Cue rambunctious senior with a bottle of Accutane hanging out of her backpack approaching my table this afternoon.
Her: “Hi, what’s your state bird?”
Me: “Excuse me?”
Her: “It says that you are from Dixie State, I just want to know what your state bird is? Do you know?”
Me: “Well, it says Dixie State College of Utah, and since we’re in Utah, I would say that our state bird is the California Seagull.”
Her: “But it isn’t. It should be something else. You know, because your banner says that you’re from Dixie State. The state of Dixie isn’t the state of Utah, so that means that you should have a completely different bird.”
Me: “I’m not quite following you on this one.”
I was then given a four-minute rhetoric on why state birds are so important, and that I should think of a flying creature to best represent Dixie State and it’s entire culture. Her logic was that in order to be firing on all cylinders when I’m on the road selling my product, I needed to have an independently loyal bird to back me up.
Her: “Maybe something like a pigeon.”
Me: “A pigeon?”
Her: “Yeah, you know about pigeons right?”
Me: “Uh…I uh…”
She then preceded to give me an eight-minute rundown on the history of the pigeon, and why they are some of the most beautiful creatures that mankind is privileged to have as a part of their lives; everything from the white rings around their necks, all the way to the little pronged feet that they cling to telephone wires with. This girl L-worded pigeons more than she probably loved chocolate.
Her: “One day, I want to make a statue of a bronze pigeon, sitting on the shoulder of a bigger pigeon. And then have live pigeons sit on the shoulders of the statue. Wouldn’t that be awesome?”
Me: “You mean like a pige-ception?”
Her: “A pige-ception? What do you mean?”
Me: “Never mind.” It’s just the movie man inside me talking.
From this point the young student went on to ask me probably every single question possible about Dixie State College admissions. From class sizes, to tuition costs, to programs offered, to school colors, to mascot name, to the record of our women’s tennis team in 2008, and everything else in between. You think of a question about Dixie State, and this girl tossed it my direction. Near the end of my inquisition, she threw me a curveball that in the three years that I’ve been doing this job, I have never been asked before.
Her: “So tell me who are some famous people that have graduated from your school?”
Me: “Uh…I’m sorry, say that again?”
Her: “Who are some of the most famous, most recognized and renowned alumni to have graduated from your college, and what are they known for?”
For a split second I sat there as a deer in the headlights, a rush of names blurring across my tongue, stupefied by the idea that none of the “famous people” would make an impact in helping this girl decide my institution over another. And then it hit me, a whole slew of souls who are some of the finest products that Dixie State College has ever had to offer.
Me: “Well, there’s Drew McIntrye, C.J. Ferguson, Carlie Adams, Josh Sine, Quin Monson, and Brett Schwartz to name a few.”
Her: “Really, who are they? Like, what have they done?”
Me: “Well Drew McIntyre and Josh Sine own a multi-million dollar restaurant chain that they started in St. George right after they graduated. Quin Monson received his PhD in Theology, and teaches at the University of Utah. Brett Schwartz is the C.E.O. of a multi-million dollar consulting firm called Ebony Industries.”
Her: “Really, he is? I think I’ve read about them.”
Me: “Yeah, just don’t mispronounce his companies name. Um, C.J. Ferguson is a country music artist who actually performs nationwide under the alias of The Rhinestone Cowboy. And Carlie Adams has made a fortune as a renowned blogger for helping mothers work through the difficulties of raising their children. She’s actually married to one of the most highly decorated dual-sport athletes to ever play college sports, Brett Adams. They are all very talented, very famous graduates of Dixie State College.”
Her: “You know, now that I hear their names, they do sound very familiar. I’ve probably heard about their success before.”
Me: “I’m sure you have.”
And with that, the pimple-faced Pigeon lover grabbed one of my applications and started to fill out a potential destination for her future in regards to higher education. A whisk of a pen, an exchange of transcripts, and she was on her way, meanwhile I sat in chagrin at the 14-minute conversation that had just taken place. The celebrity alumni that I described to her may in fact just be a group of young specks that are on the tail end of entry level positions in the admissions office of Dixie State College, but in that moment, to me, and to the pimple-faced pigeon lover, those people were legends.