One in 2000: Miles Horton ’14

As an avid Facebook stalker, I have long been terrified by the thought of being caught in the act of scrutinizing another’s Facebook page. To my dismay, I was found doing just that as Miles Horton ’14 walked into Goodrich House dining room for our interview. Fortunately, I was able to distract Horton from my computer screen, which at the moment was displaying one of his early profile pictures, by pointing to the deck of cards and pizza boxes littered throughout the room.

So I hear we share a fondness for animals. You worked at a zoo?

Yeah, I volunteered for a few years at the zoo in high school and then got a paid job the summer after I graduated. I was in charge of the wildlife shows. I’d train the animals, I’d give them food, I’d even host the shows.

Did you train the animals to do cool tricks?

Yeah … not really. We had this golden eagle in our show that couldn’t fly because she’d been hit by a car. During the shows, I’d be talking on the stage, and I had a hidden pocket with a rat inside it, and I would throw the rat just as the eagle ran out on the stage to catch it. We also had a porcupine that we trained to climb over the fence by itself. We were pretty JV.

How did you score such a sweet gig at a zoo with porcupines?

We had two types of porcupines actually – American and prehensile-tailed. The prehensile-tailed porcupine was my favorite. Her name was Sassafrass.

Did you get pretty close to the animals while you were there then?

Yeah, as nerdy as that may sound. They all have their personalities. I definitely got along with some of them really well … Oh man, I sound like such a loser right now.

[I said nothing to dispute this statement.]

I even had a protégée ferret named Campfield. I had this dream early on in my volunteering experience about a magic ferret named Campfield, and so when they got new ferrets I made them name one Campfield. He was like my son at the zoo – an obese, white ferret.

I didn’t realize that ferrets could be obese.

Yeah, his previous owner probably just fed him too much bacon or whatever. At the zoo we fed him dog food and mice.

Is that weird that you have to deal with mice and rats?

We had this room – it was far and away my least favorite room – and it was full of mice and rats in these little tubs. Whenever we had to feed the animals, we’d have to take one out and put it in a little gas chamber and kill it. It was really sad, but the worst was walking into the room with the thick stench of rodent.

So what was a day like in life of Miles as a zoo volunteer?

I worked in the education department of the zoo with the reptiles and small mammals and birds of prey. I’d usually start out the morning picking the animals I wanted to use in the show and then I’d have to set up the sound for the show. You know, it’s a good thing I am so strong …

[Miles then proceeds to kiss each of his two bulging biceps, which he long ago dubbed Walker and Texas Ranger. I began to blush a deep shade of scarlet.]

Wow, I don’t even know if I can handle that gun show.

Yeah, it’s to be expected. But yeah, after I set up the sound I’d have some time to train the animals for a bit and then I’d go back to help out with the animals. Then I’d do the show and repeat the whole process in the afternoon.

[At this point an unnamed student walked into the room dressed solely in his underwear to greet Miles. Realizing that he was interrupting our interview, the mystery guest slowly backed out of the room, muttering something about an e-mail…]

I have to say, since coming to Williams I have spent more time just hanging around in my underwear or just plain naked in the company of my peers.

Funny you should mention that. I heard a story about a recent nude cross country skiing excursion that you took part in.

To be fair, we did it in boxers.

Well, that changes everything.

We were just going to do this one little loop in boxers because it was such a nice day. Then the other ski class took our clothes and hid them somewhere in the park, so we spent the rest of the day in boxers looking for them. We finally found our clothes on top of the highest mountain.

How long did that take?

An hour or two. We weren’t really looking. We were pretty comfortable in our boxers, so we figured we’d just keep on skiing all around.

A public service to the people of the park …

I’m so white, I actually blended in with the snow. People couldn’t really tell – they thought there were just boxers floating around.

I also hear you’re an avid polar bear swimmer. You’re actually naked for that though, right?

Yeah, people are always weirded out by that.

Isn’t it weird sometimes? Do you ever accidentally run into someone?

Well, you just walk down to the water and take off your clothes right there. We usually go to this pool in the river, but recently it’s frozen over, so we just walk into the river and splash ourselves. It’s like psychological torture because your whole instinct is to be like, “NO! Oh god, NO!”

So no awkward exchanges?

It’s honestly the least sexual setting – you know, freezing sub-zero riverbank.

What got you so into polar bear swims then?

Not to toot my own horn, but every time I come across a really cool body of water, especially with my family, we just have to go in. We have to prove ourselves.

Where are you from? Canada?

California.

Interesting. So what is it about extremely cold bodies of water that really thrills you?

You know, this is going to sound really cheesy. The way I think about it, if I can jump into a really cold body of water, I can do anything.

That sounds like a pretty awesome office inspiration poster.

Exactly, and the picture would be of me naked flopping around in the Arctic Ocean. It wouldn’t be majestic or anything, but I’d do it.

Wow, you must be quite the ladies’ man. Did you have big plans for Valentine’s Day?

Well, I left a girl an anonymous note.

Does this girl know who you are?

No, but I think she can probably figure it out.

Do you want to use this interview as an opportunity to do so?

Absolutely not. It’s terribly embarrassing. I just figured I would do it because it was Valentine’s Day and, you know, you only have one life to live.

… And three years to regret it if it doesn’t work out.

Uh …

Just kidding! I’m sure this lucky lady will be thrilled when she finds out, and if not, this interview is bound to get you some chicks.