An Interview with Tye Dye Thom
By Allie Jarrell
His name is Tye Dye Thom. Facebook friends know him as Quarry Breakdown. Others know him as a small business owner in Tennessee. To MSU students, he’s the guy who sells hippie clothing and gives free high fives in the Union.
Every fall and winter, Thom comes to MSU for the ‘Wish You Were Here’ sale, where he sells flags, shirts, posters, gloves, hats and his handmade macramé necklaces. This is all thanks to his partnership with UAB, an organization that Thom fully supports because of the students who put their community before themselves. He was elated to say that half of his profits go to UAB, so by supporting him, students can also support their campus.
This year Thom visited seven schools in four different states while sporting a historically fashionable beard to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the civil war. He chooses campuses that are, in his words, “student-first,” and while he’s on campus he enjoys engaging students and getting them to think about politics, religion and culture. One topic commonly discussed during his last MSU visit was about students missing opportunities to connect to each other every time they listen to iPods on campus.
Thom’s life outside of traveling to universities includes recreational surfing, his Enchanted Planet store in Tennessee, and his aerial photography company which photographs music festivals. He also has a Michigan documentary in the works focusing on bands and breweries making great music and beer despite the economic downturn. And if you ask Thom, he’ll tell you that his two favorite things in life are beer.
As I wrapped up my interview with the tye-dye legend, it became apparent that his charisma and sense of humor really connected with students, faculty and staff. At that moment he was talking to students passing by about the right to get married – arguing that divorce, not gay marriage, is society’s largest matrimonial problem. At that same moment, a delivery man approached him with a shipment of flags.
“You should be able to marry your kitchen table, but only once.” Thom said emphatically.
The delivery man shook his head, smiling impishly.
“I’m just thinking about my kitchen table,” he laughed, “that glass is pretty sexy.”