"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
Rapture Guy: The Interview
Within minutes of posting the Rapture Guy gif last week, a friend alerted me that she did, in fact, know Rapture Guy, and could set me up with an interview—that is, as soon as Rapture Guy returned from Mardi Gras. Clearly, this would be an interesting interview, and on Wednesday evening I got the chance to sit down and chat with the star of the latest MGoMeme.
Rapture Guy has chosen to remain anonymous, and given whose opinion he sought on the matter, I think we can all respect that decision.
"Lloyd Brady is actually a friend of mine, so I know his real name," Rapture Guy told me. "When someone posted on my Facebook wall, 'you’re the new Lloyd Brady,' I was like, ohhhhhh god. I said to him, 'you did it right. I’m going to follow that idea. I don’t want my name out there.'"
He was kind enough to give us a few background details anyway. The man you see above is a junior at the Ford School of Public Policy, as well as a Chinese minor, and he hails from New Jersey—that's where the instinctive fist-pumping comes from, he says.
After the jump, you can find the entire transcript of our interview—in it, he finds a higher power, compares the Ohio State game to Mardi Gras, explains the magical qualities of his banana suit, and by chance runs into his counter-MGoMeme in New Orleans.
[ASSOC. EDITOR'S NOTE: After discussion with the author, this article has been edited materially from its original form in order to remove parts that could have been damaging to someone's reputation based only on hearsay and a grainy gif, and which took attention away from rapture guy. I want to thank the readers who argued with me and turned me around on this--Ace asked both Brian and me to approve the original--and I apologize for having to kill off their comments in order to follow their wisdom.]
[HIT THE JUMP]
Ace: Were you a Michigan fan before you came here?
Rapture Guy: Actually, truth be told, I wasn’t. I wanted to come to Michigan, but prior to me coming to Michigan I was never into college sports. My dad has always been a die-hard college sports fan, so I always loved watching them, and my brother went to Syracuse, so I was an ipso facto Syracuse fan. And then, from the moment I got accepted to Michigan, I started following them. Then I hit the ground running here, got a great group of friends—we go to all the away football games, and [Tuesday night] was actually the first State game we didn’t go to. That’s probably a good thing, I don’t even want to talk about it.
Going to the moment in the gif—what, if anything, was going through your mind at that point?
A lot of my friends made fun of me because I’m the farthest thing from a religious guy, and they’re like, “who the hell were you talking to?”
It was kind of a “seeing God” moment.
Exactly. Honestly, I was just so ecstatic that I think for a brief moment, I was like maybe, maybe they have a point, maybe there’s something up there.
So Nik Stauskas’s three made you find a little religion, possibly?
Religion, I don’t know. A higher being? Damn good chance. There’s a damn good chance.
So if that was your reaction when Stauskas hit a go-ahead three, what did you do when they actually won? Was that the high point or did you have to bring it up to that level again?
I’m trying to remember. It’s worth noting that it was a little fuzzy night, to say the least. After we won, I think I grabbed “Overalls Girl” [laughs] and I think I just lifted her up as high as I could, and then the guy with the hard hat who was right next to me—we’re all very good friends, the kid who’s in front of me who falls down in [the gif], whatever."
[Ed-S: This is the part that was edited, as well as its associated end-note]
So is the banana suit a normal thing for you?
I was expecting this question. The banana suit only comes out for the biggest of games, only the biggest of games. I’ve had the banana suit since I was a freshman, and like I said it doesn’t come out for normal games. I brought it to Nebraska, for the away football game…
That didn’t go so well.
That didn’t go so well. But Nebraska fans, being the nicest human beings on Earth … I walked out, and the quote that rings through my ears every time I wear the banana suit is this little old lady, who’s about 80 years old, sees me—I have the banana suit and the top is down and I’m walking and my head’s down, I’m on the verge of tears, coming down from a good drunk, it’s just not good—I walk by her and I hear as I’m walking by, “that’s the saddest banana I’ve ever seen.”
Since then I’ve been, well, I’ve got to watch when I bring that out, because I don’t want to hear those words ever again. So I wore it last year for the State and OSU basketball [games], and we won, so I figured it’s evened itself out. Except while we were playing [this year’s OSU game], the banana suit, the top falls down and you have to stuff the top of it, put newspaper in there. It kept falling down over my eyes, and I’m a tall guy as it is, and as you can see from whatever I like to step up on the [bleachers], and it kept falling down.
When it was up, we kept missing shots. Then it falls down, and Tim Hardaway hits a three. So I’m like, okay, coincidence. Then I put it back up and Timmy takes another three, I step up, and it falls off, and he hits it. So I look at my friend and I’m like, “it’s staying off.” I mean, (a) I hate it right now, and (b) it’s lucky. The rest, as they say, is history—Tim hits everything under the planet.
Ohio State game vs. Mardi Gras. What’s the breakdown there? What was the more exhilarating experience?
That’s like choosing your favorite child. That’s hard. The Michigan Man in me obviously says OSU. The man in me says Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras was really just an extended OSU game, while OSU had a lot more glory. I’ll say this: coming down from OSU was great. Coming down from Mardi Gras was Hell on Earth.
Do you read MGoBlog? I will not be offended if you say no.
I’ll be honest, I read it only when someone forwards an article to me, which actually happens a lot. Also, I studied abroad in China this past summer, and everything got blocked, but MGoBlog is up and running. So while I was in China, desperately trying to attach to something American, I was actually reading it a lot over the summer. But I would not consider myself a die-hard, I’m sorry to say.
But you said you know Lloyd Brady personally, so you’ve at least come into contact with the MGoMeme phenomenon.
That’s what I was saying, when somebody sends me stuff, especially the fun stuff—I get a lot of the inside jokes. I had seen the Notre Dame, what’s it [puts his hands to his face]…
Which, by the way, randomly, I bumped into him on Bourbon Street, and I didn’t know that until I came back. I came back and I was like, wait a minute, I’ve seen that guy somewhere. I bumped into that guy on Bourbon! We had a chat and then I came back and was like, oh my god.
Take me back through when I texted you to get an interview, thinking you’d known about all this.
I was sitting at this café [in New Orleans] that served alligator, and you don’t get a chance to eat alligator every day. I was a little bit intoxicated—it was Mardi Gras. You send me the text. I don’t know an Ace, I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. I looked at my friend, and he’s like, okay, brings it up on his phone, and I just go, “Ohhhhhh, no. This is not good. How do I handle this?” My friend goes, you can either embrace it, or you can resist it, and that doesn’t help anything. So I’m like, alright, f*** it. And my friend goes, “I’m calling you Rapture Guy for the rest of time.”
And then you said you talked to your mom….
Yeah. So, my mom does not know about this gif, and I want to keep it that way. Last year I got the, “[Rapture Guy], I see you on television more than you call me,” which is not a good sign. When she first saw the banana suit, she said, “remember, you have a family to represent, it’s not just you out there.” So right after the game, she calls me and says, “while the pure elation you showed was very cute and made me happy that you’d experienced that happiness, I’m going to reiterate the fact that you are representing more than just yourself, you’re representing your family out there.” I was like, alright, fair enough. Then I of course get a text from my dad, “What the hell are you wearing?”
How weird is it to see yourself in an animated gif?
Weird. Weird is the only word I can think of. As I said to my friend, I’m not sure if it’s a high point or a low point, but it’s certainly one of the two, and I’m not sure which one yet.
We’re considering it a high point.
I’m glad you’re looking at it as a high point.
We’re putting you in contrast with Facepalm Guy…
I saw that. I’ll put it this way: I’m glad I’m the high point and not the low. I would prefer that.