A conversation with Elliot Grossman ’17 and Jake Small ’17

Barefoot1

If you’ve ever seen a boy in stripes walking shoeless in the rain or a bearded tree climber in a t-shirt and shorts in the snow, then you’ve discovered the wonders that are Jake Small ’17 and Elliot Grossman ’17. They’ve been sporting these looks since they arrived on campus last academic year. The two are somewhat of legends on campus, with many over the course of our talk coming up and saying hello, or commenting on their attire. With all the blizzards cramping our style, classes, and sanity, we here at Blog couldn’t help but wonder how our two fearless peers were faring in this snowpocalypse.

We got these two friends together to interview each other on the ins-and-outs of being Mother Nature’s best naysayers.

Elliot: I just want to start by pointing out that I am showing a lot more skin to the elements. I mean that’s a little bit more hardcore. I know this isn’t a competition, but I am also winning it. I mean, this guy is wearing a scarf, long sleeves, pants…

Jake: Do you have a problem with my scarf?

Elliot: My only problem with it is that it’s not colorful enough.

Jake: Okay, so do you own pants?

Elliot: I do own pants. I don’t own any jeans, however. I own cargo pants to go with my cargo shorts, and I wear them for labs in the very few cases when forced to. Like, once a week. If I can ever get out of wearing pants for a lab, though, I do. So pants are required, but sometimes they’re like “well, if you forget, we’re not going to make you go back and change.” And then I forget…for the rest of the semester.

(To Jake) Do you own any shoes?

Jake: (Pulls out flip flops) They don’t let me into the dining halls without them.

Elliot: Any dining hall?

Jake: Dining halls don’t. Eateries just kind of depend on who’s working there. There’s no policy against it, so it really just depends on if the person who sees me throws me out.

Elliot: Don’t you bring around that card that says like “fuck you, I can do this?”

Jake: Well, the thing is, I haven’t been showing that to people…

Elliot: What he’s talking about is there’s a letter from the Rhode Island Health Department saying that basically…customers don’t have to wear shoes places. Like, a lot of the workers are like “hey, that’s against health code.” But, no. It’s not. Here’s some documentation. It’s just an excuse to kick him out for other reasons…

Jake: (laughs) What? You think they really just don’t like my drunken rabble rout?

BlogDailyHerald: Have you gotten thrown out of a lot of places?

Jake: Mostly just places on campus.

Elliot: When it’s warmer, sometimes I go without shoes. Not frequently, though. It’s just not very pleasant, anyways. Like, I went to Jo’s without shoes once, and then there was just a lot of food on the ground that ended up being on my feet.

(To Jake) How do you deal with that?

Jake: I just don’t step on it?

Elliot: You just avoid it? Avoid everything? Walk an inch above the ground?

BlogDH: Are there certain places that are worse to walk than others?

Jake: I mean there are some types of grounds that are a bit more abrasive I guess. Like uneven things are worse…gravel can be bad.

Elliot: Why don’t you just get used to it?

Jake: I mean, yeah, I do. That’s what I do.

Elliot: I watched this Man vs. Wild thing, where this guy doesn’t wear shoes and he hasn’t worn them for a long time. He’s got real man feet.

(To Jake) Why don’t you have that?

Jake: I guess I’m just not hardcore enough.

Elliot: That’s probably true.

BlogDH: (To Jake) Are there any weathers that are particularly bad, like rain?

Jake: Oh no, rain is the best. It makes everything really soft, but…I guess when it gets really hot the ground can kind of burn.

(To Elliot) How long have you…you know?

Elliot: Ever since I was able to convince my parents that I had a free will. I used to wear pants and jackets…(Gestures to his folded jacket) My mom still makes me bring a jacket with me wherever I go if she thinks it might be cold. I never wear it; I’ve tried to convince her that throughout two winters now at Brown…I haven’t needed a jacket. But, she doesn’t listen.

We live in California. My mom doesn’t make me try to buy pants or jackets anymore, though. I was able to convince her that going to college, I have a couple jackets with me in case it’s like -20 degrees or something. Although, I’d probably check to see how it was outside first…

BlogDH: Do you not get cold?

Elliot: I get cold, but it’s just bearable. I mean, I’ve never lost a finger or anything.

There’s no real necessity to have jackets or pant legs. Legs don’t really get that cold…girls go out in like skirts and stockings even in this weather. Arms don’t get cold that much. Sometimes, my fingers and ears get cold, but that’s about it. [Ears] are probably my number one thing, because I can just put my hands in my pockets.

BlogDH: (To Jake) Do your feet get cold? Has it been really hard walking through the slush?

Jake: Honestly, I’ve been wearing shoes for a couple of days. When there’s still snowfall and it’s soft, that’s nice, but when it gets packed down it’s just not pleasant. I mean, I don’t wear shoes because I find them uncomfortable. When that becomes uncomfortable, I wear shoes.

BlogDH: How long have you been going essentially shoeless?

Jake: I guess something like three years now. Like, I tried to wear shoes for as little as possible for a while, but, one week in high school I just stopped.

Elliot: You must get really good mileage out of your shoes.

Jake: The thing is, they should, except like these (pulls out flip flops again)… I just forget them places. I think this is like my fifth pair.

(To Elliot) Do your jackets just last forever?

Elliot: Yeah. I haven’t worn any jackets in a long time. They just sit in my closet, so that’s kind of nice. My shoes get wrecked, though. I’m walking through like knee-deep snow. Cuts up my legs a little bit.

Jake: The snow does?

Elliot: Yeah, there’s ice in it, and if you run through it, it can cut you a little bit. But, it’s not that bad. And the snow also stops it from bleeding a lot and your circulation is slow, so really it’s the perfect time to get cut…if you want to get cut. Like, I was climbing a tree the other day and I got cut on my leg from the bark or something, and I didn’t even notice it because I couldn’t feel it and it didn’t even bleed that much. It was great.

I’m just wondering if [Jake] has anything to say to my first comments about him being a wuss?

Jake: (Gesturing to Elliot’s jacket) You’re the one carrying a jacket around. Not only do you have shoes with you…

Elliot: Woah! You’re wearing denim. Everyone knows denim is a much warmer material. This jacket is not only a light jacket, but I’m only carrying it because someone forced me to wear it because she felt cold looking at me…And she told me how bad everyone felt looking at me outside without a jacket.

BlogDH: Well, I think you’re both a lot braver [Ed. that’s one word for it] than me.

Image via Jokichi Matsubara.

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