One in 2000

Kelsey Ham ’12 often sports a braid in her hair that would make Cleopatra jealous. She’s been seen on the basketball court cutting defenders up like Jack the Ripper. To top things off, she is from Bozeman, Mont. I caught up with her, accompanied by four of her entrymates, in the Dennett 2 common room.

Being that you’re from Montana, what do you have to offer that all of these other people do not?

I definitely offer wisdom in the chilly weather.

[One of her entrymates pipes up and says something about a brown cow.]

Oh yeah, I say brown-chicken-brown-cow instead of bow-chicka-wow-wow, like that girl in that commercial in the grocery store.

Is that some kind of bestiality joke? Just kidding. But seriously, what’s Bozeman, Mont. like?

Well, it’s the most bomb diggity place ever.

Bomb – what? Is that a good thing? What’s prettier: Bozeman or Williamstown?

[She pauses to think about the question. Her loyalty hangs in the balance].

Bozeman is prettier, but only by a little. [She smiles as she gives props to Williamstown – a sign of respect for her new home.] A lot of movies are filmed in Bozeman because it’s so beautiful. A River Runs Through It was filmed one town over.

Brad!

And the mountains in Bozeman are so pretty. They’re not like what we have here.

Oh, so you’re one of those people who consider the Berkshires hills because you come from a place with huge snow-capped mountains.

One of my friends said that Mt. Greylock was the highest point he’d ever been to. My house is 5500 feet [above sea level]. Mt. Greylock is only something like –

[An entrymate who has been chiming in occasionally during the conversation, Talia Loewen ’12, quickly declares the mountain’s exact height.]

Talia: 3,491 feet.

So a mountain has to have sherpas climbing it to be real? Wow, 5500 feet – the oxygen level must be killer up there. I bet you had crazy stamina when you got to school.

Yup, I could run 20 miles like it was nothing.

I bet that helps on the basketball court. As a fellow baller, I must ask you, what’s your favorite college basketball team?

Duke!

[She smiles proudly and I know that I’ve touched on something close to her heart.]

Really? And why is that?

We don’t have a team to support [in Bozeman].Well, I guess we do have the University of Montana, but they’re never good.

So you just chose a team from North Carolina that’s always really good to root for because there isn’t one near you? That sounds the makings of a fair-weather fan.

But I liked them since fifth grade. I don’t flip-flop.

[If she is truly a Duke fan, she would despise UNC’s basketball team. I decide to test her fanhood.]

Who is your least favorite UNC player of all time?

Oh! Who was that guy who was on UNC last year? The one who always had his mouth open? The crazy guy!

Psycho T, also known as Tyler Hansbrough?

Yes, him! I hate how he always plays with his mouth open.

How can you hate Psycho T? His mouth is open because he’s just really hungry for rebounds.

No, I hate him. I’m sure he’s a really nice person though.

I propose that we agree to disagree. Anyhoo, how did you learn to do all of those crazy braids in your hair?

I actually taught myself. When I play basketball, my hair gets in the way and it drives me nuts, so I just rock the braids.
Respect. So what’s the craziest braid you’ve ever rocked?

When I was younger, I used to wear cornrows a lot. So yeah, cornrows.

[Alan Arias ’10, one of her Junior Advisors, enters the room. His hair is disheveled and he appears quite sleepy. I address him by his JA nickname.]

Yo, Fuzzy Wuzzy, describe Kelsey in five words.

Alan: D—-!

[I decide that the exhausted JA is in no condition to answer questions so I return to my conversation with Kelsey.]

Question: Would you rather be a hammerhead shark or the only living velociraptor on the planet?

I would rather be a hammerhead shark. I wouldn’t want to be alone. I’d rather eat people than be by myself.

I’m not sure what that says about you – Would you rather be Lil’ Wayne or Norah Jones?

Definitely Norah Jones.

Really? But Weezy is at the top of the rap game right now. Why Norah?

She’s a girl. [She smiles as if I should have realized this about Ms. Jones.] And I play the piano and like to sing.

What’s been your favorite meal at the dining halls here?

I’d have to go with brunch night.

[She and her entrymates begin gushing about the merits of brunch night. Kelsey then asks her JA a ridiculously random question.] Alan, how do you say “lean like a cello” in Spanish?

You speak Spanish? [Kelsey nods.] How do you say “I would rather be Lil’ Wayne” in Spanish?

[With the assistance of her entry, she conjugates “to be” in the conditional and declares her preference for Lil’ Wayne.]

Hah! I knew it! But seriously, are you tryin’ to give any shout-outs?

I want to give a shout-out to my cousin Patty B! He thinks he can eat more pizza than me – wrong. He also thinks he can beat me in one-on-one and ping-pong, so we’re going to have a triathlon to settle things.

My money is on Lil’ Wayne.