When I was a senior in college, my mom got a job working at the university where I was a journalism major. Since I lived at home, my mom and I ended up carpooling everyday, with me driving her to and from work. I technically had an 830 class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday my last semester in college, but it was an elective, and I was the only upperclassman in it, so I went roughly 30% of the time. Usually when I went, I just wrote record reviews in the back aisle of this big classroom by hand. It was weird, because I had to lie to my mom about going to this class; I got up and drove her everyday, but I’d end up being on campus when I didn’t want to be. Since I didn’t just want to go home—and on Fridays, often had nothing better to do and no other classes—I ended up hanging out most of the day in the office of the college newspaper where I was an editor. Since we didn’t have production meetings on Fridays, I often spent that time—as much as like six hours—just hanging out, surfing the Internet, and playing NBA Jam on the Super Nintendo that was in the office. I’d order pizza from a pizza place, sometimes bring beer, and basically treat the place like my clubhouse. When I think back on college, I remember doing goofy shit in that office.
Which brings me to the story that actually directly involves this Roots album: One Friday, I was in the office, playing Game Theory mega loud on a computer, sitting in a chair, eating pizza, and playing NBA Jam, having a fucking great time, when this 50-year-old woman yelled “EXCUSE ME” from the other end of the office—it was built where the bowling alley used to be in the union, so it was basically just three bowling lanes walled off—and scared the living shit out of me. I scrambled to turn the computer off. It’s worth noting I didn’t have shoes on at the time, and I also had hair down past my shoulders.
“Yeah, how can I help you?”
“I’m looking to speak to an editor of the newspaper. I want to write here,” she said.
“Yeah, that’s me. I’m the managing editor.”
And she said the funniest shit ever:
“Really? I assumed it would be somebody more responsible.”
This lady thought I was irresponsible because I was eating pizza, playing videogames and listening to Game Theory. AND SHE WASN’T EVEN WRONG, BECAUSE I WAS SKIPPING CLASS. It’s maybe the only time I was stereotyped, and it was hilarious.
She ended up kind of running out after handing me her clip book. And I laughed my ass off for like 45 minutes.
POSTSCRIPT: This woman was eventually hired, and she worked for one of my predecessors at the paper. After the new editor-in-chief—who was 30 years old at the time—wrote a humor column about how he ate wings and it destroyed his digestive system like he was an old man, she quit citing discrimination against elderly people. I laughed for 45 minutes when my friend told me this story.