When I entered the tidy room of Salvador Villa, the campus rep for Apple Inc., I was struck by the eight perfectly lined up, empty cartons of Tropicana orange juice that stood on his dresser and by the numerous Mac computer advertisements that adorned his walls.
Wow, sick room.
Yeah, my friend Marco is the Baxter Fellow.
Word, I know Marco. What’s his last name?
Sanchez! [Salvador’s eyes light up as he smiles and perfectly pronounces his friend’s last name] But he doesn’t really like his last name, so my friends and I always call him Sanchez [again, impeccable pronunciation].
So Marco isn’t proud of his heritage? What about Salvador Villa? [My pronunciation is less than impeccable.]
It’s Villa, Villa. People love calling me Sal or Salvie or Salvador [he pronounces these names in an American accent] and the thing is, it doesn’t click with me because in Tijuana where I grew up it was always Salvador [his impeccable accent resurfaces] or Chava, so it really has a completely different ring to it. But, yeah, Salvador Villa. No relationship to revolutionary Pancho Villa. You’ve heard of Pancho Villa, haven’t you?
He’s kind of a character in Mexico. You see these wanted posters that a lot of people have. I should get some for this room. I don’t have a bunch of Mexican stuff; it’s just Apple, Apple. Look, you can meet Barack right there, and that’s Hillary. [He points to two MacBooks on his desk.]
Barack is newer â€“ right there! The black one!
[Confused and a little concerned, I prepare to move on when I notice that a key attribute differentiates the two MacBooks: one is black and one is white. Upon closer inspection I notice that the black one seems more optimistic than the rather haggard and unexciting white one.] Oh, I get it!
[Pointing to Hill] This one has been here a much longer time. I don’t like it as much.
Are you continuing the allegory?
Oh yeah, absolutely! Too much experience. Too much stuff on that one.
So I hear that when it comes to computers, you do not mess around. And, to use another analogy, if the world that we live in is the Dagobah system, then you are Obi-Wan with Macs and Williams is that far outreach of civilization, like a desert planet.
That’s absolutely true.
Yes! But tell me more about your role as the MacDaddy of Williams.
My position is called the campus rep.
So each school in the nation has one?
Well, it depends. Some of the tech schools are like “we’re going to use Windows and that’s it,” so there’s really no use there. There needs to be some martyrs going into those schools.
Would you be comfortable doing that?
I wouldn’t mind. Seriously, I believe in that product so much it’s ridiculous. It’s stylish. The ingenuity is just beautiful . . . We went to the premier of Mac OS X Leopard. You got a free t-shirt. Let me show you the t-shirt. [He pulls out of his closet some stylish threads] Here’s the campus rep t-shirt.
Oh snaps, that’s fly. It’s very sleek â€“ just like all of the Mac products.
Have you upgraded? Are you a Mac person?
Yeah, if you have Barack and Hillary, I guess I have Joe Biden from Delaware. [I pull out of my knapsack my own MacBook.] He’s nowhere near as active as yours, but he’s still very useful, a great resource and he can really help us in the future.
Wow, Joe Biden. I’m pleased to see you. But to get back to the question, I’m in Paresky regularly every week talking to students if they have questions . . . My goal is to let people know about educational discounts.
Would you rather, A: go to Amherst; or B: use an IBM?
Wow, this is crazy. Wow.
Keep in mind that at Amherst they don’t even use computers; they use the hides of tortured kittens to write all of their term papers.
It looks like I have no choice. I’d have to stick with the IBM.
Would you care for a veggie cookie?
I would love a veggie cookie.
They’re delicious. I converted to veggie-ism.
Oh, word? [He hands me what appears to be a vegan cookie.] Is this one of the ones from Dodd?
No, this is from Greylock. Would you like some OJ? [He pulls two family-sized cartons of Tropicana Extra Pulp orange juice out of his mini-fridge and hands me one, sans cup.]
I would love some OJ. I love potassium. Lots of pulp â€“ yes!
We are dining like kings here. Open that up.
You’re going to let me drink out of the carton right now? [He nods as I shake the carton to stimulate the pulp.] I appreciate that. When did you decide to be vegan?
To finish things up: in 10 words or fewer, what makes Macs better than PCs? One of the words has to be chastity.
Ten words or fewer . . . [He pauses to think.] Chastity?
Macs . . . make you . . . love . . . yourself . . . and not commit to chastity.
Nice! With one to spare!