The morning before my rendezvous with Will Harron ’11, I was privileged to watch the Williams E Junior Adviser stride down Spring Street, trumpet proudly grasped in hand with 50-odd reindogs (dogs dressed as reindeer) strutting confusedly behind him. Late for our afternoon interview, I offered Harron a knock-you-naked bar as compensation before we embarked on what would prove to be more of an amphibian than canine-oriented interview.
I saw you in the parade today â€“ how’s life in the marching band?
Ah, the Mucho Macho Moocow Military Marching Band. When I told the director that I was doing this, he told me that every time I say, “Mucho Macho Moocow Military Marching band” he’d buy me a slice of pizza. I’m shooting for a whole pie. Mucho Macho Moocow Military Marching Band. Three slices. Hold on, what was the original question?
How’s life in the Mucho Macho Moocow Military Marching Band?
Oh yeah, Mucho Macho Moocow Military Marching Band is really a lot of fun. Four. We were just playing for the Williamstown holiday parade. The band was definitely one of the things that made me want to come here. Other schools all had serious marching bands, and we have something much better â€“ people who run around in silly hats.
I like your priorities.
With the Moocows you don’t have to be able to play an instrument. You can play the kazoo. When we’re practicing, people will walk by and we’ll yell, “Hey, join the marching band?” And we just give them a kazoo. Actually, some of my favorite band members are people who we managed
to heckle out of walking home to Mission Park.
Going along with the heckling theme, I hear that you’re infamous in your entry and even in all the surrounding entries for your shouting.
I have a loud shouting voice. Thursday night is movie night, so before I put the movie in, I go out to the stairwell and give a yell.
You think you could give me a sample yell? [We both look around Paresky and note that there are numerous families and infants lingering from the parade earlier in the day.] You could give them a fright.
They’re like five years old!
Hmm. I’m not really sold on your shout. I have a solid shout myself.
. . . [Without warning, Harron releases a monumental yell that reverberates through all of Paresky. The entire building falls silent, and two children, roughly five years of age, stare at us, terrified.]
[To the angry father of the child] Sorry about that!
Do you think you could yell louder than you play the trumpet?
It would be close. The trumpet would be more piercing, but the yell would certainly be broader.
On a different note, I was told that you have a Moses-esque beard, and I have to say now that I see you in person, I’m a little underwhelmed.
It’s not what it once was. Some people have no-shave November. I decided to have no-shave sophomore year. I went from right after Thanksgiving until May without shaving and during that time I got my Massachusetts driver’s license. [He unveils the license.] It’s not the kind of ID you’d want to go through customs with.
Holy crap! Dude, your beard reached the collar of your t-shirt. [His neck was virtually hidden by beard.]
It was definitely a product of laziness for me. Before it got to the taking-over-my-face stage, my girlfriend at the time liked it. I trimmed it down over the summer until eventually there was nothing left. I didn’t want to scare away the frosh or their parents.
I hear your Facebook profile picture is an image of your hand with a newt in it.
It’s been that since freshman Winter Study KAOS because I got really intense and didn’t want people to know who I was. But newts are definitely a big part of my life. My campus job since freshman year has been to count them and facilitate their crossing a fence that we set up to count them. The project is basically to take a census of the amphibian populations in these two ponds in Hopkins Forest.
How many total newts do you think you’ve counted in youR two and a half years on the job?
Can I include frogs and salamanders too?
Whatever floats your boat.
At least 15,000. I did the job freshman summer too, and there were days when there would be over 500 baby frogs coming out in just one bucket. Those were some crazy mornings. Also, in the spring mating season, when all the salamanders and frogs are trying to get in the pond to start mating, I have the task of separating them. They all choose to do it on the first warm, spring night. The way the frogs mate, the males will grasp the female frogs and hook their thumbs around them. [He gestures to demonstrate] But there will be like five or six male frogs on one female frog, and then two or three frogs on a salamander and salamanders don’t even mate like that at all. Sometimes it’s a mess in there. We’ll often have to take the salamanders back to the lab to take photographs of them.
So every spring you guide several thousand amphibians through their sexual awakenings.
That’s one way to put it, although other people do it with me.
How does chaperoning amphibians differ from your interactions with the mammals in your entry?
With the frosh it’s considerably more hands-off. They wouldn’t appreciate me physically tearing them apart. Also, I’m not like 100-times bigger than the mammals in my entry. But, if you go into the entry you’ll see that we have a Willy E hook-up count.
Not quite. Although someone in the entry did ask what would happen if we made it up to 500, and the response was that we’d all be going to the Health Center for STD tests.
Any last words?
Mucho Macho Moocow Military Marching Band. Half a pie.
Is that all?
Mucho Macho Moocow Military Marching Band.