Memoir of a Terrible Roommate
The basement was a knee-deep sea of pizza boxes, two-liter soda-pop bottles, and half-eaten chicken wings. Interspersed throughout the roommate created landfill were occasional gems of things worth slightly more than the garbage dominating the large, red-carpeted room: video-games, magazines about video games, and dirty laundry. Rick had moved in just three weeks prior, and yet in that scant time he'd managed to turn a spotlessly clean basement with rec-room aspirations into the nightmarish vision of an utterly apathetic and irresponsible young-adult.
It started innocuously enough. After a two-week Christmas vacation visiting family in Wisconsin, I'd returned to my home in Portland, Oregon to discover that not only had our cozy, book-laden living room been transformed into a sort of command central for video gaming, but that lying on my couch, right next to the tipped over two-liter bottle of mountain dew, was Rick, an eighteen year old who'd spent the last two years shuttled from foster home to foster home.
My only other roommate at that time, a Christian youth-pastor named Josiah, had met Rick during one of his weekly youth group meetings (Rick was one of the youth), and in a rather naive and misguided act of charity, Josiah opened up our house to Rick, approving and vouching for the new tenant while I was conveniently absent. Hence, upon my return, the living area which was hitherto mutually agreed upon to serve as a mere reading room, was now littered with no less than three televisions, multiple gaming units, speakers, receivers, and, of course, empty pizza boxes. Uncharacteristically, I kept my cool, remarking that perhaps the basement would be a better place to pursue their high-scoring aspirations.
And so began the era of Rick. The first time he used my bath towel, leaving it crumpled and wet on the bathroom floor, I politely requested he use his own. The second time, I politely repeated my request, interjecting the word “gross” to indicate my displeasure. The third time, I snapped, and with forcible language littered with expletives, witnessed with incredulity a complete denial by Rick of ever having used the towel in the first place. Of course, this ended the problem, but exacerbated roommate relations considerably.
Rick was unemployed, and spent his time (from about seven at night to eight in the morning), playing Final Fantasy-esque games in the basement, a room increasingly taking on the appearance of Rick's bedroom. Over the weeks, as the rotting chicken-wings and pizza crusts festered and as the carpet I'd laboriously put in mere weeks before turned from bright red to a vomitous brown -hue, my opinion of Rick similarly mutated into something akin to my opinion of parasites: They are ugly, they are selfish, and they ultimately require destruction for the well-being of the human race.
The climax of Rick and I's relationship occurred when I, utilizing the basement room for bicycle maintenance, witnessed the most disturbing component of Rick's personality: Insulting others to impress his friends. As Rick and his sadly otherwise friendless acquaintance Dustin labored over some video game quest likely involving a sword, Rick decided it incumbent upon himself to point out that my Jeep was a “piece of sh**.” Ten minutes later, I saw myself pinning Rick to the floor with my knees, dutifully teaching him valuable lessons in humility while repeatedly slapping him in the face. Within but one week of this incident, Rick had managed to give me death threats, steal my food, and throw a hammer at Dustin's head, effectively relinquishing the only friendship Dustin currently had.
There is no moral of the story here, no words of encouragement if you find yourself in a similar situation. Rather, a stark illustration of the depravity of the human race and a warning that when you find yourself faced with your own Rick, remember...killing people is illegal, which is, as the iconic bumper sticker reminds us, the only reason many people are still alive.