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Voice of the Week: Aaron Slipper

Published May 19, 2014

Aaron Slipper is not only a devoted mathematician, but actor and Philz Coffee lover. Photo by Kate Marinkovich.

Aaron Slipper is not only a devoted mathematician, but also an actor and Philz Coffee lover. Photo by Kate Marinkovich.

This week The Paly Voice sat down with senior Aaron Slipper to talk about parallel parking, Philz Coffee and math.

The Paly Voice: Tell us about yourself.

Aaron Slipper: I was born on March 28, 1996. I was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. It caused strangulation temporarily. I was apparently born a rather interesting shade of blue. I was always a colorful chap. What happened apparently was that the doctor unwrapped the thing from around me. It was rather stupid of me. It was not my most intelligent move. I’m not sure if it was latent desire to stay in the womb. Let’s face it, it’s like a warm bath, who wouldn’t? All your meals come prepared, you don’t have to think, you don’t have to eat, you don’t even have to sleep, or maybe you are asleep. I don’t even know. But I have a feeling that I didn’t want to leave so I attempted to harness myself with the umbilical cord, which caused it to wrap around my neck, which was not my most intelligent move because I didn’t know that I needed to breathe. I didn’t know that the neck was an important part that was necessary to my respiration. I guess I’m not really to blame, but it really wasn’t my most intelligent move. Most babies don’t seem to have the problem of coming out of the womb quite the way that I did.

TPV: Is it why you’re so smart now?

AS: It’s probably why I’m mad.

PV: What do you consider your most intelligent move?

AS: My most intelligent move? I have so many bad ones. Can I tell you about my worst?

PV: Sure.

AS: This won’t make me come off as boastfully arrogant. Well, I one time attempted to prove my intelligence to myself by riding my bicycle with my hands crossed, and I had forgotten what it was like to not know how to ride a bicycle, but I found out quite quickly. I couldn’t balance myself at all. I would push one way when I meant to push the other way and very quickly, I would run myself into the ground and scrape my knee. It was not my most intelligent move, but I’m not sure if it’s the worst that I ever did.

PV: The worst was coming out with the umbilical cord wrapped around your neck.

AS: Oh yes! What can beat that? That almost killed me from the start. Not intelligent – maybe they should give you an instruction manual down there. I could read it as I come out. Birth process is a natural phenomenon, life is much more exciting on the other side, the sun shines much brighter. That would have been excellent, but no such things exists.

PV: Unfortunately.

AS: Other stupid things that I’ve done in my life — there are many that I can speak of. Well, I once attempted to parallel park, which was a pretty poor idea. I’m not that bad a driver until I find that I need to squeeze the car into narrow spaces. I find that I take my foot off all pedals and I expect the car to move but it doesn’t, so I lightly tap the accelerator and it pushes forward into the car in front of me. At which point, I slam on the brakes and put the car in reverse and lightly tap on the accelerator and I fly into the car behind me. Of course it did widen the space, but that’s a little bit of a fabrication. So it was safe, but it took me about 12 maneuvers in order to get out.

PV: That’s not bad!

AS: Is that actually a record? It was a tight space, but it was worth it because I was going to Philz Coffee.

PV: Tell us about Philz Coffee.

AS: Philz Coffee descends from paradise in a conduit without touching the sides.

PV: That is a perfect explanation.

AS: It keeps one at greater alarm than any other beverage one can find and the Philtered Soul, oh the undertones of the hazelnut. Scrumptious.

PV: What about the Mint Mojitos?

AS: Mint Mojitos are pretty good. I’ve tried everything there. And I’ve learned to parallel park.

PV: Tell us about your high school experience.

AS: This is going to get all sentimental now, but high school has been absolutely awesome. I have no complaints. High school has been to me, well I haven’t had the college experience yet, but essentially the college experience. I got to know all of the teachers. I made wonderful relationships with fellow peers. I’ve exposed myself to lots and lots different activities that I never thought I’d do. I came to high school a determined geek, and nothing would shake me of it, but then I signed up for theater. … I figured it be quite fun but I didn’t realize that I would be hooked into every single show and want to continue it as a hobby or as an additional study. It’s hard to just give up theater. Theater is wonderful – it introduces me to fantastic people, a wonderful community of friends. It is of course completely egotistical to go on stage and perform in front of audience who you feel like is in the palm of your hand and you have control over. And you can forget your lines and cause the show to freeze, it’s so intense. It’s fantastic. Particularly doing a comedic role, when you can make the audience laugh.

PV: What’s your favorite show that you’ve been in?

AS: That’s a toughie. I think it would have to be “Twelfth Night.” It was just so much fun.

PV: Who did you play?

AS: I played Malvolio. … We did it as a romp. We did it only comedically, which allowed me to make the hammiest performance of my lifetime and it was just wonderful. Everything one could want to do. I got to pull disgusting faces, manifest all my chins.

PV: Tell me about math. You like math?

AS: Math is pure beauty.

PV: Better than Philz?

AS: Yes. As much as it pains me, I have to say so. And that’s not just because I have to parallel park. Thought experiment time: in the natural world, how often do you see a perfect circle?

PV: Not often.

AS: Almost never! … The only perfect lines you find in nature are the horizon, and of course the sea all the waves go off into the distance and form a nice line, and light beams. But you can’t see beams of light generally. … Why is it that humans in the man-made world have taken from nature only those perfect things? Why have we taken them? The answer in my opinion is fundamentally math as an aesthetic art. Math is an art, really. Math is the art of taking the most beautiful things in the world and making them perfect.

PV: So you’re off to Harvard next year. Are you excited?

AS: I am indeed, I am very excited. I am absolutely ecstatic.

PV: What are your final words to the Paly community?

AS: A profound thank you. It’s been wonderful, and I’ll miss you tremendously.

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