Oddchester: Your worst roommate in six words or less

May 1, 2019

Everyone, at some point in their lives, should be forced to live with a roommate who, say, sleeps in the bunk above yours and also routinely suffers from night terrors.

Or leaves a bag of potatoes in the cupboard for so long that — and this actually happened — the potato eyes grow stems that eventually PUSH OPEN THE CUPBOARD DOOR!

Or regularly wears a Burger King uniform despite the fact that they, as far as I could tell, do not work — and had never worked — at Burger King.

It makes every other person you live with after that seem like Mindy, who sure put up with a lot from Mork.

All of those stories, incidentally, are things I have experienced firsthand.

And, apparently, plenty of you have lived with bad roommates as well.

Roommates that stole all your John Prine albums. And played Metallica on the bagpipes. And sold all of your clothes.

Roommates that hid your keys then left town. Attempted making grilled cheese in the toaster. Hid in the closet to eat snacks.

Those are actual responses — and we got hundreds of them — from readers who answered our call for Your Worst Roommate Story (in six words or less).

Moved out while I was traveling. Accomplice to murder before school started. Constantly bakes brownies; never offers any.

Put his dead dog into freezer. Ate cereal on toilet. Top salesperson at Fredrick’s of Hollywood.

Lied about eating my food while chewing. Wanted to marry her own brother. Changed her name every few months.

(Those last three, incidentally, all came from the same person. We can only hope they were all about the same roommate.)

I have, since high school, lived in 23 different apartments and houses, and had 14 different roommates (not counting my wife and kids).

In a house I lived in post-college, one of our roommates, Dale, constantly rewatched VHS recordings of “Saved by the Bell” (the TV show with Screech) while holding long phone conversations with his girlfriend and repeatedly saying things like “No, I love YOU more” and “No, YOU hang up first” and “I’m going to count to three and we’ll BOTH hang up” and “No, YOU hang up.”

She lived like three houses away.

Because of this, the rest of the roommates and I drank more than we should.

In Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., I moved into a $165-per-month-apartment with painted concrete block walls. My single room had a bed, desk, and chair. I shared the adjoining bathroom with a man who had a large, red Afro. He never once cleaned the sink.

Let me emphasize: He had a large, red Afro. And he never once cleaned the sink.

In Ypsilanti, Mich., two of us moved into an apartment that was a known drug house.

It was known, apparently, to everyone but us. We were 20. We knew nothing. We signed a one-year lease.

After we moved in, we regularly saw drug deals taking place in the parking lot across the street. Their brazenness made it clear that calling the cops would do nothing.

The dealers and buyers were blatantly open about what they were doing. Demonstrative, even.

When roommate Randy and I came home late at night, we walked briskly from car to house. We never made eye contact with the drug dealers.

Eventually, we rented out our spare bedroom to a third roommate. We’ll call him Ben. Ben, apparently, had no issue with talking to drug dealers.

Late one night, hearing voices, I walked into the living room. Our door was wide open. Ben was standing on our porch having a conversation with a drug dealer standing in the school parking lot. They were talking baseball.

Ben was saying something like, “Yeah, the Tigers have a doubleheader tomorrow. Jack Morris is pitching the opener.”

I dragged him inside and locked the door.

“What are you doing?” I asked. “That’s probably some drug code slang! I think you just told the guy you wanted to buy two kilos of cocaine. And god knows what a ‘Jack Morris’ is.”

Though I’m sure when Ben is telling people about his worst roommates, I probably come up in conversation.

Because that roommate — the one that left that bag of potatoes in the cupboard for so long that the stems PUSHED OPEN THE CUPBOARD DOOR — was me.

Ben’s six words on his worst roommate?

His old potatoes escaped from cupboard.