Sherman Ave Interviews Homecoming Court: Peter Podlipni
Last month, Sherman Ave sat down with all twelve members of this year's Northwestern Homecoming Court, and had conversations about love, life, and bad decisions made at Cheesie's. All this week, we will be publishing these interviews in anticipation of voting for Homecoming King and Queen opening on the 11th of October.
In this installment, Sherman Ave writers Manua Hiki-Hiki and Angela Twerkel sat down with the dashing Peter Podlipni, and had a discussion about sexy cousins, mythical spirit animals, and how to smuggle Polish cheese.
Manua Hiki-Hiki: So let’s start with the basics – why Northwestern?
Peter Podlini: Because I got a scholarship. I was planning on going to U of I for my entire life. And then in August or July right before my senior year, I got a letter in the mail from QuestBridge and I was like “I’ll apply for that.” And the application for QuestBridge was due the 30th of September – so I had to get all my stuff ready immediately. Then I applied and I got it – so I was like “cool.”
Hiki-Hiki: So you’re not on Facebook...
Peter: I am on Facebook!
Hiki-Hiki & Angela Twerkel: You are?!?
Peter: So I’m student teaching at a public high school; senior year the education majors change their names to make it their first names and their middle names, but mine is changed to the Polish versions of my first name and middle name.
Angela Twerkel: I found you on LinkedIn, though. Some pretty scandalous stuff there. Apparently you like water polo.
Hiki: And you did 8 years of lifeguarding.
Peter: Is it 8 years?
Hiki: It says three and a half years here, and four years in high school.
Peter: It was four years at the parks and three years here – but they kind of overlapped a little bit. So maybe five or six years.
Hiki: That is some false advertising.
Peter: I know. I went to a LinkedIn workshop and I just made some stuff and never went back for it. Maybe I should update it.
Twerkel: It’s probably better than my LinkedIn, since I have Sherman Ave on there.
Hiki: Would you be willing to give mouth-to-mouth to one of your subjects if they were dying?
Peter: Absolutely. I actually might be carrying my pocket mask.
Peter: We have to carry them on our fannies – it’s an OSHA requirement. I actually wore mine to Dillo Day. I’m always worried someone’s going to be just passed out.
Hiki: I was just going to say to have it to protect yourself from any unintentional mouth-to-mouth situations.
Hiki: So obviously you’re a very good Samaritan. You won a Campus Life award. The previous homecoming king, Demitri, also won a Campus Life award. Do you think this makes you the rightful heir to the Homecoming throne?
Peter: Maybe. Could be. I mean, if people want somebody who volunteers at a health clinic for the uninsured…It’s pretty nice –
Hiki: Making a real strong case against your opponents here.
Peter: Yeaaah. If you people want to elect me as their king, that’d be pretty cool.
Hiki: If people want to elect the most noble, helpful...
Twerkel: Carries around a pocket mask...
Peter: Maybe, yeah. On Dillo Day, will anyone else come with a pocket mask to give you CPR?
Hiki: You’re a secondary education major – why?
Peter: I wanted to be a high school teacher ever since I was sitting in my AP Gov class senior or junior year. I was just watching two teachers talk about teacher stuff, and I was just like, “I want to do that.” You know when you’re sitting in class and you just feel really good about yourselves?
Twerkel: Yeah! That’s why we’re here.
Peter: Yeah, right? And you feel like you’re growing and it’s all thanks to the teacher. So I’ve been really inspired by all the work they put in and how they change young people’s lives.
Hiki: So you’re obviously a very good person, a very helpful person – so we’re going to go the opposite way here. If you had to alienate the entire Northwestern student body, how would you choose to do so?
Peter: I would probably use Yik Yak. I’ve never downloaded Yik Yak, but I’ve heard stories about it. Everyone now and then, I’ll encounter OFSL (Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life) staff and they’ll be like, “So Yik Yak?” And I’ll be like, “I don’t know, I’m sorry.” They’re trying to get some information, but I couldn’t help. People get pretty nasty on there.
Hiki: Some people say that Homecoming Court is a popularity contest that doesn’t reflect the Northwestern community. I don’t have a question here, just wanted to inform you that there is dissent among your subjects.
Peter: There is dissent. I think that’s good though. I don’t like sheep, everyone having the same thoughts.
Hiki: So no metaphorical sheep? How do you feel about literal sheep?
Peter: Oh I love them. I really like sheep cheese.
Twerkel: That’s a thing?
Peter: Yeah! I actually had to smuggle some in. I was abroad this summer, and there was this sheep cheese guy in the countryside. He’s pounding the cheese by hand and smoking it in his shack. And I bought it from him. But then my luggage was really overweight and they’re like “You wanna move some stuff?” And it smells really bad, so I just paid the fee – because if I opened up my luggage they’d find it. This is some good cheese. But I love dissent. Bring it on.
Hiki: How do you want to die?
Peter: Probably quick. I don’t want that whole drowning thing. I don’t want the burning thing. I don’t want falling from somewhere. You ever have those dreams where you’re falling and you wake up and you still think you’re falling? Those are the worst.
