Category Archives: People I Know

Entry #5: Santos is watching

[by Helen]


Santos had a different name when I first met him, and I called him by this name in my head until about a year later, when we began conversing for real and he informed me that his name was currently Santos. I met him at freshman orientation in June 2000, and we shared a few honors-type courses before we actually spoke. Santos claims that I was his crazy stalker in the meantime, as I had discovered his then-new website (his satirical anti-drug project inspired my first e-mail to him), but to this day, I still maintain that it was “stalking in a friendly way.” I even kept a webpage of funny things he said for future laughing purposes, and because I knew we would be good friends after he referred to ice cream as “that icy nectar of cows.”

Santos refuses to let me forget the time I prodded him in the back with a ballpoint pen, even though I’ve bribed him with many Cheez-Its, cherry Pop-Tarts, and homemade snickerdoodles over the years. Our interactions are characterized by him smothering his amusement at something I’ve done, I think, though the time we had a nighttime picnic near the art building and the time I helped him re-attach his rearview mirror to his windshield, it was really too dark to see his expression. I fear now that he may have been scowling at me the entire time.

One of the most noteworthy things about Santos is the way he asks extremely original, thought-provoking questions, based on his keen observations and creative ponderings from his daily life. On more than one occasion, he has caused me to respond, “Hm, I don’t know! I never thought about that,” and left me with a number of unanswerable puzzles to mull over. Santos has given me neat things he created, such as a Cheez-It Valentine written with his best crayons, a deathly skeleton bopping along in pink roller skates, and a wheelchair-bound T-Rex enjoying a swirly lollipop. That makes me think he’s pretty okay. That, and he would often smell his hands and report to me their current odor.

I don’t talk to or see Santos as much as I would like these days because of some dumb thing called “grad school” that seems to consume most of my time. I still think of him quite often and hope that he is getting on all right despite the troubles that have come his way.

Entry #4: Santos likes muffins

[by Percy]


I met Santos what seems like a very long time ago to me now, during my first semester at UH. I can’t remember exactly when I met him, but my first memory was of him assuming that he could look at a sketchbook I brought to class even though I didn’t know him. Presumptuous from the start.

Santos is a quirky guy like that. He doesn’t follow society’s standards, and I believe that he secretly finds joy in that fact. Among his quirks he doesn’t watch television, makes a point to walk and speak as quietly as possible, and has given up all foods that contain sugar and MSG (last I checked.) There’s a famous incident that I remind him of frequently back before we were as close as we are now, and when he used to eat sugar. I had just baked a large batch of muffins and said to Santos “Help yourself!” Santos ate nearly ALL of the muffins. And there were like, two dozen of them. I no longer offer food to him with such open prerequisites.

Besides being presumptuous and a glutton, Santos has for a long while been the only art friend that I have. Being able to look at someone else’s sketchbooks full of drawings brings me a lot of joy, and he’s really good at what he does. His little books are like treasures and looking inside of them is like you’ve discovered something secret and precious. I hope that he will someday make those creative endeavors known to the rest of the world, in some way.

Entry #3: Santos is a Coyote

[by Clint]


I say “Santos is a coyote”, but that isn’t quite true. The truth is, Santos’ totem animal is a coyote. He and his totem animal are always going on spiritual journeys together. They used to do it all the time when we lived together. When I came home, I would always smile, wave and say “Hey Santos! How’s it going?”. Sometimes he would ignore me completely, and other times he would just stare at me, or rather, past me…through me. At the time, I thought it was rude, but in retrospect, I realize that it’s just a part of his Native American Heritage.

Another part of his Native American Heritage that can be bothersome sometimes is his lack of a sense of ownership. For example, one time I bought a bunch of cookies and said he could have as many as he liked. He didn’t respond (probably on a spiritual journey again), ate most of the cookies, and never said “thank you”. Again, I thought it was rude at the time, but now I understand that he didn’t think they were “my cookies” or “his cookies”, but that they “belonged to the land”.

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe “the land” is the culprit here. It may be that he’s rude to me because the white man (me) took his land away. I guess a few cookies is a fair price to pay for all of America.

Like most Native Americans, Santos is very wise. He has a lot of “creative ideas”. One of my favorite “creative ideas” of his, is the idea that aliens are trying to transmit thoughtwaves into his head. He would protect himself from this by putting foil on his windows and hiding in a corner in the dark.

The truth is, I really like Santos a lot. I like him so much I made a video game about him. Incidentally, he never went through it, but that’s probably for the best, because in the ending, I tear him in half.

Entry #2: A little story about a guy

[by Richard]

Once, in a land very far from here, a man crawled from the desert into the wreckage that had once been a town. The only sign of life he found in that town, aside from the amebic dysentery he caught from the well, was an infant wrapped in newspapers, with a strange birthmark on its back.

That infant was in no way related to Santos. But it makes for an interesting hook.

The first thing I noticed about Santos was probably his hair, and it sort of defined how I saw him for a long time. It was the sort of hair in which the combs of lesser men are doomed, and it probably granted him some of his powers. He seems to have calmed it down somewhat in the intervening years, which is probably best for the safety of those around him.

Santos struck me on occasion as being wary when it comes to people, and that’s still the case. Perhaps it’s just around me that he gets that way, or perhaps his eyes just seemed to be hiding behind the power of his hair. I was somewhat startled when he made contact after a couple years’ time to let me know he’d written a thing about me. It was even more surprising to see the impression I’d left.

Santos is the sort of guy who will say a lot of things that are very interesting but are different from what’s on his mind. His manner is both brusque and bashful. His conversation is both piquant and pixilated. He’s better with people than he thinks he is, better with words than most visual artists can ever hope to be, and a better man than many other men and almost all women. He thinks about people a lot because he cares about people a lot, but one gets the feeling that he doesn’t quite know what to do about them. I think I saw a girl hurt him once and this was the first time I realized how scary girls really are.

Santos has been nudging me for several days, somewhat nonchalantly but not very subtly at all, to write a blurb about him for his site. Really, though, the things he says about other people can tell you far more about him than any observations I might have made. If I had to leave you with a single metaphor, it would go like this:

The saber, from an epee point of view, is a weapon that is 90% flash and 10% substance. And Santos is really nothing like a saber.

Entry #1: Santos changed my name

[by Chuck]


Santos was in the fencing club before I joined. At the time, the club had an abundance of people named Matt. Rather than designate me “protastant Matt” or “short Matt,” Santos pointed at me and said, “You’re Chuck.” His words had a profound effect on the rest of the team. Everyone else instantly forgot my real name.

He was soft-spoken and rather painful. Every soft punch, gentle poke and sardonic stare had a tendency to hurt more if Santos was doing it. Unlike Greg, who took joy in hitting people and causing them pain, Santos just couldn’t help it. Greg forged his body into a punching machine while Santos was simply born with sharp knuckles and a knack for hitting sensitive areas.

Santos liked to alter his workspace in subtle ways to resemble himself. He drew pictures of angry, toothy faces under innocent things like stress balls and pads of sticky notes. Everything looked normal on the surface, but once you started poking around you would make interesting discoveries. Santos was like that. If you didn’t pay attention and put in some effort, you were going to miss out on the Santos experience.

He took great delight in showing me what he had altered within his office. He probably took even greater delight watching me overturn everything on his desk just to find something else he had altered. I used to visit Santos’s office for just that reason. He was a good sport about it.