Welcome, Zak, to another week of “One in 2000.” I feel I should warn you before we begin – I received a deluge of positive feedback from last week’s column, and I’m under considerable pressure from the editors and my peers to conduct another exceptional interview. I would like to slough this pressure off onto your ample shoulders, and remind you that you are the one primarily responsible for the content of this interview. I do not know you well, and I am ignorant of your background. Even if you have nothing sensational or scandalous to say to the Williams community, I would suggest that you do your best to make things up. Let’s try to work the line, “I enjoy humping mules” into the conversation a minimum of five times. Why don’t you give it a try.
I, uh. Is this thing on yet?
How this works is that we have a conversation, Zak, and I proceed to root through it and try to put together something remotely interesting to read. Please say, “I pee sitting down,” loudly into the microphone.
I don’t know, the tape recorder and all. . .
Are you up to the task, Zak? That’s my question.
There’s a good chance I might be.
Excellent. Let’s begin with you saying a bit about yourself.
My name is Zak, I’m a freshman, and I’m available.
What do you say, ladies?
I play rugby and wrestle, along with the mild amount of work you get here, you know.
I sense a note of sarcasm in your voice.
It’s different than high school – I never worked. I’m taking History of Science, Astronomy, Art History, and Religion 225. I tend to shy away from the Div. III classes that involve lots of math. Numbers scare me. I would like to teach when I graduate, I think. Probably teach high school since that doesn’t require a PhD.
You’re from another small liberal arts college town?
That’s right. Swarthmore, Penn.
Please say, “I lost one testicle to farm machinery.”
It’s a small town, about four or five thousand people. I didn’t apply there, I looked at Middlebury and Columbia and decided to apply early here.
Did you look at our rival, Amherst? I think they’re ranked #1 this year.
No, one of my friends went there and transferred after a week because she said the kids there were so ridiculously stuck up, and she couldn’t deal with it at all. And I think she’s a really cool girl, so. . .
This reminds me of a story, true story. I know a guy who wanted to go to Amherst and pitch on the baseball team there. Apparently they’ve got a good team and competition to play is very stiff. The coach has been there for decades and requires potential recruits to send in videos of them pitching and hitting, from the windup, from the stretch, etc. I think this is a fairly common practice, but the Amherst coach is unique in that he requires the guys to do the video only in their boxer shorts. I mean, does this strike you as creepy at all? The coach claims that it allows him to see the boys better, and I imagine it does. But I can’t stop thinking about an older guy sitting in his office with poring a library of hundreds of videos of 17 and 18 year-old boys sweating and exerting themselves in their boxers.
Do these pictures show up on the Internet? What other reason could he possibly have?
So your full name is Zakariah?
Yes, it is.
Any kind of biblical connotations there?
I don’t know. My sister’s name is Kaziah.
And. . . your father’s name is Jebediah.
No, it’s Jeff. Her name, Kaz, is my name backwards. It was elementary school hell. I don’t think parents realize that they shouldn’t play word games with their children’s names.
For some reason it makes me think of “cuisine.” How old is she?
Almost 17, so she won’t be allowed to come to campus.
Is your entry very close?
Yes, it is quite fun. I enjoy hanging out with them.
Please stop talking directly into the tape recorder.
I really do genuinely like everyone in my entry. There’s no one I don’t get along with. We haven’t had any entry incest yet, which is impressive. I’m actually convinced that it’s a myth and doesn’t really happen. It seems like a scary and awkward concept.
So you don’t see any potential with the girls in your entry.
Oh no no, I don’t mean that. They’re quite attractive. But. . .them being in my entry excludes them.
What, they’re like sisters? I understand. Well, let me be the first to let you know that the Williams dating scene is lacking, to stretch the meaning of the word “lacking.” The presence of a dating scene is absent. Yet its absence is very present. Ladies and gentleman, Professor Mark Taylor!
Well, I’ve only been here for four weeks.
And you have the rugby team. I imagine the opportunities will present themselves during the drunken saturnalia and revelry of the get-togethers with the women’s team.
No comment, except that rugby is the greatest sport ever. I don’t know; in terms of relationships, I’m the “never really gets off the ground kid.” There were occasional drunken hook-ups in high school. That’s what it seems to be like at Williams too.
You know the college motto, chiseled into the steps leading up to West College, “Reach high, aim far, your goal the sky, your aim the star,” something along those lines? Well if you look real closely, in tiny print underneath you can make out, “Search far, search wide, your goal Brooks late night, your aim the girl who’s had too much St. Ides.” Of course I’m kidding, but not bad, huh? Off the top of my head. See Zak, you’re a very good-looking young man. The females should be banging down your door. What we need to do is make you more marketable.
A slogan or something.
Well, I tried the whole, “Zak, Zak, he’s a Lego maniac” thing, but that didn’t work too well after the fourth grade.
Let’s go back to your extracurricular activities, rugby and wrestling. That’s an awful lot of rolling around on the ground with hot, sweaty men.
Ha ha ha.
Do you think there’s any kind of homoerotic subtext there?
No, I just think it’s a good release. Otherwise you get pissed off and you have nothing to take it out on. When you can legally hit people and tackle them and knock them over without padding or anything like that, it’s definitely a good way to forget about annoying things.
Let’s finish up with the story you were telling me before we began the interview. About how you got the nickname, “brown ’n serve.”
You know, I don’t remember telling you anything like that.