One in 2000: Fritz Stabenau

Fritz Stabenau ’02

DORM Agard 15

Home Scarsdale, ny

Girlfriend Crunchy

    So, this is a physics lab. What’s this here?

Stop. You’re going to get in trouble with my thesis advisor if you do that.

Okay, okay. Are all physics labs like this? Your lab is vaguely reminiscent of a storage closet.

Actually, it is a storage closet.

A staunch supporter of the physics department and you get the shaft. You’re even sporting Williams Physics paraphernalia right now. What’s the explanation behind your Williams Physics shirt? I believe the last time I saw you, you were wearing a Williams Varsity Physics shirt, jersey number seven.

Yes, I have a Varsity Physics shirt and I’m number seven. My girlfriend actually hid that shirt from me this morning, on the grounds that I have worn it five times this week, which is just not true. Twice, maybe. . . My girlfriend is crunchy, like granola. There is a difference between crunchy and dirty, though. I am just dirty. Anyway, the Williams Varsity Physics shirt is from two years ago, the one I’m wearing now is from last year. This thing on it is a wave machine, from the turn of the century. . .

So this is a physics major private joke?

Yes. And then there is this silly little sentence on the back. Each first letter of the word corresponds to a member of the physics department. But the sentence is not worth mentioning.

I think it is. It says, “A Wonderful Family of Kind Caring Brethren. Making Jolly-Good Science.” I sense you want to talk about non-physics things.

I just got a haircut.

Okay. We can talk about that.

Let me give you some background, though. When I was 13 years old I had semi-straight wavy hair. I didn’t have curls. My hair just grew back tightly curled, and over the years it semi-relaxed to the shape you see before you now.

Which is something like a quasi-afro.

Right. But you should have seen me on Halloween. I straightened my hair.

What was your costume?

No costume, just that. I just straightened my hair. . . people would stare at me and try to figure out if it was a wig. It was interesting to see people’s reactions – some people were rather hostile, while others were like, “Whoa, can I touch it?” And those were the nice people. Especially if they were cute girls.

 I don’t know if your girlfriend would like that, strange girls petting your Halloween hair effect.

Well, Halloween’s over.

Whilst your ever-changing hair is an intriguing topic, I want to ask you about your name. Why do you go by “Fritz” when your first name is “Hans?”

Because of the way you just said it. Most people just can’t say it right.

But instead, you go by your middle name, which is “Fritz,” right?

No! While my middle initial is an F, it does not in fact stand for “Fritz.” It stands for “Friedrich,” and the abbreviation of that is “Fritz.”

I think that’s kind of cheap, Fritz. I think you should just let people massacre your first name.

In elementary school I got mercilessly teased. They pronounced it, “Hanes.”

The hyper-nasal way you just said that, I’m guessing you’re from New Jersey.

No. I am not from the armpit of New York.

But how do you feel about dating someone from New Jersey?

It is true. My girlfriend is from Princeton, N.J. But people can grow out of bad circumstances, and I believe that she is one of those people. Princeton is not economically bad circumstances, but definitely bad for your moral character.

Well, where are you from?

I was born in Riverdale, in the Bronx.

Oh, a New Yorker. I suppose then it’s your birthright to hate New Jersey.

Well I didn’t actually live there, so I don’t consider myself a New Yorker. You have to actually live in Manhattan to be a New Yorker.

Actually, you need to live in Manhattan for at least ten years to be considered a true New Yorker.

You’re making that up.

No, just stealing it from “Sex and the City.”

I don’t watch that show.

What do you do in your spare time (besides mock my home state and test new hairstyles, of course)?

I spend some time relaxing playing video games. I do enjoy that. And computer games too.

How do you spend your free time playing video and computer games when you have to spend your whole day in lab staring at the computer screen?

Well, I grew up around computers. I would read computer manuals when I was ten. I kind of have an intuitive thing with them. I just know what you’re supposed to do.

So, what else besides computer games? Any non-physics related heroes?

Axl Rose and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Is Axl whom you were trying to emulate with the Halloween hair straightening? That sort of over-sized frizzled blow-dried effect?

I much prefer Slash’s hair, actually.

Slash? His hair reminds me of a really bad mom mullet from the eighties with those big curly bangs.

Yes, but did your mother wear a top hat?

I would have to admit no. Tell me about your other hero.

Arnold? The best movie is “Conan the Barbarian.” There is a really great scene where he prays to Crom. . . and another when he punches out a mule while drunk.

Sounds like a veritable classic. . .

Okay, enough. Get out of my lab. I need to get back to my thesis.

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