Christian Walker: Jack of All Trades, Master of Most

Christian Walker learned how to drive when he was ten years old, sputtering around an open field on a Jeep with no brakes. 

“It made me a better driver,” he maintained.

His independent attitude seems to have stuck with him decades later; in the humid late-morning mist, he careened into the parking lot of Colgate University’s Hall of Presidents on his beloved mountain bike, helmet-less and wearing flip-flops. 

Walker works, by his own estimation, at least five jobs on Colgate’s campus. He is one of many semi-invisible jacks of all trades that keeps the school running smoothly: he assists in outdoor education, biology, running the boathouse, managing supplies in the athletic facility and maintaining the gym, along with just about anything else that needs to get done.

“I like working,” he said, “I’ve been working since I was probably around thirteen…most of the jobs are just people [asking] for help and I happened to be available.” 

This spirit of helpfulness overrides even his most antisocial instincts: 

“I don’t really like people, so it’s kinda interesting that I’m in a customer service position.” 

If he does feel that way, he does a good job of hiding it; he punctuates nearly every remark with a soft smile and frequently interrupts himself to ask about his conversation partner’s interests, or to recommend a restaurant in town he thinks they would enjoy. He may not be a fan of people, but he certainly cares a great deal about helping them.

His aim is always to protect others, however much of a loner or an introvert he may consider himself to be. His girlfriend even accuses him of having road rage, but Walker insists that his occasionally defensive driving is anything but misanthropic.

“I try to stop people from doing stupid things on the road. If I see a guy going 100 miles an hour, I might swerve into his way just to keep him in check.”

At this, he picked up a leaf that had fallen onto the table and began to crumple it in his hands. A few drops of water splattered onto us, and he wondered aloud whether it was raining. 

“No,” he decided, “Just the trees. Just drip.”

He paused for a moment before revising his earlier statement. 

“I shouldn’t say that I don’t like people…I enjoy helping people,” he said, “for the most part, you can mold [people’s] attitude based on your attitude. If you’re angry and mopey it reflects on them.”

Growing up in Hamilton, he developed a general disdain for Colgate and its perceived snobbiness, but coming back years later to work on the staff, he feels he’s gotten a sense of all the good its community has to offer.

“After being here and meeting different people I’ve kind of seen what they’re about,” he said with a sheepish grin. “I mean there’s still some entitled, snobby people, but that’s anywhere.”

Conversations with Walker don’t tend to last all that long – he’s liable to get called to action at all hours of the day. This time, there’s a sewage issue in one of the older buildings, and he’s been summoned to put up signs advising students and faculty of the malfunction. 

“I do basically everything except turd wrangling,” he explained, using the carpenters’ term for plumbing. “But I help where I can.”