by Chloe Kiparsky
Aaron Pitts, son of Martin and Patricia Pitts, inhabits his meat suit (his words, not mine). He moved to Ouray school in 2nd grade, and ever since has been bringing random facts, constant sarcasm, and daily laughs to classmates and teachers.
Most senior profile interviews go something like this: “What are your parents’ names?” “John and Jane.” “Cool, what sports do you play?” “Basketball.” “What’s your personal philosophy?” “Be kind.” It is a telltale sign of Aaron’s unique personality that in his interview we covered graveyards, fabric crabs, capitalism, and Icarus - while sharing sarcasm and grins.
He’s always been this way. In middle school, I would be at my locker, and he would close it and laugh and call me scallywag, or sometimes scoundrel. It sounds mean, but his playfulness made me feel safe to go to high school.
Aaron’s brain is a bottomless well of information, but, in my observation, a magical one. Whenever I lower my bucket into the well, the water tastes of eleventeen different spices, and rainbows into surprising colors. After high school, Aaron is planning to see where life takes him. He did not apply to colleges - a waste of money and time, he said - opting to take the much more interesting route, a graveyard caretaker.
“People don’t like the graveyard,” Aaron stated. But to him, “graveyards are just nice. They’re calm, they’re a place of rest and of remembrance. They don’t have to be a place of death if you don’t think of it that way. Because death begets life, you know, when you die things live on in your body. Death doesn’t mean the end of what you are, because there’s no such thing as energy destruction, so therefore your energy goes out into something else.”
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut is one of Aaron’s favorite books because it’s mainly about “concepts of death and time,” he said. “Time is difficult for a lot of people,” he went on to muse. It’s fascinating to him, he said, “how people can perceive time differently. We know it’s not linear,” he continued. “Time can fall like confetti; for some people, time doesn’t flow.”
His pleasure in random facts helped him succeed in Knowledge Bowl, which he has done for two of his high school years. Classmate Pallen McArdle attested that Knowledge Bowl is “perfect for him because he knows all of these cool odd facts. Aaron will come into a room,” she said, amused by the thought, “and say something about the Cretaceous Period, or something about the seventh millionth extinction, or whatever. Come in. Say it. Get all these puzzled looks. And then leave.”
As we were talking in the art room, he was sewing a crab out of a rosy fabric. “That doesn’t really look like a crab,” I said when he told me what he was fashioning. He then explained to me, with sarcasm layered over patience, that this was actually one piece of the crab, and actually it was going to be an intricate stuffed sculpture that he hadn’t finished yet. He was working on a claw while we were conversing, and I cannot wait to see the finished product.
“What is your personal philosophy?” I asked, dying to know what guides Aaron’s daily actions. After a pause, he said, “I don’t think I have a philosophy. I think I have an amalgamation of philosophies.” This amalgamation, he revealed, contains the statement “you don’t have to forgive people even if they’ve changed,” and that “being better isn’t about making some grand gesture but about being consistently good.”
“You’re very frank,” I pointed out after hearing a concise observation come out of his mouth. “My name’s Aaron, not Frank,” he replied. Aaron is the type of person that will make one question everything, mainly with rhetorical questions, all the while with a playful glint in his eyes. “IS IT?” he will ask after hearing a statement. “I suppose,” he will say after hearing something he disagrees with. “Do what you will,” he will shrug after one tells him a plan. “So it goes,” he will say, in a way that makes you wonder if, indeed, it must go just so.
Aaron says he thinks differently than a lot of people do, but that it doesn’t stop him - nor should it stop anyone - from making connections. “It's not about trying to find people who think similarly to you to connect with you,” he pointed out, “it’s about finding something in common.”
Aaron Pitts may live in his very own meat suit, but we all surround him in ours too. Aaron thinks my meat suit is a scallywag; I think his is fantastic. “I suppose,” he may concede after reading this article.