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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Beans, Beers, Buds on High Street

Nestled in the heart of High Street is the home of an absent father, a chili-loving mother, a menopausal rat and their three pubescent boys. Bean World, located at 1014 High St., is home to Mark Spero, Nick Matesanz, Jack Dunnington, Ezra Edgerton and Cal Froikin, all ’16, and Stella the Rat.

“It’s about where we’ve bean, and where we’re going,” Dunnington said of the name.

“We just thought it was quirky and irreverent,” Matesanz added. “Like us.”

Aside from all being quirky and irreverent, the five are in very different stages in their life, ranging from adulthood to infancy. The members of Bean World agree that Spero largely acts as the house father figure, to the point of being a bit of a dictator, according to Dunnington. Matesanz claims to be the house matriarch, a position he shares with his pet rat, Stella.

“I would say I’m the mom, but also I would say I’m the Green Power Ranger because I’m the strong one in the house,” Matesanz said.

Rounding out the team is Dunnington as the Power Ranger with nunchucks who likes pizza, and Edgerton as the Pink Ranger, who also has nunchucks and likes pizza. Spero identifies more strongly with John “Hannibal” Smith of the 1980s television series “The A-Team.” Froikin, on the other hand, did not express a strong connection to any fictional character, perhaps because he is still going through the early stages of human development.

“I still don’t have object permanence. When they leave, I just think I’m alone,” Froikin admitted.

Clockwise from top left: Cal Froikin, Ezra Edgerton, Jack Dunnington, Mark Spero and Nick Matesanz, all ’16,  pose behind one of the curious objects in Bean World. Photo by Sarah Ruiz.
Clockwise from top left: Cal Froikin, Jack Dunnington, Ezra Edgerton, Mark Spero and Nick Matesanz, all ’16, pose behind one of the curious objects in Bean World. Photo by Sarah Ruiz.

Due to the hectic schedules of the Bean World crew, Froikin likely often feels lonely in the house. Luckily, he can count on the company of Stella, who the housemates adore so much that they were hoping for a few rat babies. Dunnington admits to bringing a male rat to Stella’s room in hopes of sparking a connection. Unfortunately, Matesanz claims that Stella is past her fertile years.

Someone who may also struggle with fertility in the future is Matesanz himself, who claims to have consumed a whole can of spray paint after someone pierced the can during a friendly game of darts. The house would not like to release the name of the dartist at this time.

“But I want to call Nick out as the hero who went over to put his mouth immediately over the opening,” Dunnington praised.

In addition to consuming spray paint, the group also has an unconventional hobby of consuming beer.

“We all drink beers … And we get a little silly … A lot of people are scared that the beers will make them feel different, and they do most of the time, but for us that was the point,” Dunnington said.

“We’re kind of adventurous in that way,” Spero added.

However, the group is sure to balance their beer consumption with their soup consumption. Matesanz regularly cooks soups for the group, and last week they had Monday Night Chili on Tuesday, which they are hoping to turn into a house tradition. Earlier in the school year, however, the group recalled a difficult moment when Matesanz’s cooking skills were not yet up to par.

“When Nick burned soup … it smelled like burnt soup,” Froikin cited as one of the more trying times in the house.

Spero completes his diet of beer and soup with a healthy serving of yogurt. Matesanz accused Spero of regularly leaving exactly two spoonfuls of yogurt in the container. Spero expressed surprise that his housemate would be aware of the yogurt content in the house, as he claimed Matesanz had not left the pottery studio except for this interview for the entire semester.

Froikin added that sitting down for this interview was only the second time every member of the house had sat around the table together. However, it is not only Matesanz who is often preoccupied with other obligations. Many students may not be aware that Spero is actually the current SGA Concerts Chair, Dunnington works as one of the editors of the Grinnell Review, and up until recently, Froikin and Edgerton were busy with their soccer season, which consumed their life outside and inside the house.

“Their dedication to the sport is such that they have to be kicking constantly,” Dunnington said.

Ultimately, after putting aside their differences in schedules, commitments and preferences for fictional character representations, the five members of Bean World have thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company during their final year. They boast that their home is one of the best in Grinnell, if not the world, due to both the house and the people in it.

“How relaxed it is, how really wonderful it is—that can be sort of draining, to be that relaxed,” Spero said of his experience living with his fellow Bean World residents.

“You can run and tell that,” Matesanz concluded.

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