That Guy: Jonathan Welle
December 8, 2007
p. Late at night, you can find Jonathan Welle in one of two places: slaving over work in Tucker Hall or streaking somewhere on campus. Welle, with his incredibly dynamic personality, is the only man who could mesh these activities so seamlessly. He’s a modern cowboy with his signature eyebrow ring on a never-ending journey for adventure. And yet, he has an incredibly sensitive side — a Chapstick addict who maintains a strong relationship with his grandmother.
p. Tell me a little bit about your eyebrow ring.
p. It’s something I had always wanted to do throughout high school, but I couldn’t because of sports. It was definitely premeditated. I came to College knowing I wanted to do it here, but I was a little nervous about getting it done. March of my freshman year, I worked up the courage.
p. It is definitely a point of uniqueness that I have come to appreciate. I don’t expect to have it forever. I’ll get rid of it when I have a real job … which my mother hopes will be sooner rather than later. For the time being, I’m definitely down with it. There have been times that I’ve thought about adding something crazy like a dangling earring or avicious stud pipe, but that would risk impairing my vision or damaging my eye. One time, the eyebrow ring cast a shadow on my nose when I was reading a book. I thought it was a bug and tried to swat it several times. I was like “damn … this is the most persistent bug I’ve ever seen.” But then I realized it was a shadow, so I stopped swatting.
p. In what other ways have you defied people’s expectations of you?
p. One summer I worked at a ranch called Tumbling River. I was a horse wrangler and team counselor, so every morning I would wear my cowboy costume and take care of the horses. I basically shoveled their poop, and then in the late mornings and afternoons I would get to spend time with teenagers on the ranch.
p. We would do fun things like rock climbing, or going on trail rides, or white water rafting. We also made up skits for the ranch’s talent show. My favorite performance was a rap we made up. We called it “Tum-bling Bling River,” and made lots of fake jewelry, which we wore. It was a fun job but incredibly intense. It is something I am really glad I did because it was quite the unique experience and something I learned a lot from but not a job I would necessarily be excited to take again. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as they say.
p. You were a horse wrangler? Did you have previous experience riding?
p. I really had next to no horse experience coming in, so it was a lot of on-the-job training. The good news for my employers was that most of the requirements of the horse wrangler were to scoop poop and brush and saddle the horses, which pretty much anyone can do. It was only through the course of the summer that I learned to do things like leading the trail rides and riding in the rodeo.
p. So, is becoming a professional horse wrangler in the works now?
p. No, I’ve been working on my dream job for a long time and, slowly, I am figuring out what it is I want to do. I want to do something hands on and tangible … something that I feel is making a worthwhile contribution. At this point, while I am free to do so, I consider those characteristics to be more important than any other. I don’t have an answer more specific than that, but I am excited at the possibility of doing work with an onsite group such as USAid, PeaceCorps, AmeriCorps or Habitat. I’ve really looked into getting involved with all things like that.
p. You seem to have acquired traits typical of a cowboy. Do you play guitar too?
p. Yes, I have actually played for a long time. Maybe nine years, which I am always hesitant to say because that would imply I should be good at it. I’m not that good. In fact, I’m really not good, but I still like to do it. When I decide to make the time for it, it’s something I really love to do.
p. What is another thing students might not know about you?
p. I’m completely addicted to Chapstick. I don’t know why that is. I feel like I need it physically for my lips. But, and this is going to sound ridiculous, it is also a comfort, nervous habit type of thing for me. I always carry it around with me and my close friends know that. Occasionally I will be in the Leafe and someone who needs it will get my attention and just mouth “Chapstick” at me. If I like them, I might give it to them.
p. What is one thing you have worked hard on during your time at the College?
p. I would have to say balancing school work and friends. Ever since freshman year, it has been a focus of mine. As every college student knows, it is hard to find the right balance between the two. I think I have learned to prioritize school when needed, yet simultaneously enjoy my friends and make the most of this school. Gosh, I’m imagining how this is going to sound printed and I know people are going to think, “Oh man, what a tool bag.” But it’s true.