From the Magazine: Brendan Hannon
Written by Bwog Staff
You might not know the following figures—but you should. In Campus Characters, the Blue & White introduces you to a handful of Columbians who are up to interesting and extraordinary things and whose stories beg to be shared. If you’d like to suggest a Campus Character, send us an email at [email protected] Magazine contributor Helen Bao profiles Brendan Hannon, CC ’11.
A sure-fire way to find Brendan Hannon, CC ’11, is to follow the sunshine. Specifically, to follow the sunshine to Low Steps, where more often than not, Hannon will be sitting in one of his favorite tie-dyed t-shirts, strumming a mandolin, and asking you to sit next to him. “I’d say the steps are my legacy,” says Hannon, who identifies his occupation as “A Man of Leisure,” on his blog, Diary of a Brendan. As a New York City native, it may be that Hannon is just used to the weather, but he does stay out on the steps much longer than others who flee inside to Butler. “I draw the line at 50 degrees,” he says.
Hannon’s fondness for the outdoors doesn’t stop at Columbia’s urban beach. His white-blond hair gives him away as a member of the Columbia Sailing Club, and he can often be found giving impromptu outdoor concerts with fellow members of Columbia’s bluegrass band, Lion in the Grass. “[Bluegrass] is a really joyful type of music,” says Hannon in all seriousness. “Everyone who plays it is having a great time, and it’s hopefully contagious for the audience.”
Hannon’s gusto certainly is contagious — in his third year as an RA, he boasts that his study breaks and events are the best on campus. Even the Res Life forms he’s required to write up are enthusiastic. “Paperwork and I don’t really get along, so I put ridiculous things in it,” he explains. These things include medieval spellings of words (“I threw a whole bunch of ‘e’s on the end”) and describing a weekly study break as involving a “magical war where people did battles against the demons of studying.” ResLife appreciates Hannon’s imagination — he was named last year’s RA of the year for the South Field block of dorms. And as RA of Carman 12 this year, he’ll graduate Columbia having only lived in freshman housing. “I’m a perpetual freshman,” Hannon says. “Minus the enthusiasm. I’m a jaded freshman.”
Some of his jadedness may stem from a run-in with the law last summer, a bizarre tale involving a potato gun, maple syrup, and the Canadian Mounties. Last year, Hannon was arrested for firing a potato gun at a wall in Riverside Park, as one does. Justice was swift: Hannon spent a few hours in jail and had to appear in court. The charges were eventually dropped. But fastforward to that fateful day this past summer, before his good name was cleared. Hannon describes The Canadian Incident matter-of-factly: “I was on a road trip with a few friends to Nova Scotia. We wanted to eat maple syrup, you know, the usual, but then I was stopped at the border.” When asked by a border patrol officer if he had ever appeared before a judge, Hannon did the stand-up thing, and replied yes. As a result, he’s banned from Canada for 10 years. “I’m too dangerous for the Canadian wilderness,” says Hannon. European officials have yet to comment on the threat Hannon poses to their continent.
While his brush with Johnny Law might suggest otherwise, Hannon is planning an auspicious future for himself. Right now he is looking into entry level positions as a geologist working in mineral exploration. “Eventually, I’d like to save the world, or at least contribute to its well-being,” Hannon wrote in an e-mail. For now though, he is affectionately known to three classes of freshman as the affable RA with the almost-white beard who always keeps the men’s room stocked with condoms.