you don't get in the grave. You just bring the, the casket to the grave and set it on a, a stand and they take care of it from there." Well, not my aunt. My aunt had the pallbearers put her in the grave. And then the funeral home director said, "Oh my gosh. She requested that her head be facing north and it's not." So they had to pull her out of the grave and flip the casket around and, and put the casket back in. Well, while this is happening, the casket slips and now it's tilted. And my son, bless his heart, he was 16 and a weightlifter and a football player and he was very well stacked. And he jumped in the grave and he held up the casket until they could get the ropes back around it. Climbed out of the grave dusting himself off. And they lowered my aunt into the ground. And I promised him that if he's ever a pallbearer again, that would not happen. My aunt, she was funny.

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“You can look across and see all the dots of where the luminaries are lighting the cemetery.”

I was in a cemetery on December 21st, 2023, for the winter solstice. I went to Kaleva, Michigan. They have a big Finnish population in Kaleva, and there is a Finnish tradition that you go to the cemetery on Christmas Eve and light luminaries and put them on the graves of your ancestors. Well, Kaleva decided that people were kinda busy on Christmas Eve usually, so they decided to change the tradition or make their own tradition to be the winter solstice, so the longest night of the year. So they have volunteers that come and light luminaries and place them on the graves all throughout the cemetery there. And it is a very large cemetery, and I think that they said that they light over a thousand luminaries now. And it was beautiful. So, it's obviously dark when you go. They start lighting them I think around four o'clock. And then by the time they're finished, it's dark and then you can either drive through the cemetery or get out and walk and see all of the, um, the graves kind of lit up by these luminaries, and you can look across and see all the dots of where the luminaries are lighting the, lighting the cemetery. So it was a pretty cool thing. I heard about it a long time ago, and I am not often, um, up north then, or in Michigan. I -- when I lived outside of Michigan, and if I, you know, when I came home for the Christmas holidays, I would usually get there, like, the 23rd, sometimes the 24th and very soon before Christmas. I normally didn't have that much time off work to be able to go sooner than, you know, a couple of days before the holiday, but this year I decided to take a little bit of time off before the holiday and was able to go up to Traverse, and then my mom and my sister and I who actually had flown in that day, like she flew -- er no, she had flew in the day before -- late the day before. And we were able to meet a friend of mine who I worked with when I lived in Muskegon. She lives in Manistee, but her husband's family is all from Kaleva, so they actually have ancestors in that graveyard. And we were able to find…

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“I am always and forever their Snow White.”

Tell us about a time you were able to dress up either in a costume or a fancy outfit... Oh, I get to dress up all the time. So one of the things that I love doing is volunteering to be a princess. So my theater group every year has princesses that they send to the fair, and I am always and forever their Snow White. So I have my Snow White dress which I bought myself because, um, I do it so much and so I can do princessing at other parties, and then I walk around and be the character. And I don't know if I can do the voice right now, but I can try to do it for you guys. "Hi!" No. Oh my gosh. "Hi! I'm Snow White. What's your name?" That's not exactly it because my voice is super hoarse from singing Love Story and “Since you've been gone, I can breathe for the first time" yeah... all day yesterday. And then doing a two hour vocal rehearsal after, but it was fun. Okay.

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“I don’t know how he did it, but he beat it, and he was wearing an Elmo suit.”

Tell us about a time that you got to dress up... During school spirit weeks, I really like to go all out, like, as much as I can at least. We had something -- like, it's like our homecoming week and like, most of us usually dress up. It's really fun. But there's one kid who's really, really, really good. He always has the best costumes. Like last year, we have something called “neon day”, and he came to school in like a literal neon green like, bodysuit. Like, covered his face, covered every single inch of him. And then he wore a green wig. So he went to school as a broccoli, which was kind of funny, but technically -- basically, he's really good. And so I wanted to beat him that year. And so I remember that one day we had, um, “dress up as a character”, and so I wanted to do a duo dress up with a friend of mine, and we were going to be going as the Good Witch and the Bad Witch from Wicked, and so I was going as the Good Witch. And so I had this cute little pink dress I was gonna wear, and then I did my makeup. I usually don't wear makeup because it takes a lot of time, and also my parents would probably not like that, and also it's just bad for my skin anyway. So that day I had done my makeup. I'd done my eyeshadow. I had a little glitter on my eye. It was really cute. And I mean, it was very poorly done, but I did my best and the dress was awesome. I had planned on going outside of my school to go find a stick that would work as a wand. I even made my own little tiara since I didn't have one, and I made it out of tin foil and it was a lot uglier than I wanted, but it wasn't horrible. I mean, like, it wasn't bad. It just looked more like something an alien princess would wear rather than the type of princess I was going for. And so I went to school and I was like -- what was I about to say? Oh, And so I got to school and I was like, "Yes. No one's gonna be able to beat this. This is…

