While I fully intend to keep the “One in 2000” selection process the biggest secret on campus, there are some people who naturally fit the profile. Liz Dietz ’15 is one of those people. You’ve no doubt seen her on campus, accompanied by a boisterous chuckle and maybe even a few White Dawgs, but I sat down with her last week to dig deeper and get all the deets.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Well, I’m 6’3” with blond hair and blue eyes.
[Laughs.] Other than that, what’s your family like?
My family lives in the culturally, socioeconomically and religiously diverse Southington, Conn. In other words, it’s very, very homogenous. I have one younger sister named Rachel. I have a turtle named Voldemort. He lives with me, but don’t tell [Campus Safety and] Security because I’m not sure I’m allowed to have him.
How did you acquire Voldemort?
Last fall, a friend of mine found this tiny woman huddled up in the Bronx who had a trench coat full of turtle food and an array of tiny turtle cages spread out around her. She realized that no sane human would refuse the opportunity to engage in a black market turtle deal. So she bought Voldy for five whole dollars. And then she promptly decided that turtle ownership was too stressful, so we hyphenated his last name and now I have custody.
What’s your family like?
Basically, my family is a study in contrasts, although they’re extremely loving and supportive. My mom hugs trees for a living, and my father gives her a reason to hug trees for a living. My mom is an environmental activist, and my father is a corporate executive. My parents have bred a sense of aggressive moderation in me; I will take the middle ground until the day I die.
You’re on the rugby team, right? What’s that like?
Rugby is one of the strangest things I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. I was a pretty serious athlete in high school but I decided that I did not want to go to college to play sports (either soccer or softball). I decided I wanted to make friends, sleep and do work, and it would be great. And then 4 [p.m.] happened my first day of college, and it was too weird and I couldn’t handle it. I had met a few members of the rugby team at a party the night before, and they seemed really cool. So I went to the first day of practice and was absolutely, positively terrified. So I had to go back.
What made you want to go back?
It was that I was so scared! I took it as a challenge. It’s still just the weirdest thing I do. It’s a strange and contrived sport. You can’t throw forward, for one thing. The point of the sport is just constant squishing. And the team has all these highly secretive, strange songs. We sing a cappella to Security.
Have you ever been injured badly?
[Knocks on wood.] No, although my mother cries every time she watches me play. On a happier note, we played Amherst on Saturday, and we won! So hopefully they will honor their bet and give us their jerseys, although they haven’t done so yet.
What else do you do on campus?
I do a lot of music. I play trumpet. My roots are in Dixieland jazz. My band and I only played music written before 1929 for audiences born before 1929. I have an enthusiastic geriatric audience in Connecticut. Fifteen-year-old me thought I was the coolest thing ever because I got to play in bars. Normally they compensate players with free drinks, so I would go up to the bartender and order a virgin rum and coke.
Are you staying on campus next year?
I’m going away to England in the spring, to study English grammar because I couldn’t come up with anything nerdier than that.
Tell me about a favorite TV show.
Almost all of the cultural references I make come from How I Met Your Mother. Well, kids, in the year 2006, my father and I discovered a new TV show. We started watching it together every week. It was legend … wait the ensuing nine seasons … dary. And then a magical thing happened when it was put on Netflix, so I could watch it and analyze each line over and over. I love having adventures, so it’s given me a lot of adventure possibilities. But my highlight would be having a goat lick the liberty bell. Fun fact for Record readers: there’s a video of Stephen Colbert trying to lick the liberty bell.
What other adventures have you had?
I love adventures more than anything in the entire world. One attempted adventure involves a set of huge public art swings at MASS MoCA. I’ve attempted to swing on them twice, but the exhibit always closes right before I get there. The last time I tried to go, I wanted to trespass, but they told me the swings had been taken down for the winter. So it would have been a pointless trespassing charge, which is the worst kind of trespassing charge. My other favorite local adventure spot is the Bennington Battle Monument. I fancy myself something of a regular there.
What’s so great about it?
For one, it’s very tall and somewhat phallic, so there are some giggles to be had. And you can also see for miles from the top, and we live in a very pretty area. So it makes your heart happy. It also has an old, somewhat crotchety caretaker who pushes the buttons on the elevator for you and yells at you if you go into the exhibit without a ticket. Also, the exhibits at the bottom detail the most ridiculous architectural pissing contest you will ever see.
What are your plans for this summer?
I’m planning a cross-country bike trip this summer. I applied for some internships and didn’t get those, so this is Plan B. Part of this planning involves convincing a co-conspirator’s parents thatbiking 3600 miles is a reasonable and safe thing to do, which is proving to be a Herculean task. And it actually is a reasonable and safe thing; lots of Williams students have done it, and there’s lots of resources along the way.
Any more interesting or fun facts about yourself you want to share with the Record?
Well, there’s that one time I tried to teach myself how to windsurf in the pool, which resulted in destroying the entire liner. Also, at home, I have a cat named Mittens Romney. She’s an election season cat because we adopted her in November of last year. Technically, her name is Chloe, but I refuse to call her that. I have two other cats at home. One is named Smokey, but now she’s Smokey 2.0, because she figured out that she could eat all the time. The other cat is named Bluebell, and my dad thinks it’s funny to shave her like a tiny lion.
That’s hilarious! I love cats. I have two at home.
I talk about my cats too much. One time I was in office hours with a professor. We were having a really serious conversation of the emotional intricacies of our respective felines. The conversation went on for a significant number of minutes. I walked out of office hours to find Kate Flanagan [’14] waiting for office hours and later got tagged in a Facebook status that says, “Waiting for office hours, but Liz Dietz can’t stop talking about her cats.” But it was worth every minute. I think I should have prepared a list of funny facts for this interview, but I just ended up talking about my animals. But they’re so entertaining! I have an escaping turtle.
An escaping turtle? So, how does that work?
Last year, I had him in a smaller tank. He rejected the confines of that tank, and he climbed up a rock, flipped himself out of the tank and took up residence in a dark corner of my room. There was an all-out turtle hunt in my entry. And that’s how I learned it’s not easy being green.