Two years ago — before she was even 10 Questions Girl — Alex Kuczynski-Brown ’12 promised Steven Wexler ’12 of men’s track and field fame, that he would have the opportunity to be 10 Question-ed. This past Monday, on the patio of CTB, she finally made good on that promise. They discussed his various natural abilities, which include but are not limited to painting murals in the track house, doing “the Bernie,” and eating expired food. Wex also shared his strategy for getting on The Price Is Right, and how he hopes he doesn’t get into another fight with a hurdle at this year’s Heps.
1. For starters, I wanted to ask about your high school track days — namely, what was it like going to rival high schools with current teammate Tom Randall ’12?
Yeah, I went to Don Bosco which is right down the road from Tom’s school. Heated rivals in football and everything. Obviously our school was the smarter, stronger school in the rivalry. It was neat, though — me and Tom got to know each other. Tom has admitted he would have gone to Bosco if he could choose it again. ... [The rivalry] causes some weeks in the house where I don’t talk to Tom, or he doesn’t talk to me — during the week when they play each other back home. There’s a lot of pride in our high school and stuff, which is neat. It’s a lot different from other areas. When Tom isn’t paying attention I have been trying to convince his puppy that it’s name is Bosco instead of Zander — I think that would give me the rivalry win for life.
If you could explain the phrase “Bend over Bosco.”
[laughing] You know, I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. Bergen [Catholic] [is full of] pretty immature guys, so they’ve got to resort to some low blows about Bosco, but we are definitely the eye of all the lady schools around the area. They’re always looking to hang out with the Bosco guys, so I think Tom’s school gets a little jealous.
Is it true you used to wear superhero tee shirts to track meets?
That is true — I got roped into it, I promise. But I was the Flash. We had Batman and Superman ... I was the Flash, you know, lived up to it ... speedsuit as well — everything, all included.
So you discontinued this tradition when you came to Cornell, is that right?
I discontinued it. Nobody was on board with me. I lost all my sidekicks, so I wasn’t able to continue.
2. I know Heps are coming up in a few weeks, so in anticipation of that I was wondering if you could talk about your “fight with the hurdles” at last year’s Heps?
Last year I had the race of my life; people still talk about it to this day — about how demoralizing it was. I got up to the ninth hurdle in the lead, and I fell over the hurdle. I still beat a Dartmouth guy, which I was pretty proud of. But yeah, I fell, it was brutal. The announcer was quoted saying [does announcer voice] “The race leader just ate it, what a bummer.” It was pretty demoralizing, so hopefully this year goes a little better.
What did Professor Dale Grossman have to say about your performance?
My roommate Danny [Hagberg ’12] told her about how he won the hurdles, which she was obviously very proud of him for. And then [laughing], he told her about how I fell, which she found pretty amusing. She felt bad — she felt for me, but she thought it was pretty funny. It was pretty comical, I can look back on it and laugh now. On that note, I would like to give a shoutout to Professor Grossman for being such a great Big Red athletics supporter — she is really great.
Is there video of this race?
There is video proof, oh absolutely ... you know, I watch it occasionally to see if it measures up with all the hurdle fails on YouTube. I do not plan on uploading it on there anytime soon, though.
3. What is “the predator”?
The predator — you know, we all have a little predator inside ourselves. ... I’m pretty competitive at most things I do, and the predator is what comes out, the competitive me. If I want something, I’m going to get it, and that’s the predator. It’s an exclusive club — some of my roommates are fellow predators, but it’s a tough crowd to join, I’d say.
When does this come out in practice?
In practice occasionally it will come out. I wish I could do the predator trot right now, but I don’t know if I can do it here, in Collegetown. The predator will come out in practice sometimes ... that’s when people really see what it’s all about.
4. Apparently you’re quite the artist — what can you tell me about the giant mural you painted in the track house?
In our house we have some neat things that we’ve just done out of pure boredom. We have a cereal kitchen wall, so it’s a bunch of cereal boxes that line our kitchen. And I decided to paint a mural of the Ivy League running on our wall. Our landlord’s not too happy about it, but it’s a work of art.
How long did it take you to do this mural?
It took about a week. I definitely took a vacation from classes and focused on my artwork.
Where’d you learn to paint like this?
Well, it’s natural. Most of my talents are just natural ability.
And you left Brown out of the mural?
I did leave Brown out. I like to say it would have messed up the evenness of the sides, but I mean ... Brown’s Brown.
And regarding this cereal wall, how many cereal boxes are there would you say?
That’s a good question. I don’t really eat the cereal, but I helped assemble the wall, and it’s a lot. It’s quite the spectacle.
You don’t eat the cereal, though?
Oh, because I was going to ask you, of these cereal boxes — how many were expired when you ate them? Because I understand you have this tendency to eat expired food.
[laughing] Yes, I will eat anything ... one time I ate a whole box of 1994 muffins. Any challenge I’ll take on regarding expired food.
Where did this habit come from?
You know, it’s more just — I believe you live longer if you get your body used to all that expired bacteria. People believe I don’t eat this stuff and make up stories ... but it’s just another feat of mine.
Your teammates seem to think you got it from your grandfather, who you always refer to.
Oh yeah, my grandfather — he’ll eat anything and I’m really just trying to continue his legacy. My grandpa Big Al would also not be too happy if he heard the guys were mocking his ability to eat anything. I am sure he still has a mean right hook.
Speaking of your stomach and intestinal fortitude, I’m told you can do some crazy stripper belly rolls. How’d you develop this skill?