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“I would probably win every single race, and it would make my life a lot simpler.”

Would you rather be as tall as a giraffe or as fast as a cheetah? I'd say I w- want to be as fast as a cheetah so I could run 80 miles per hour because I like to run a lot. The sport I play, which is soccer, includes a lot of running, and, um, at my school every year, there's this thing we do called mileage club where if you run around, like, a certain course that they made, you can get, like, a toy token after running, like, one mile. And they would probably think I'm cheating or something. But I think it would be a really cool ability to have 'cause it would be like kind of having super speed or something. But I really wouldn't wanna be as tall as a giraffe because, I don't know the actual height, but I'm guessing that's probably like 18.8 feet or something and I wouldn't really fit in any rooms at all. I mean, it would have, like, maybe a really long neck, but there's no uses for a really long neck. As a human, that is. I mean, they're awesome, but you don't really need them. But being as fast as a cheetah, I mean, I could run around and do stuff really fast. Like if I -- I would probably win every single race, and it would make my life a lot simpler. I wouldn't, I wouldn't really need, like, a bike or anything. I could just go noom, zoom down there. Plus, I wouldn't need a car, and maybe if I just grabbed something I could transport it with me. I dunno. I think it would be really cool. I, I could, I -- if my family was on, like, a road trip or something, I could go next to the, the car. I can get out of the car, go next to them on, like, the highway or something, if they're going, like, seventy miles an hour, and run alongside. Plus, I think it -- like I said earlier, it would just have some really handy life stuff, like going to school for instance. Um, like going to work, just, you know, going to places. But I don't know if being able to run fast makes the -- your hands move around fast, like super speed could. So yeah, I think that's all I'm…

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“To this day I cannot comprehend what was going on in that man’s mind when he decided to kill a bunch of people my age in my community.”

Note: There is language that is excluded in the transcript but not excluded in the audio. Finding out a classmate died is a jarring experience to say the least, and I cannot say – like, it's thrown me for a bit of a loop. I can't say I'm in like a state of grief, exactly. Like, he seemed like a nice guy, but again, I exchanged maybe five sentences with him over the past three years, like I don't – I don't know. Over the past three or four years. Like, I don't –  Like, I – it's, it's horrible. It's sad and I'm – I feel sad. I feel like – shocked, I feel whatever, but, you know, like, it, it doesn't – like I mean, it's not like this is gonna – you know. Again, it's not like this is gonna send me into a state of despair. At least not this particular death, I guess. There are certain aspects of the death that are freaking me the f*** out, but – and again, like, I don't mean to sound insensitive. I don't mean to sound – like I hope I don't – I don't mean to sound – like I – it's horrible. It is horrible, but like, you know, I cannot say that like I am gonna be the one – I guess, like, that's, that's the thing. Like, I am not going to be the one most deeply impacted by this. You know? This is not the death of a friend or a loved one. This is the death of a guy whose face I recognize, which, you know, is still horrifying and sad and – I – you know.  But, you know, like, again. There are a few things, I guess, like, my thoughts. Like how this is connected to my own – and I feel like, I feel like it's almost narcissistic to try to, you know, connect this to my own existential dread at this point. But this is what I'm thinking about. This is what it's caused. This is sending me into a little bit of a spiral at the moment. Um, if you can't tell by the kind of incoherent rambling, but, um, you know, like, on the one hand – Like, on the – one part of it is, is more or less some of the same stuff that…

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“But then they told me why there was no school, and it made me really sad.”