Twerkel: Would you prefer freezing to death? I hear you get a nice high before you die.
Peter: Noooo. I really don’t like hypothermia. Hypothermia’s the worst.
Hiki: I don’t think I know many people who do enjoy hypothermia.
Peter: Yeah. When the winter comes it’s just long underwear and thermals. Write that down: If this is your first year in Chicago, you just have to get long underwear and thermals and you’re fine. You’ll feel invincible.
Twerkel: If you had to marry, screw, and kill one person on the Homecoming Court, who would it be?
Peter: Oh God, I don’t know these kids yet. I’ve just been Facebook stalking them to be honest.
Hiki: Who’s the most interesting one?
Peter: Well the one that comes up the most on my newsfeed is Brannon Bowers, but I think that’s just because he posts a lot of stuff. But it’s interesting, stalking them online before meeting them. Then you have to see if they match up with the voice you’ve created for them. It’s like Tinder.
Hiki: Do you use Tinder?
Peter: Well I did once. I never really met up with someone from there, but I ran into someone at a bar. It was really awkward. He was really mean and I was like, “Honey, no.”
Hiki: On the note of judging people based on how attractive they are, who’s the sexiest muppet? There is a right answer.
Peter: Does Cookie Monster count as a muppet?
Twerkel: No, I don’t think so. He’s on Sesame Street.
Peter: Ah right. I’d probably go with Kermit then. There’s this really sassy meme going around with him drinking tea or something, and I like the sass.
Hiki: We were looking for Animal.
Twerkel: What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
Peter: I’m sassy sometimes. I think being a lifeguard so long, people on the beach try to get away with some that they can’t get away with, and you kind of learn to never let anyone win. That’s what I like about myself.
Hiki: So you like people not accomplishing what they want?
Peter: Well when it’s breaking the rules or the law, yes.
Hiki: So you’re not a lawbreaker?
Peter: …Sometimes. There was a lot of hesitation there.
Hiki: When was the first time you broke the law?
Peter: I don’t know. I think I stole like 25 cents from my mom when I was five years old. Don’t tell her. That plus interest would be a lot now.
Hiki: Speaking of breaking the law, how would you evade the draft?
Peter: Well, before Don’t Ask Don't Tell was taken down I was going to be like, “Haii, what are you doin’ after this draft?”, but now it would be that I could never be the reason someone’s life ended. I don’t know if that would work as well as the last one, but I’m still glad the law was changed.
Hiki: What remains on your Northwestern Bucket List?
Peter: Graduating!! Kidding, but it’s on there. I still haven’t gone to Taco Bell at an obscene hour.
Twerkel: That was the first thing I did.
Hiki: So I guess your answer to have you ever vomited into a bucket is a no then?
Peter: One time, it was the summer and I’d just got back from a lifeguard banquet and there was a trashcan next to my bed but there was nothing in it. I’ve definitely done it, just not into buckets.
Twerkel: So do you not like buckets? More of an alley person?
Peter: Well, I was on a school bus and it was all over my friends. Lifeguard banquets get pretty crazy.
Hiki: So you’re a person-to-person vomitter? All about connections.
Twerkel: Have you ever vomited on yourself?
Peter: The answer may surprise you. We all have those moments, no one is above those moments.
Twerkel: So speaking of vomit, what’s the most heinous thing you’ve ever done? That usually also involves vomit.
Peter: I think it would be being that bad. It got on my back somehow. And when people were carrying me off the school bus, it got on everywhere. That was a wild time, sorry everybody if they ever read this.
Hiki: What’s your favorite Sherman Ave article or feature?
Peter: The one about, when you’re a suburban person, how to pretend to be from Chicago.
Twerkel: Do you relate to that one, or just like calling them out?
Peter: It was just funny to read because I’m from Chicago, from the city, and so I was like they need this because I can sniff ‘em out real fast. And the whole Pink Line thing. There’s this weird philosophical debate going on in the comment section. Number one rule, never look at the comment section and never add to the comment section. Just don’t do it.
Hiki: What’s your favorite thing you’ve seen in any website’s comment section?
Peter: I really hate when there’s random racist comments being made, because you really see how in different corners of the country people will just throw crap at each other for no reason. You don’t know this person, you don’t know who they are or where they’re from and you’re going to pull out that kind of comment on them? Kinda gross. There’s just no need.
Twerkel: On that note, what’s you’re least favorite human right?
Peter: To own a gun. You need education, you need healthcare, you don’t need a gun. You can live without one. If you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, firearms aren’t really on the first level.
Hiki: Fair enough. We’re getting pretty philosophical here, maybe too intelligent. To take it back a notch, can you please define “Northwestern Hot?”
Peter: I always hear women saying there’s not enough hot guys, and guys saying there’s not enough hot girls. I don't really know what they’re talking about because when I go to campus I’m like “DAYUMMM.” This is Miami; ya’ll look fineeee. But I think for a girl it’s being extra smart, and just looking very well kept, groomed. And then guys have to do more work in styling their hair and wearing tighter clothes then really fit them because they want to seem buff. Like “I didn’t go to SPAC for three weeks and I still look buff because I bought a shirt that’s too small."
