Derek Drummond

Research Associate/Microbiology, OHSU

Do you ever wonder what happens to people when they finally sicken of slaving away in the service industry for peanuts while their loans mount? At some point they crack, realize that if they're not famous yet they probably never will be, and start craving things like "career advancement" and "benefits."

Derek Drummond's is perhaps a cautionary tale: A resident of the United States of America's two foremost slacker towns, Austin and Portland, Derek was relieved to be relieved of his graphic design job 10 years ago. He began cashing in unemployment checks while working under the table at downtown Portland's fabled (and now defunct) video store, Sin City. After six years mysteriously evaporated and he still hadn't made any headway on his art school loans, he packed it up and went back to PSU for a BS in microbiology.

These days, before most of us are even in bed, Derek gets on the #8 bus with medical types and Vietnam vets, and heads to Pill Hill. After work, this former vegan regales his still-service industry friends with grim tales of "cervically dislocating" baby mice with scissors, "anally challenging" monkeys with strange viruses, and what really happens at international herpes conferences (hint: kinky). It's just another day at the office for Mr. Drummond. (Almost makes the more commonly held occupations by Portland's youth, such as slinging beers, tossing pizza pies, and flinging panties, seem noble, don't it?)

So what does your "real job" consist of exactly?

I make/engineer "recombinant" viruses for use as vaccines and/or new therapies for disease.

Are you still an anarchist?

As a former apolitical person with very strong opinions, I saw the anarchy movement in Portland as the only viable political association for myself. It seemed to me that they were a synthesis of art, politics, and action. They were definitely a visible force in Portland at the time. But I got disenchanted when the party leader from NYC stole the little money we made off selling books to shoot up.

Did you wash your hands more working at Sin City or with recombinant viruses?

I think I wash them equally as much.

Do you find you drink more or less being out of the service industry?

Any job makes me want to drink. The unfortunate reality is that now my schedule won't allow it. It's amazing what all happens in the wee hours before noon. Who knew?

And where can we find you drinking?

The Republic, of course. VIVA LAS VEGAS