10 Questions: The Willard Preacher
Here at Penn State, it is rumored that the three most recognizable people are Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, and Gary Catell, who is appropriately named the Willard Preacher. Whether or not that’s true, nearly every single student sees the Willard Preacher and for someone who is in his own right a human landmark, barely anyone knows who he actually is.
Gary Catell, who is 54 and local to the State College area is a member of a local Orthodox church and he agreed to answer 10 questions about himself that give a more clear idea of what he is actually like:
Onward State: If you could sit down with any historical American figure, who would it be?
Gary Catell: Let me think about that. You ask questions no one ever asks. I’d talk to someone who was probably involved in the American Revolution, like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams. I’d like to see what was going through their heads.
OS: What is something about you that not many people know?
GC: Maybe that in my youth I was a big partier? I don’t think that’s gotten out very much.
OS: How much of a partier?
GC: Like, every day kind of partier.
OS: Rumor has it, Gary, that you actually sold your soul to the Devil and for every day that you preach he gives you two more days to live. Is that true?
GC: No comment.
OS: Do you do anything cool?
GC: No. I’m thoroughly uncool.
OS: Have you ever been physically engaged during one of your sermons?
GC: Yes. They used to have one of these coming out rallies near this building and there would be a huge crowd. During one of these times, I was approached by a female and she shoved me and yelled, “IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE!” …apparently it wasn’t.
OS: Gary, where do you get your haircuts? They’re nice!
GC: My wife cuts my hair. So you better say they’re nice.
OS: What are 4 things you can’t live without?
GC: Food and water, I guess? Air? Uh.. I don’t know? Heat in the winter? 4 things you can live without… you can live without practically anything.
OS: What is something you do for fun?
GC: I like sports. Not much playing them anymore, but watching is always fun.
OS: Is there anything you’d like to do before you die?
GC: Besides be finally saved by God? Actually, what I’d like to do is make sure that I’m right with God. That’s the thing I want to do: make sure I’m fully saved.
OS: Is there anything I can tell you right now that will make you punch me in the face?
GC: I hope not! That would mean I lost control, not one of those Christian virtues, losing self-control. There are probably a few things you could tell me that wouldn’t make me very happy, but uh, hopefully I wouldn’t slug you. Besides, when a 50-some-year-old guy slugs you, it’s not like I’m 23 anymore.
The Willard Preacher, despite his infamous reputation as a religious radical, is one of my friends. He answered a lot of these questions in his dry sarcastic voice, and he had a good time interviewing. He thinks a lot of people don’t even know what he actually believes, so he thought this would be kind of fun and useful for his sake. Before passing judgement on him next time you see him, at least take the time to listen to his Thursday or Friday rants. They are filled with sarcasm and funny innuendos, so it’s definitely worth at least the entertainment, if you aren’t trying to feel especially religious.