A Wild Interview With Ariel Gutman

What is your major and why did you pick it?

I’m a psychology major, because I want to go to education school and become a psychiatrist. I want to become a psychiatrist because when I was younger, I went to this sleepaway camp and many of the kids there had a lot of issues. They had things I’d never seen before, like people with arms filled with scars, girls who had suffered torture before, and so on. I remember seeing all that and being so shocked, and I’d never thought I would meet people like that. I thought that I wanted to help, and that drew me in. Ever since that day, I’ve always been that guy people came to with issues, and I’m genuinely happiest when I help someone with a problem.

Where are you from?

I am from a small town all the way downstate, called Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. It’s about 40 minutes outside of Manhattan. I’ve lived there my entire life. It’s a pretty small quiet town. And it’s right on the Hudson River!

Can you tell me about your family?

Well, it’s pretty elaborate, but sure! My mother was a famous Italian musician and my dad was a famous civil rights lawyer. I’m also a twin. I have an older sister who is married, and I have a nephew who is seven. My favorite part about my family is the fact that we’ve gone through a lot of hard times, but we’ve always stuck together and always will stick together, no matter what.

If you had to choose between flight or invisibility, what would you choose?

I would go with flight. I don’t want to be invisible, one of my biggest fears is being forgotten. I think flying…free miles baby! I can go wherever I want.

Who is your favorite Beatle and why?

Ringo! Just kidding. Obviously, John Lennon is always the man everyone looks up to. But I will say George Harrison, because I think he was the most musically talented in The Beatles, and he doesn’t get that much credit. But I think he was the guy in the background that kept everything going.

If you could live anywhere in the world that wasn’t the US, where would you live?

I would say Belize. Because it’s a beautiful place, it has beautiful people. Everything is amazing in Belize.

What is something no one knows about you?

I’m a pretty transparent guy, I don’t keep a lot of secrets. I guess a fact that no one really knows about me is that no matter what someone does to me, even if I act a certain way, I can never hate anyone. I don’t know if that’s a choice I made in the past, (mainly because I think there’s too much hatred in this world already), or if I just actively cannot hate anyone. I might strongly dislike you, but I could never hate you.

What is your favorite recipe?

Oh man, I love cooking! Interestingly, I learned how to cook when I was very young because my mother is a fantastic cook, and I picked it up from being around her in the kitchen a lot. Personally, I don’t think it’s my best dish, but what I like making the most is homemade mac and cheese, baked in the oven. The first step is simple - boil the water. Second step - put pasta in. Third - drain the pasta. Then you gotta get a pan that can go into the oven, I usually use a glass pan, then I put the pasta in the pan. Then I move on to the cheese sauce. I typically put milk in as a base, and then depending on what I’m trying to go for, I’ll usually have like three different kinds of cheeses in the actual sauce. Then I heat it up, because I want the sauce kinda thick. Then I pour it over the pasta. Let’s say I’m cooking two pounds of pasta, I’ll probably crack two eggs into the pan, put the sauce in, stir it up. The eggs help to bind it all together while you bake it. Then I turn the oven on to 325 degrees, wait until that warms up, put it in for about fifteen minutes, then take parmesan, cheddar, or mozzarella (or all three) and put it on top as a layer, then put it back in for another fifteen to twenty minutes. I wait until it's nice and brown and crunchy on top.

And that’s basically it! I love mac and cheese, it's one of my favorite things.

If you won the lottery, what would be the first five things you’d buy?

I would buy houses for my mother, my brother, and my sister’s family, and set them up financially for the rest of their lives. I’d also help the rest of my family, of course. Next, I’d invest in my college, my brother’s college, and my nephew’s college. The third thing I’d do would probably be to buy a car for me and my brother. Fourth, I would invest a certain amount of money in stocks. Finally, I’d donate whatever is left to charity.

Ariel, this is a pretty boring list. Give me one wild thing.

It’s practical! I don’t know?

Give me something wild!

If I was gonna do something wild, the thing I would buy… I would buy my own airline, that does only skydiving. Unlimited skydiving for the rest of my life.

Can you lick your elbow?​

Update: Ariel cannot lick his elbow.

I don’t think I can do anything cool, sorry.… Pretty sure I ran the fastest 44-yard dash. But I don’t think it was recorded.

Didn’t you say you saved a kid’s life once?

Oh yeah! I did save a kid’s life once. It was my 8th grade class trip and we went to the Delaware river gap. The class went to swim in this lake, and it’s not that far across and I’m a good swimmer. Everyone on the trip swam across to the other side of this lake, which is pretty far. There were some kids with the grade below us, and so we got to one end, and I felt my leg start to cramp up. Everyone then decided to swim right back across, and I was like, “Oh no my leg is cramping.” I realized it hurt and I needed to relax before I could swim back to shore. There was only one kid left, who was kind of small and fragile. I remember the water was cold, too. So it was just me and him, and he barely made it across the first time when everyone went across to the other shore. We went over to the boat dock, and then there was one life jacket and I gave it to him. I figured I would need to save him. We had to swim across because walking around was too long. So we get halfway through the lake, and this kid is turning blue, and he is obviously not doing well. And my leg cramps up full on, hurts so bad. I was thinking, I can't do this. I remember grabbing him with one arm and pulling him across. The kids in front had grabbed the chaperones and I pulled him out of the water, and they all grabbed towels for him. I was also turning blue. The park rangers said if I hadn’t been there, this kid wouldn’t have made it.

A big thank you to Ariel for sharing so much with us! Be sure to wave hello when you see him around!