One in 2000

It is Record tradition each year for the current editor-in-chief to interview her emeritus, a kind of Día de Los Muertos for our imperfect attempts at student journalism. As the sun was easing its way down into the mountains Monday night, Kevin Waite ’09 and I rendezvoused at the site of our first encounter, 89 Spring St., formerly the home of Ye Olde Record Office, now a patch of grass beside a parking lot. Some two and a half years earlier in that very spot, Il Kevino and I quickly met and bonded over being Cleveland Indians baseball fans, and he told me that I had big feet. Camaraderie, honesty, brevity: This one’s for you, Kev.

I hope I’m lucid enough to do this.

Why wouldn’t you be lucid enough?

We had an all-day field trip. I’ll tell you about it.

[He pulls several gemmy stones out of his pants pocket: the fruits of a successful Geosciences 102 expedition]

Did you pick this yourself?

Oh, yeah. Eagle eyes.

It’s beautiful, Kevin.

Thank you. I have a pocketful of treasures. I think most people just moved past the rocks but here I was stuffing them in my pockets like a little kid in a candy store.

I heard your thesis presentation was totally fabulous. Did you rock it?

Um, I don’t know. Heh heh.

No, you didn’t actually rock it?
Well, maybe those are the words of another. I thought I did fine.

What was it on?

It was actually on Southern, antebellum plain folk masculinity. So we’re talking poor and middling whites from 1820 to 1860 … I basically said that a shared sense of violent, Southern masculinity contributed to the pre-war fervor and also to the sense that the men of the North simply couldn’t match Southerners in a fight.

I’ll bet you’re glad that that’s over.

It’s a relief. But I had a blast doing it.

What must fill your time now? What is your life?

You’ll find that work expands to fill all your hours – I thought I’d just be out frolicking, but then it turns out I’m not frolicking. I’m still having a good time, minus the frolic.

You’re so robust.

Oh, that’s what I’ve been doing. Sculpting the guns. If you saw me flex you’d realize that I haven’t been sculpting the guns.

But wait, you played football in high school! What would Kevin Waite, the varsity football player be doing right now?

Kevin Waite the varsity football player would be moving more slowly, but he’d have more muscle on him. I think he’d be lumbering.

How would you describe your gait? You said you don’t frolic.

No, no I don’t frolic. Maybe I amble. Either an amble or a lope, it’s nothing graceful. I get from point A to point B.

Well you’ve got your sport of choice, wearing your WRFC sweatshirt right now. Can I have Josh Groban’s number?

Yeah, you can have his headshot, too. Um, I don’t think so. [Laughs]

Can I just see if you have it? You don’t have to give it to me.

Yeah. Now this is gonna go on Google, and then his fan club’s gonna find out and it’s gonna cost me. No joke. But his parents are coming to my graduation!

Oh my god.

Yeah, you can meet Jack and Lindy.
Describe the Record this semester, how we’ve been, out of your hands, in five words, Man-On-The-Quad style. You won’t hurt my feelings.

[Birds chirp.]

Free at last. High-five, Amanda. High-five is one word.

What did you do for Mother’s Day?

I gave her a Williamstown card with a picture of the Faculty Club because that’s where I did my thesis defense, and I thought Momma Waite might like to see. And we had a nice, long chat. Momma and Poppa Waite and I always have a Sunday chat. They’re just finishing watching 60 Minutes, and we talk about the week, the coming week, 60 Minutes, Andy Rooney.

That’s lovely. I wondered if your house was still featured on Brothers and Sisters. How’s that TV show going?

I, to be honest, don’t watch it. I think it’s a little cheesy, trashy, cliché, whatever you call it. But it’s cool that they keep coming back. Every once in a while Ally McBeal shows up in our backyard and they shoot the next episode – They park in the driveway and then they use the backyard. They buried a time capsule in our backyard. And now we still have a discolored piece of grass in our backyard. They’ve used the pool once or twice. Somebody “died” in our pool – that was cool.

So, give me some Kevin Waite Lessons on Life.

I don’t know if I do know how it’s done. Did you forget? My team’s season got canceled. [A bug flies into his hair]. Um, keep bugs out of your hair, wear bugspray, wear sunscreen. I think my mom is good at giving lessons on life. She’s good at making sure I stay healthy.

What does she say?

Wear sunscreen, eat veggies.

Well you’re going to Cambridge next year, so you’re really smart, right?

Somebody on the fellowship committee thought I was smart. I can’t speak on these matters. What was the question?

How to be smart like Kevin – so that includes all variations of smart.

Well, I would recommend, taking a history class with Charles Dew, taking an English class with Steven Fix. I also think it’s important to balance academics with athletics. So even if you’re not on any sort of team, get out there and shake it up. However you see yourself shakin’ it. Even if you want to run, pump some iron, get your dance on.

[He rhythmically rocks his shoulders back and forth in a valiant but self-consciously misguided attempt at shimmying.]

It’s somewhere between epilepsy and dancing.

What did you learn from being a Record editor?

I feel like this is a Rhodes interview or something –

That’s not good. Say funny things.

Don’t pass out on the board table when you’re trying to edit the paper. You’ll probably wake up to the entire board laughing at you. But seriously, enjoy yourself, it’s a blast. In a weird way.

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