There are few figures on campus as intriguing and enigmatic as President Larry Dietz. Thanks to the wild, buzzworthy, and sometimes violent antics of his predecessor, the former vice president of student affairs has enjoyed relatively little media coverage – or scrutiny – during his first few months in the big office. But that’s all about to change.
“Come on down, my doors are open,” said Dietz in an unsolicited email sent directly to my school email. “It’s about time the kids get the skinny on their new prez’.” After confirming this wasn’t an elaborate prank set up by my roommate, I carefully constructed a reply. Not two minutes after I mustered up the courage to press send I received the president’s reply: “Come over whenever, brah. ’sall good in tha hood.”
And just like that, I was on my way over to interview the most powerful man on campus. With little time to prepare, I planned on doing some quick research while waiting in the foyer. Much to my surprise, the interview started well before that.
As I approached Hovey Hall there was a decent-sized crowd of slightly confused students playing frisbee & bags, drinking out of Solo cups, and socializing with 90’s hits playing in the background. At the center of all the action atop the staircase leading into the building triumphantly stood President Dietz sporting one of his famous Hawaiian shirts and drinking a Sierra Mist. After noticing me approaching, he excitedly waved me over, telling the students “This is him right here. Time to get my interview on!” He walked out to greet me, intercepting a Frisbee mid-stride and tossing it behind his back to the intended target. After shaking my hand, he pointed to a stain on my shirt, only to slide his finger up my torso and “boop” my nose. He gleefully punched my arm, draped his arm over my shoulders and led me inside.
Once inside, Larry “The Invincible Liver” Dietz began to explain why he wanted to do the story as he led me through the halls decorated with torches and paintings of animals wearing human clothing. “You may not know this, but one of my top priorities as president is showing the student body that I’m a down to Earth kinda guy. Na’m sayin?” explained the 19th president of the university as he crushed his unfinished Sierra Mist and tossed it over his shoulder. “The Dietz gets the streets.”
When we finally reached his office, the first thing I noticed was the smell. It was a sort of faint scent of oak, whiskey, with a hint of melted crayons.
As we stepped into his office I felt like one of the kids in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. “Drink it in, amigo…” encouraged Dietz in what I assumed was his best Matthew McConaughey impression. The first thing that caught my eye when I entered this man-cave of machismo wonders was the full-scale mural of Dietz standing shirtless with an ISU flag in one hand, and a 50lb dumbell in the other atop a mountain of textbooks with hair like a flowing mane down to his backside.
“I had it made as soon as I heard I got the job,” he said proudly as he gently stroked the painting with his fingertips. “My favorite part is how accurate they got the hair.” When asked why the mountain of textbooks, he responded — again in his best McConaughey voice — “Knowledge is power, brother. Never forget that.”
After filling up two extravagant chalices that he said were from the set of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” with more Sierra Mist, he gestured for me to sit in his guest chair. Then he took a deep breath, fixed his Hawaiian shirt, and took his place upon his desk chair; an exact replica of the Iron Throne from HBO’s Game of Thrones.
After a brief, awkward silence I began my interview. “So President Dietz, you seem to be settling in nicely to the new position here.”
“Abso-freaking-lutely my man! I am the king of this place and I want my subjects to know that,” he proclaimed as he took a sloppy gulp from his chalice. “But it’s also very – no – extremely important to me that the people I serve know that I’m on their side here.”
After this response Mr. Dietz clapped his hands twice, summoning two butlers each wearing name tags that read “Alfred,” who placed a silver platter on the president’s desk. “Will that be all, Mr. Wayne?” inquired one of the Alfreds. “Yes, Alfreds. That will be all,” replied Dietz who then fashioned an authentic Chuck-E-Cheese bib on himself.
“See, this is why I asked you to skibbity-bop on over here, brother,” he explained as he opened both platters to reveal two pizza Lunchables, “I’m not some kind of… Old fart fogey. It just doesn’t seem like the student body here has embraced that yet.”
Dietz then proceeded to stuff an entire mini-pizza into his mouth, screamed “ALRIGHT LETS DO THIS!!” before swallowing, and made a gesture with his hands that I can only assume meant for me to start writing. However, after the incredibly long pull of scotch to wash down the pizzas, President Dietz passed out with his face on his desk.
After checking his pulse, waiting another 20 minutes and making sure the Alfreds were watching over him, I decided to head home without finishing the interview. I now find myself desperate for an opportunity to resume our enlightening conversation, and I can’t stop thinking about pizza Lunchables. President Dietz if you’re reading this, you have my email.