One in 2000: Helena Johnson

Dorm: Carter 44 B

Hometown: Concord, NH

Hometown hero: Bob Tewksbury

Favorite Play: Guys and Dolls

Favorite work of literature in a foreign language: Die Verwandlung, by Franz Kafka

Favorite unprintable curse word: [’sblood!]

Favorite website within the Williams community:

Favorite five albums: “Saturday Night Fever;” Die Fantastischen Vier, “Vier Gewinnt;” Fettes Brot, “Auf Einem Auge Blöd;” Björk, “Post;” Madonna, “The Immaculate Collection.”

-Tell me something about yourself that most people wouldn’t know.

I got sixteen stitches in my forehead in fifth grade after I was hit with a bat during a softball game.

-Speaking of stitches, your knee is kind of in tough shape there, Helena.

Why yes, Nat. I fell on a rock during the twenty-mile run that the ski team does before homecoming. I fell on mile 8 and then walked five miles to the road crossing, found these random hunters – illegally poaching deer because rifle season doesn’t start for another week, but you know, you don’t mention that. So we got a ride down in this car with a pistol next to the driver, three or four hunting rifles in the back seat. So I felt very safe. The pistol was in case she saw something out the window. That’s what her husband said. There were two guys and one of the guys’ wife, and the two guys were going to go hunting, and they said, “Oh yeah, make sure you keep the pistol next to you in the seat in case you see something out the window on the way down.”

-Did you ever participate in a science fair?

No. I’ve just taken my three Div. III classes here – Astro 101: thumbs up. Compsci 134: thumbs down. If you average it out, you get my Math 105 grade.

-Titanic. Loved it or hated it?

I liked it. I’m a sucker for sappy movies. And the special effects were cool, although there weren’t enough explosions. I mean, the entire thing could have gone up if they weren’t too concerned with historical accuracy.

-Do you think that your Williams education consists primarily in academic learning or in the attainment and accrual of civic virtues, future business contacts etc.?

That’s next year, when I try to sell out to The Man. But this year I’m pretty much concentrating on work. You learn “useless” things in the classroom. Like today I learned Hegel’s dialectic, which is interesting in a sense, but then you know, this weekend I learned that you have to wait a really, really long time to get into -Wood, and is it really worth it?

-I know what you’re saying.

So I guess it’s kind of one of those things that kind of melds together, like Hegel, so you have a thesis, and antithesis, and finally a synthesis. Or an Aufhebung.

-Do you feel that Williams is over-bureaucratized, or do you feel that all the administration we have is necessary and useful?

Incredibly over-bureaucratized. There are two people for every job. There are certainly more people working here than they need, but things get done pretty fast, so in that sense it’s good. I mean, it’s a socialist state. That was Prof. Kohut’s theory, that Williams is the ideal socialist state. You have free health care; you have Security kind of checking, knocking on the door, making sure everything’s going well. You have “Freedom of Speech,” but it all gets controlled. You know, WCFM is terrified of the FCC, the Record is worried about whatever the Record is worried about. You have people watching out for you, like the Deans. There’s communal living; everyone’s equal. If you want a job you can get one; you have guaranteed employment. And you pay really, really high taxes. If you think about it, everything fits.

-I think we’ve found a working model for socialism.

It just goes to show that it is possible if you go about it the right way. Not the way Stalin did.

-This past weekend was homecoming. Do you consider Williams your home?

It’s weird, because I always consider myself as having two homes. College is always strange – especially as a junior. It took me a while. As a freshman it wasn’t until around spring that I felt like I really belonged. Now it’s like I come here and I’m surrounded by people I know, and then I go home and I’m surrounded by people I know and there’s my family and I belong in two places. It’s always tough going home for the summer, because you’re always missing something. But I never refer to here as home, even though I’m here nine months out of the year. Like I’m not completely settled here. I’m still registered to vote in Concord.

-Speaking of voting in Concord, how do you feel about last week’s elections and how does that effect your home state of New Hampshire?

Well we got our Democratic governor – our Democratic woman governor. She killed Jay Lucas by some incredible margin. The Democrats are controlling the state senate for the first time since 1912.

-What’s the state motto of your home state?

“Live free or die.” It is by far the best state motto.

-Is life all downhill, just one inexorable march from birth to the grave?


-Yes it is.

No it’s not.


No. It’s like a maze. You walk around the corner and it’s like BAM! fall on a rock. Go around another corner and it’s like HEY! you’re getting married. So it’s not like a long road with a huge cliff at the end. It’s like the end of Calvin and Hobbes, where they’re holding the sled and it’s like, “it’s a magical world, Hobbes, let’s go exploring.”

-Who knitted your hat, Helena?

I did.

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