Meet Gary Leverton

Sometimes, it takes a while to discover someone’s interests. Other times, you meet someone like Gary Leverton, a guy dressed in Air Jordan’s and a Pink Floyd t-shirt.

Who does that?

I dug deeper. “How do you pick out what you’re wearing?”

He shrugs. “Not a whole lot goes into what I wear,” he says.

It makes it easier to meet someone when they present what they love before you even ask a question. It shines a bright light upon what was unknown; it illuminates the dark side of the moon.

Whether at Camp Randall Stadium watching Wisconsin secure a victory or relaxing on a sunny — but cool — summer day, Gary enjoys himself. It’s clear that it’s not too hard for him because he carries himself at ease and with quick wit in conversation. Even when I asked whether he’d rather wear roller blades forever or always be followed by five sheep, he immediately gave a clear answer. “Roller blades, of course,” he said. He then proceeded to describe a scenario in which you were stuck in an elevator. “Now, would you choose the five sheep?”

Gary’s not all silliness, music and sports, however. After all, my role in the conversation was an alien, and as my duty required, I discovered stories revealing his life, opinions, and his humanity. He thinks of his dad as a role model. “[My dad] works very hard and taught me how to be successful,” he said.

Gary thinks the world’s biggest problems aren’t exactly politically-related, but more relationship-oriented. “Hate is a big problem…” he says. “I think another problem is people are too self-centered.” Just like myself, he has opinions about what is good and bad about the world. But is he cynical? Not at all. “I think humanity is trending upward,” he says. “In the big picture, people are becoming more knowledgeable, understanding and considerate.” It’s not hard to see why Gary would imagine a positive future. All it takes is one conversation, even with a stranger like me.

Gary isn’t easily defined, just like his hair. “I can’t tell whether it’s curly, or wavy, or something else,” he said. To me, it looks a tad messy, almost identical to my own. “Some people say it looks like a flat top.” I laugh because I’ve heard the same remarks. It’s not hard to relate to someone like Gary, who clearly shows you who he is before the conversation even starts. It’s what he tells you next, though, that’s clearly worth writing a story about.