That Guy: Richard Walsh
September 15, 2009
__At our Daily Grind coffee date, I quickly find that Richard Walsh’s animated handshake and bright orange polo shirt match his equally vibrant presence and personality. With charming social graces and a personable character, I can’t help but love talking and laughing with this senior about the role of humor in his life and why he loves the College of William and Mary so much. A fraternity man, three-year AMP member and fan of the Green Leafe Cafe, Richard is a great representation of the enthusiasm and dedication of the College’s student body.__
*You interviewed prospective students this summer for an internship at the College’s Admission’s Office and asked a lot of students what three adjectives they would use to describe themselves. What would your three be?*
Probably not “decisive.” I’ve got to work on that [laughs]. I would say “kind;” I think it’s always important to be kind to others. I would say “concerned;” whenever I hear about something that’s not right or something that could be better, especially if it’s something that I’m involved in, I want to do my part and do my best to help it. “Kind,” “concerned” and “diligent,” I would say.
*What news source do you most rely on?*
I like the newspaper. I also find myself going on CNN.com because that’s the way I can get most news quick. One of my big goals for the year is reading the news more often and being a more informed citizen. I’m very tempted to go to CNN and read an article about a flying squirrel, and I’m like no, read an article about gang violence or health care. I like the idea of having a physical newspaper though; I’ve always been a Washington Post kid, growing up.
*How do you feel about Jon Stewart ’84 and Stephen Colbert?*
I love them. I don’t like that everyone’s all excited about Jon Stewart when he doesn’t really like William and Mary because that’s really unfortunate, but I think Colbert’s satirical approach to the news is so funny. There was an issue of Newsweek recently that Colbert stepped in and was the news editor for, and it was hilarious. On the front cover there was a picture of him with a shaved head with “Iraq” on the side.
*What sense of humor do you most appreciate?*
I feel like satirical humor, like Amy and David Sedaris. I don’t know if you remember Kelly Quinn ’09, but she is one of my favorite people, and I love Seventh Grade Sketch Comedy’s shows. I love that silly and out-there humor.
*Who is your favorite comedian?*
I love Tina Fey. I absolutely love Tina Fey. I think that she’s awesome, and I respect her for being a great actress and the role of being a good comedian, but also for writing.
*Do you have a favorite word?*
I love the color orange and the word “orange” is pretty cool since nothing rhymes with it. I love the movie “Mean Girls” and the character Damien when one of the girls asks how to spell orange. I think it’s hysterical.
*Who is your favorite author?*
I think this is kind of a trite answer, but I like Mark Twain a lot, especially since I learned more about his life in a literature class I took here called Romance of the Road. I love just how Mark Twain was just his writing name and how he was so clever and so perceptive of what was really going on in the world at such an interesting time. And how he wrote “Huck Finn” and the big implications of it. I really admire people who ,broke the mold and who through amazing works of literature, were able to communicate their real opinions and thoughts about it at a time when it wasn’t socially acceptable.
*What are your feelings on dance parties? Fun or too sweaty?*
I think you have to make a commitment to be sweaty to enjoy it; but really I think they are much more freshman-to-junior oriented. As a senior in Kappa Delta Rho, I like to be around to help regulate and make sure people are safe since I’m kind of like a nerdy grandpa like that. Risk management. At the same time, it’s fun to go crazy at an impromptu dance club on campus before the Green Leafe Underground opens, which I don’t know if it will ever happen.
*Do you go to the delis often?*
I did this summer. I definitely got to know them well, especially Corona night, but I quickly realized that every penny I was making was being spent at the Green Leafe, so I haven’t been as much this year. But I really want to make sure I log some major deli time as a senior because I feel like that’s what you gotta do.
*What state would you most like to visit?*
I really want to go to Wyoming because it would be really interesting. I really want to explore the state parks. I feel like going abroad last summer was really cool to see a lot of Europe, but I haven’t even seen all of the United States, so I want to be able to do that before I have to get too settled in somewhere.
*If you could have any superpower what would it be?*
Teleportation. Flying is great, but what are you going to do when it rains? Have you thought about that? No, you haven’t. Swimming underwater, breathing underwater — nope, great, but you’re not going to go in the Crim Dell anyway.
*You mentioned you are a YouTube aficionado. What are some must-sees?*
“I like turtles” or “Zombie Kid Likes Turtles.” Completely awkward, hilarious, brilliant. I try not to laugh at misfortune, but when people put the videos up themselves it’s all right. So have you ever watched “Scarlett Takes a Tumble?” The remixes are the best. One more I’d say is “Grape Stomp.” I kind of feel really bad about that one, but a lot of people watch it.
*What’s your favorite song currently playing on the radio?*
I have terrible taste in music; like guilty pleasure music, and I love the Top 40. There’s this song by this new artist Jason Derulo called “Whatcha Say” that’s a sampling of Imogen Heap where he took the chorus and put it into this rap song. Also “Down” by Jay Sean. God, no taste, but it’s so good. It’s so bad, but it’s so good. When they have no staying power, you know they are not going to be around for long, but they’re damn good songs.
*What are your favorite places on campus?*
Lake Matoaka. Love Lake Matoaka. Dinwiddie, [my freshman dorm,] backs up to the Keck Lab and the dock, so I spent a lot of time on the dock. And the Amphitheatre is absolutely gorgeous.
*You were involved in AMP for three years. What has been a standout event for you?*
I miss AMP but it’s also been nice getting more sleep. Definitely Blowout Bash, the party on the Sunken Garden on the last day of classes. When I saw that baby pool full of ice cream it was like a dream come true. Imagine those Baskin Robbins-size things of ice cream without any wrappings; there were cylinders of ice cream like towers. You could just go at it with a spoon and I wanted to de-stabilize it to make it fall apart.
__As the interview ends and our conversation shifts into a comfortable chat, Richard and I start to talk about often-bashed campus housing structures, such as the Units and Botetourt. Richard defends life at the Units as someone who has been a resident there for the past three years, and gives the advice that in the end “It doesn’t matter where you live’ it just matters who you live with.” It’s a small expression of optimism, but I think it’s a simple way to sum up Richard’s sunny outlook on life.__