Ask yourself: what does the peak male condition look like?
Perhaps a strong basketball player with bulging muscles?
Or a smart, kind, and emotionally available class president?
Or a simpler answer: Ben John.
For those of you haven’t been graced by his presence, and subsequently have not seen the definition of complexity (for example, his name), let me introduce you to the Man With Two First- Names.
Ben John is currently a senior, and the John family has a long history at Wheatley. Both his brother and sister walked the same halls he now owns. His brother, Steven, started for the Varsity Soccer Team. His sister, Sharon, also started for Varsity Soccer. Ben definitely has the soccer skills, but he knows his talents are best spent somewhere else, helping everyone who walks through the red and glass doors. How? He tells stories like no other.
Easily the prospected winner of the “Best Storyteller” superlative, Ben John uses the powers bestowed upon his two first names to exemplify storytelling. No matter what topic, no matter how complex or boring, Ben John can tell the story in such a way, with such a calming, intelligent voice, that listeners inevitably succumb to tears, laughter, and at times, even fear. For example, when interviewing Mr. John, he recounted the time he and his friends watched Game of Thrones, saying, “Think of the TV as a boundary between two worlds: on one side, dragons and waring kings rule supreme, and the other, six boys sat basting in a medieval reality they can never have.” This is a simple story, probably one that doesn’t require an emotional punch, but when Ben tells it, the listener begins to sympathize with every Game of Thrones watcher, raising an essential question: do they watch because they wish they lived in Westeros? A simple story turns into a philosophical debate about entertainment and why humans love out-of-this-world TV shows, movies, novels, and music. By telling a simple story, Mr. John touches on the complex reality that is escapism.
And perhaps this is why people love listening to his stories: to escape. When I brought this reality to Ben John’s attention, he said, “Yeah, that definitely is what it is. I’m hilarious- my stories get people out of their sometimes sad lives and bring them to laughter or tears.” Ben’s one shortcoming is that he only has one voice and can’t tell every story all at once. A lot of people in Wheatley have probably never even heard a Ben John story and have never heard that omnipotent, riveting voice. When presenting this tragedy to Ben, he said, “Yeah, I feel bad for them.”
A man with two first names, a riveting voice, and a special talent has changed the halls of Wheatley, bringing joy and insight to those who sometimes find themselves feeling down. If you haven’t met Ben and/or haven’t heard one of his stories, you best hurry before his talent graduates with him, and before he brings his stories to the masses.