Hiki: Would you say the standard of beauty is more difficult on men then? Because it sounds like the men have to do more.
Peter: Well, yeah because the women are amazingly intelligent so they won’t fall for a man’s tricks. He’s got to try harder.
Hiki: Really catering to the female vote here.
Twerkel: Winning me over. Showered, I can try.
Peter: Yeah women just have to brush their hair and leave and that’s fine.
Hiki: I agree. WHY ARE WE HERE?
Peter: Why are we here? You guys emailed me, well I email you guys. Why are we at Northwestern?
Twerkel: WHY ARE WE HERE?
Peter: I’m going to go with why are we at Northwestern. I think it’s because we all had this vision in life and Northwestern’s our medium to getting there. Maybe we didn’t really have a concrete vision, but we knew we had to go somewhere to find direction.
Hiki: What’s the strangest vision you’ve ever had?
Peter: I was in Poland and had this really heavy meal. I went home and I had this really horrible nightmare that I was drugged and wandering around the basement. I wanted to get out of the high and couldn't get out of the high. It was awful. I was laying on the floor in some basement in this club.
Twerkel: And this wasn’t reality?
Hiki: I was going to say, this sounds like Saturday.
Peter: I woke up and was like I hope this was a dream. It was just ten minutes later.
Twerkel: So getting to a club in that amount of time not likely.
Peter: Yeah, probably impossible.
Hiki: What’s you’re mythical spirit animal?
Peter: Somebody at the beach once told me my spirit animal, and it was a seagull. I’m pretty sure they just got lazy because they saw a seagull. But I had another person once tell me it was a white lynx. I like that one better.
Hiki: I think those both exist.
Peter: But seagulls are just annoying, and I hope I’m not annoying.
Hiki: Just an act of convenience, like “What’s your spirit animal?” -- “The, uh, shell, you are a shell”.
Peter: But she asked me some legit questions, like what’s your favorite color, how many siblings do you have? She looked like she knew what she was doing.
Hiki: Does anyone really know what they’re doing when they give you a spirit animal?
Twerkel: I mean apparently mine is Amanda Bynes.
Peter: Really? That's not an animal.
Hiki: Well… Jury’s out. Anyway, who is your sexiest cousin?
Peter: My cousins in Poland, three of them just did a random photo shoot with this guy who’s training to become a photographer, and they look like models.
Twerkel: So are they tied for sexiest or sexiest together?
Peter: The three of them, they were taking a lot of shoots together, and they had guitars and other props, so it was pretty cool.
Hiki: What’s the weirdest thing you find sexy?
Peter: One of my ex’s was talking about how his company would derive alcohol from wood debris. They had this set up that they used bacteria to breakdown this wood to produce alcohol. When he was explaining it I remember getting quite aroused by his intellect.
Twerkel: Are you sure he wasn’t just making grain alcohol?
Peter: It was some ethanol solution for industrial purposes. But I just remember getting extremely aroused.
Hiki: So you’re into men who can turn wood into alcohol?
Twerkel: And you would consider intellect a strange thing to find sexy?
Peter: No, but in that moment. The first thing I do notice is someone’s hands.
Twerkel: Do you have a preferred glove size?
Peter: I didn’t know gloves had sizes. Large.
Hiki: What are 5 of the books that have had the LEAST influence on you?
Peter: Probably Huck Finn. I didn’t finish reading it. I didn’t get the context of it at all because I was reading it in high school and was just not ready to handle it. Probably the third Hunger Games, because why did Prim have to die.
Hiki: Wow, spoiler alert.
Twerkel: We can’t publish that! [Editors' Note: Sure we can!]
Peter: Sorry. I’m pretty sure everyone’s read or seen Harry Potter though. Why did they have to kill off just one of the twins?
Hiki: What happened to your twin that was killed?
Peter: Well I was one of those pregnancies where one of twins engulfs the other one.
Twerkel: Really? Good call.
Hiki: So the worst thing you’ve done is you killed a child --
Peter: Well, some of their cells are in my body but that’s just about it.
Twerkel: Do you have two different sets of DNA then? Can I call you a mutant?
Peter: I don’t know.
Hiki: I think we just found the headline for your interview. Peter Podlipni: He Ate His Twin.
Peter: Maybe that’d be too controversial.
Hiki: Ha, too controversial.
Peter: Might scare away some of my voters.
Hiki: You’ve made up for it since then. Do you think that’s why you became a lifeguard? All of the guilt?
Peter: Yeah, it's why I volunteer, it’s why I want to be a teacher. Make up for all my sins and crimes.
Hiki: If you had one final thing to say to potential voters, what would that be?
Peter: Vote for me, but also in the mean time while you’re being a Northwestern student, just really take it easy. We like to be busy, but don’t feel bad for not being busy. Have a free day where you can go to SPAC and take one of the cool classes. Walk down the Lakefill and just sit there. Without your phone or a book. And stare at the geese. Don’t get all caught up in the rush of things.