The belly roll is definitely something through the years I’ve developed. No one can do it quite like me. It’s definitely a back-up plan in case my career ambitions don’t work out.
Can you explain the mechanics of this belly roll you’ve perfected?
If you just picture the best belly-roller you’ve ever seen ... it’s that times about two. It’s very attractive.
Do the ladies really take to that?
I’d like to think so, but who knows. There’s a girl out there who’d be into the belly roll.
Apparently you’re also the best at doing “the Bernie.” What does that entail, and how’d you get to be so good at it?
The Bernie’s a move that swept the nation, and it’s more you bend your back back ... and just Bernie it up. I’m very talented at the Bernie.
How’d it get its name?
I believe it’s from the movie Weekend at Bernie’s.
Oh okay, that would make sense.
It’s almost like a limp body — I pride myself on my Bernie ability.
5. Why does Tom Randall call you “the mayor”?
Tom likes to think I know a lot of people and I like to just be the nicest guy to a lot of people. I guess he just thinks I know a good amount of people around here. It mostly comes from home as well, where Tom just believes that I would go around as if I was the mayor and just meet everybody.
Well I feel like I’m receiving conflicting information here, because one of your teammates claims that you are “the biggest hater” he knows, and that you always talk down to people from states that are not New York or New Jersey. So what do you have to say for yourself?
I have a lot of New Jersey pride. I believe that’s Chris Bain ’14 — I met his parents, and they just loved me right from the start. And they invited me to Texas whenever I wanted. And basically Bain got a little jealous of that, and started telling people that I hate on Texas. That’s false — I love Texas and everything about it. Everything’s big there. Bain’s not too big of a guy, so I think he missed out on the “Everything’s bigger in Texas.”
Is this why you want to marry a girl from Texas?
Yeah, I love Texas. I hope to move there eventually and settle down with a nice Texas girl.
Anyone in mind right now?
No, no. Just a belly-rolling-Bernie-lover who enjoys my artistic ability.
6. Why the propensity for sleeping in closets?
I’m a sleepwalker — you never know when I’m just going to pop up somewhere. I’ve woken up in a closet before, I’ve also woken up in my roommate’s bed midweek. Everyone’s usually shocked by this, I’m so used to it I kind of just act like it’s normal at this point.
I don’t know if this goes along with your sleepwalking, but your freshman year roommate claims you used to speak Spanish in your sleep.
That’s a fact. When I’m conscious I’m not very good at Spanish, but apparently in my sleep, I’m fluent. The talents are just endless.
7. I guess this has something to do with you being “the mayor,” but what was your strategy for getting into parties freshman year?
I used to tell the bouncers that either my cousin was in the frat, or occasionally I’d say I was out for a smoke. As a track runner obviously I don’t smoke, but I used to tell them I was out smoking but had been in the party. It was always just a fun game to play, seeing who could get into the party first without standing in line. I was definitely the best at that, sneaking my way through.
And if the sweet-talking failed ... ?
I think we resorted to a couple things — a couple open windows, occasionally. Really anything to avoid standing in line for something.
8. For the sake of being told I would get an interesting response if I asked this: what is your opinion on aliens?
I’m not a big alien supporter. My freshman roommate, Matthew Cato ’12, is a firm believer in aliens. We’ve had many a debate on the topic. So if anyone wants a solid debate on aliens, just find Matt Cato. He should be walking around somewhere. ... Whatever Cato believes, I’ll believe the opposite. That’s pretty much how it works.
9. Is women’s track co-captain Molly Glantz ’12 at all jealous of your bromance with her boyfriend Josh Vick ’12?
[laughing] Yes, she’s got to be jealous. Me and Josh have a special bond, and it’s looking like we’re going to be living together next year in Chicago. I think she’s pretty jealous. He enjoys coming to the meets to watch her run, but also to watch me run. I mean, I’d probably be jealous as well ... Josh is a great man — if he wasn’t going out with Molly he’d probably go out with me, basically.
10. If you had to choose between being a voice in a Pixar film, or being a contestant on The Price Is Right, which would you choose?
Pixar voice is my long-term dream, but it’s looking like this summer we’re going to go on The Price Is Right.
Oh, it’s happening.
You and Danny?
Oh yeah — me, Danny, maybe [Chris] Arlinghaus ’12. So it’s looking like we’re going to get on the show. I mean, the goal is to get on there — meet Drew Carey, spin the wheel. We’ve been practicing the way you run down the aisle — we’ve been practicing that, we’ve been practicing our bidding. There’s a lot of research that goes into it.
And long-term goal would be Pixar?
Yeah, definitely just want to be a voice. I want everyone who knows me to go watch a movie and be like “Ahh — that was Wex!”
I don’t know how one gets into that industry, but I feel like you would be good at that.
I’ll find a way! I’ll find a way.
Do you have a favorite Pixar film?
I’m a sucker for WALL-E. I really connected with WALL-E.
I’ve never seen it.
Great film, you’ve got to see WALL-E — it’s your classic story of the nice guy — or robot — always coming in second. But by the end *spoiler alert* he gets the lady and casually saves the world. I look up to the little guy.
And how does one get on The Price Is Right, as a contestant?
They have the audience, and then they spend time before the show interviewing everyone. So you just have to be an interesting person ... I’m going to do some more research into that to really be their signature person. They love old ladies, so that’s going to hurt our chances.
I’ll have to send them a copy of this interview.