Today, I'm gonna be talking about what happened in 2023 on February 13th and how it impacted my life. From what I remember, on that day I was – so, I – when I got up in the morning and came to my parents, they told me that there was no school, so I was happy. But then they told me why there was no school, and it made me really sad, and a bit frightened, too. So, I'm pretty sure my family closed our blinds and stayed inside our house for that day. But I don't remember it perfectly. I know that I was pretty scared, and I was sad at the thought that some students had just gone to campus, um, from their home, and then never returned home. And I thought about how devastated those parents must have been. And I remember my friend telling to me that his brother, who was 13, I'm pretty sure, was on campus, like, at that time. But he didn't – my friend didn't really tell me any more details about that. And I guess when I heard the news that some of the people in the hospital who were there when the shooting happened – I mean, like, some of the people who got hurt, um, recovered well, and were back on their feet. I would just say that I guess it sparked a little hope. And now – um, and then I'm pretty sure a bit later, like maybe a month later, I heard that there was a shooter in the building – in like a school building in Texas, and I was just really hoping that my school could still be safe. And when the shooting happened here, and not in Texas, um I know – I think she wanted school shut down. But what really was the worst about it – well, what really made it so bad (which, it was) was that normally in [town name], everyone is, like, safe. And nothing really bad happens. Or if it does it's pretty minor. But I assume that in some places it's not quite as big of a deal, of a deal. But here it really was, and I was really sad that that happened. And I was thankful that – um, that only three people died and – when it could have been more. But, I was…

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“I couldn’t really talk about the shooting if I didn’t talk about trauma in general and how it affects people.”

Note: There is language that is excluded in the transcript but not excluded in the audio. I've been thinking about this a lot and I felt that I couldn't really talk about the shooting if I didn't talk about just trauma in general and how it affects people. Because whether you were on campus or not, whether you were someone who were acquainted with the victims of the violence or not, you -- if you are a member of, you know, people who go to MSU, people who have to come to campus, people who have to be, you know, on site, then it's affected you, I think. I tried to tell myself that it didn't, but I think it did. So I guess when I think about trauma, it's hard to think about trauma in any sort of real sense. I feel like -- I have to put this somewhere. I feel like when someone experiences trauma... Okay, maybe I shouldn't -- it's not an objective thing. It's a very subjective thing. When I experience trauma, when I think about the trauma that I've had in my life, it's like this invisible string. A very fine string is just -- like it's wrapped around my body, just kind of entangling me. And it feels at first like a surge of adrenaline. Like, "Oh my God. Oh my God. I gotta get out. I gotta get out. I gotta be safe. This is not safe. I need to be safe. This is not safe. What do I do? What do I do? Oh my God. What do I do?" And it can almost feel -- I -- it almost feels euphoric just because it's so much energy and maybe I'm not used to having that much energy and adrenaline. Sorry, I'm pausing a lot. But anyway, yeah, if you've been traumatized, maybe it feels the same way. That's what it felt like for me. Like, initial trauma. The thing is, people don't often -- they're not lucky like that. We don't just get traumatized once and that's it. It's easy to say, like, people get desensitized to things. But we don't. We can pretend, but we really don't. You don't get desensitized to traumatic things. You might want -- you wish -- we all wish we could get desensitized to these things, but we don't. I'm sorry. I'm getting a…

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“It really touched me that he kind of acknowledged that we’re coming up on the anniversary of that event.”

I went to a concert last Wednesday. And it was Yo-Yo Ma, an incredibly famous cellist, who -- surprisingly, not everyone I've talked to has heard of him. But yeah, Yo-Yo Ma and a famous violinist and pianist who I hadn't really heard of were all playing at the Wharton center on Wednesday, and I was very excited. Had a whole fiasco with tickets that I will talk about later, but the important thing is all three of them when they came out on stage were wearing baseball caps with the Spartan logo on them. And yeah, Yo-Yo Ma was like, "Go Green!" and everyone was like, "Go White!" Um, and then in between the first piece and the second piece, Yo-Yo Ma talked a bit about, like, "Spartan Strong" and, you know, touched on, you know, him caring about what happened on the 13th. And I thought that was really sweet that this famous guy who travels all around the world playing his cello, he's incredibly skilled -- that he cares about this university that I go to, that my friends go to, that -- yeah. It really touched me that he kind of acknowledged that we're coming up on the anniversary of that event.

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