As I exploded into a coughing fit last Sunday afternoon, Daniel Underberg ’14 entered the Record office for our interview in a similarly sickly fashion. Turns out we had both had a little too much fun at Williams Day. After reviewing my text messages for clues and interview tips sent to me by Underberg’s friends (who shall remain nameless), we began our discussion that looped into every imaginable topic.
Let’s talk about your hometown! I see from Facebook that you’re from Pittsford, N.Y.
Yes! Pittsford is a small town in a suburb of Rochester. It’s got a nice small-town feel, but you also have access to the entertainments that the city of Rochester has, which is still not much, because it’s a really small city. I really like living there because there’s a lot of green space, fields and parks, ways to be outside and there’s also really good music and entertainment that come to Rochester.
So what kind of high school did you go to?
I went to a public school called Pittsford Sutherland High School. It was a very positive experience.
Any crazy experiences there?
Something that I really liked that happened in high school was when I was in the [National Honor Society]. We hosted Relay for Life at the end of my senior year, and we were all busy organizing and setting things up. While we were cleaning, we found a ton of glow sticks left over from the luminaries. As I was helping get things back together after the event, a huge group of my friends managed to sneak out of the gym with all of these glow sticks, and they went to my car and decorated the entire thing with glow sticks. Like, they even outlined the spokes on the hubcaps … everything was covered.
I hope there is photo documentation of this.
I’m sure there is. I’m not sure where it is, though.
All right, so tell me more about the Underbergs.
So my parents are lawyers in Rochester. They met in college at Brandeis. And then I have a younger sister, who just turned 17 and is looking at colleges. She’s a lot of fun to hang out with.
Great! So what’s one of your favorite Underberg family vacations?
We went to New Zealand for my junior year in high school, which was just an incredible experience. We went all over the country and then did a lot of the outdoorsy activities and then went to the Lord of The Rings Tour.
I was dying here waiting for you to say Lord of the Rings. Tell me all about it!
Yes! The whole time we were there felt like we were living in Lord of the Rings. Everywhere looks like the scenery.
So did you see any hobbits?
You know, I kept my eyes open, but unfortunately, there were no hobbits. But there were a lot of sheep.
Ok, so I have to admit that I have an incriminating text message here from one of my friends about you …
Wait, what? What is this?
My friend says that I have to ask you about two things: The “Diva” nickname and the “skinny-dipping in Mexico” story. So now we’re getting to the juicy parts of this interview.
Oh god, don’t put those in there!
Too late! So first, the “Diva.” Don’t be shy, Daniel. Everyone wants to know.
That nickname came up early last year because I tend to move very slowly. I’m just kind of a slow-moving person in general, and we would always be getting ready to go to brunch on the weekends. We would be in constant text communication: “Oh, are we leaving for brunch in 10 minutes?” And I would be like “Yeah, sure.” But then 10 minutes would go by, and they would come to my room, and I still wasn’t ready to go. So that’s where the nickname originated, and it has expanded far beyond the original group of people who call me “Diva.”
So it doesn’t reflect your extreme pride in your appearance or anything like that?
No, I really don’t care that much about my appearance. It really just springs from that fact that I move slowly!
You and my roommate would definitely hit it off! She also moves very slowly. But anyway, let’s talk about your spring break in Mexico.
It was a lot of fun! We went to Playa del Carmen and stayed at a resort there. The resort was great and relaxing during the day, and then at night, we would walk into the town were all the young people were. It was a lot of fun.
So going back to that skinny-dipping incident…
[Laughs.] So the specific incident you’re looking for here was one night when we had gone into town, had a really good time, went to the clubs and stuff there and we walked back to the resort. By the time we got back it was like three or four in the morning but still gorgeous weather, and we were like, “You know what? I haven’t been skinny dipping before, let’s do it!” And we were in the right mindset, so we ran down to the beach, took our clothes off and ran into the ocean. It was a lot of fun. I felt so free! But unfortunately, we were not alone on the beach … There were some security guards there. So as we were naked in the ocean, these security guards came over and started shining flashlights into the water. So of course we had to walk out of the water, awkwardly completely naked in front of these security guards! And then they followed us back to our rooms because they didn’t trust that we were actually residents of this resort.
That’s pretty badass there, getting stopped by security.
[Laughs.] I know. At least it wasn’t anything too major.
Yeah, you could have been stung by a jellyfish while skinny-dipping.
Oh god, the thought of that is just brutal.