One in Two Thousand: Will Hayes

Last week, I plopped myself down in a lounge on Paresky’s second floor  – snack bar food in hand, of course – to interview one of my good friends, Will Hayes ’14. Having never done a “One in 2000” interview before, I improvised.   

So the good people at the Record asked me to interview you, but didn’t tell me what to ask … so this could be awkward.   

 

Aren’t you just supposed to write fluff bio stuff like, “Where are you from? Oh, I have never been to Maine, but I hear it is in New England?”

Um … maybe? We’ll get to that eventually [laughs]. I think a good place to start is to ask why you think they made you “One in 2000.” 

Probably because everyone knows me as “that racially ambiguous kid with weird eyebrows.”

[Laughs.] We do have definitive evidence of people asking about your racial background … like, a bizarre amount of people. Do you want to clear it up for the general public? 

Is that a legendary topic these days? Is that what the kids talk about in Snack Bar?

Okay, probably not. So what did you say about your eyebrows?

You mean the psychological scars of my past? You have to write it that way. “The psychological scars of my past.”

If you insist. 

Is it sad that the first anecdote that came to mind when you told me to think of something interesting about myself is about my eyebrows? Because they are interesting, let me tell you.

I’m ready.  

Right, well, I have two theories. I used to make this inquisitive face constantly [raises one eyebrow] and I think somehow they got permanently altered to always look like that because I’ve seen pictures of me when I was younger, and my eyebrows don’t look like this. Or the other theory is that circa age eight, I became the vessel for Satan …

Do I have to write that?  

I don’t know, I’m just kind of freestylin’ right now. I only say that because people tell me they look devilish … and I used to own a couple of Marilyn Manson songs. So anyway, I didn’t care about them but then, classic middle school, the prettier girls started to pluck their eyebrows and I started to notice … And I felt really self-conscious. But now I’ve come to accept it as an integral part of who I am. I’ve built a wardrobe around it. I sympathize with Donovan McNabb. Now I’m exhausted emotionally. Throw me a softball question.

Any weird childhood stories or memories you want to share?

[Laughs.] Now that you mention it … When I was in elementary school, I made up this thing called Digibears, which was somehow a melding of Digimon and Pokémon, except they were all bears. Unclear how they were digital, but in my mind, they were.

Ahhh, Digibears. I remember hearing about this.   

Yeah, did I tell you how I cut up cardboard from my dad’s dry cleaning shirts and used tinfoil to make holographic cards?

[Laughs.] I don’t think so.   

Well, I did. And my mom always used to get super annoyed because I would make her type up these stories while she was at work because we didn’t have a computer and all the characters had names like “monstrosaurus bear.”

Didn’t you do some project with dinosaurs when you were little, too?  

Yeah, when I was in the third grade I was put into a program called Project Think. They made us all take this test and this is where they ended up putting the “creative kids.” So anyway, for two hours a day I just made clay stop-motion animations where I built dino-worlds and filmed myself throwing rocks at them.

Oh geez. The Will Hayes before I knew him. Speaking of times when I wasn’t a part of your life, tell me about the rest of your summer. We got to hang out during the Stanley Kaplan American Foreign Policy Institute together and then you went to go work on fielding calls from crazy people on Capitol Hill, right?   

Oh, I did more than field calls. One day, this guy with a huge beard and a Mets hat walked in demanding to know why he wasn’t on the ballot for president. He gave me and another intern his resume, listing eight of the nine Supreme [Court] Justices as references and a personal endorsement from the “54th president of the U.S., Al Gore.”

What a gem. Any other interesting things happen this summer?  

Only that I learned I am wholly unable to provide for myself in terms of food. I tried to light a gas stove, but I didn’t really know what I was doing because we have electric coils at home. So I tried to boil water for 20 minutes and then I realized that I had never lit the burner and I was just slowly flooding my apartment with a ton of gas.

Well, it was probably all worth it for the chance to rep Maine, am I right?   

I guess. There was the most stereotypically Maine crisis this summer. Can you guess what it is? Most of the stereotypes you’ve heard about Maine are true.

Um … sailing? Lobsters?   

Right. Lobsters. Lobster was wicked cheap this summer so the fisheries in Canada were trying to flood the Maine markets. It was pretty intense. Lobsterers kept calling me saying, “The Canadians are starting a war,” and there were unverified reports of them rolling burning tires over the border.

[We were then interrupted by Caleb Hoffman-Johnson ’13, another Maine native.]

CHJ: Sorry to interrupt, but are you talking about the crazy lobster scandal that happened this summer? [Small talk ensues before we eventually return to the interview.]

I feel like people just always walk up to you and start conversations because you’re from Maine. Didn’t some guy in the dining hall comment on your Moxie shirt the other day?   

Well, there’s not a huge contingency of people here from Maine. It’s an insular community. But I was glad someone else recognized Moxie. For those who don’t know, Moxie is an old medicinal soda that used to be used as a cough syrup. I’m single-handedly making it the coolest thing at Williams, even though I haven’t been to Stop and Shop in two weeks, so I haven’t really been drinking it. I just have the shirt and the poster in my room. And based on how many people come to my room … It’s still got a following of one.

Speaking of things with small to nonexistent followings, you’re not going to plug your radio show?  

I mean, clearly I am. I would say, “You might know me because I’m on the board at WCFM and have my own radio show,” but then I would have to assume that you’re one of the four to five listeners I have per week.

Including me.   

So like three or four. I like to think it’s gotten better … but in the end it’s still me making jokes that I think are funny but other people don’t understand.

But your go-to party playlists are so strange and great.   

I do have an affinity for cowbell remixes of popular songs. Preferably with A LOT more cowbell [than the original music].

Speaking of weird things you find on the Internet, you always show me really bizarre YouTube videos with, like, 2000 views. Where do you find those?

Well, Sam, if your mind works the way mine does, it’s inevitable that eventually you’re going to come across videos of grown men dressed as animals dancing in their yards.

That’s a frightening thought. Okay, what other generic questions can I think of … What was the last concert you went to? 

Real Estate in DC, alone. I have no regrets.

Well, this is becoming more and more uncomfortable. Maybe we should just end it now.   

Do you have enough words?

Oh, so many words. 

Good, glad I’m interesting enough to fill three pages.

“Interesting” would certainly be a good way to describe you.