Illustration by Mark Searcy

AS YOU EMBARK UPON the academic year, many of you will be required by your school or budget to share your living quarters with complete strangers—"roommates," they call them. But be warned: Your "roommate" will almost certainly not be your "mate." Take it from me. I switched roommates many times during my freshman year at college, and every single roommate was pure, unadulterated evil.

Coincidence? I think not.

My first roommate was Matthew Hardenbach. A corn-fed Iowa boy, he initially seemed pleasant and friendly. That quickly changed when Hardenbach accused me of staggering into our dorm room at 4 am and (in his words) "soiling" the contents of his closet, including his stupid confirmation suit and the container that held his father's "ashes." Of course, this is a bald-faced lie because I have no recollection of any of it. Hey, I told him, at least it wasn't the dumb blue blanket your slut of a mom made for you when you were an infant and you still keep on your bed every night.


The school quickly relocated me to a room with Ethan Trotter, a science nerd who looked like a chipmunk caught in the headlights. He was pretty mellow until the night before midterms, when he showed his true colors.

"Can you please stop blasting Reign in Blood?" he shrieked, his chipmunk eyes crazily rolling in his head. "It's 3 am!" He screeched something about not being able to sleep for a very important science test. What a nutjob. If you want to be a great scientist so badly, I told him, why don't you go invent a pair of earplugs?

"Besides, do you want me to fail?" I asked. "Maybe a good night's sleep helps you do well on a test, but Slayer helps me to study, you inconsiderate dick."

Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe.

The school switched me again, but at this point a conspiracy had taken root against me. Apparently, after two of your roommates request to have you moved, the school considers you a "problem," and starts pairing you up with other "problems."

So my next roommate was a mysterious kid named Ked. I don't know if that was his first or last name; probably neither. He kept a dropper bottle of LSD and sold doses out of our dorm room, which was fine with me since I got free hits. Ked also kept a pet ferret. Its name was Tigger, and Ked would clean Tigger's cage and water dish obsessively.

I am a bit of an animal whisperer; I could tell that Tigger was not happy confined to life inside a small cage; the ferret's mind needed expanding. So I did what any animal-loving person would do—I put a few droplets from Ked's LSD bottle into Tigger's water dish. Ked came back into the room a short while later and commenced cleaning the cage.

Its animal mind brought to a higher level of consciousness, the ferret took up arms against its captor, biting Ked on the palm, clawing his wrists, disappearing up his sleeve. Ked squealed like a pig and began running around our tiny room, trying to shake Tigger out of his clothes. Then, terribly, awfully, Ked threw his body up against the wall, and Tigger's noble battle for liberation was over.

"You monster," I said to Ked. "You oppressor. You fascist!" Tigger, the little Sandinista, had been struck down in a valiant bid for freedom.

After that, the school put me by myself in a single dorm room. I win?