Ever walk past a stranger on the paths of Cross Campus and wonder, “Who? Who are you?” Weekend does. Everyone at Yale has a story. Everyone has many stories. Here at Weekend, we want to know more. There’s the guy who sits at the same table in Atticus every afternoon, typing furiously. There’s the brunette swimming laps at the Payne Whitney pool. Everyday people, everyday lives. We want to know more. What’s going on under the surface? What’s the story behind the people you recognize, but never meet?
Weekend’s dutiful writers will profile anonymously-nominated members of the Yale community as part of this weekly series. Who will it be next? Check in next week to find out.
Chris Waggoner thought his appendix would burst on Tuesday night. He was clad in a macaroni-and-cheese sweater (pictured), and that night, he had consumed a large Red Bull. His favorite movie is “Shrek 2,” and he rejected my claim that Linkin Park’s “In the End” was a nihilistic creed.
Chris and I talked about his favorite movies, his childhood and the 2020 election.
A self- proclaimed Long Island nationalist, Chris is from Mattituck, Long Island. The town is an hour-and-a-half drive from Queens to the west and Montauk to the east. He went to Mattituck High School, played for the high school soccer team and once took a class in TV production. In the class, he became famous for his parkour tutorial, featuring the recurring phrase, “Parkour 1-0-1!” His TV production videos were broadcasted every morning during the morning announcements.
I asked him what he meant by the moniker “Long Island nationalist.” He explained that this means he believes that any land connected to Long Island rather than mainland New York City is, in fact, a part of Long Island. I deduced that he meant that Brooklyn and Queens, in his mind, are part of Long Island, not Manhattan.
“Have you seen it? It’s a fucking island. It’s in the name. It’s weird for Queens and Brooklyn people to make imaginary lines.”
We agreed that if we discussed film, it would be entitled “Chris at the Movies.” So, here’s Chris at the movies.
Chris ranked his favorite movies from one to seven, starting with “Shrek 2.” Shrek, the first movie of that franchise, clocked in at number three. “The Lego Batman Movie” was second, making his three favorite movies a Lego Batman sandwich with Shrek bread — tasty.
Chris didn’t explicitly ask that I describe Lego Batman to you, but I feel that he will be happy if I do. The Lego Batman movie features Will Arnett as the titular animated character, with Michael Cera playing Robin and Ralph Fiennes (fucking Voldemort) playing Batman’s trusty butler. When Barbara, the new police commissioner, reconstructs Gotham’s police force and no longer requires the assistance of Batman, Gotham’s number one hero is forced into an existential battle to find himself and, on the way, discovers a new family.
The movie is alright, despite Chris’s insistence that it is a masterpiece, but you, dear reader, may be fancied to hear that Barbara attends Harvard for police, a fictitious Harvard program that trains the finest police officers in the world.
Chris enjoys his time at Yale, but I suspect he’d transfer to Harvard for police if given the opportunity.
Every Yalie has an admissions story — a video in which they freak out, realizing that their life’s goal has been fulfilled, followed by four years of existential dread, listlessly wandering New Haven. Chris is just like you and me in that he has an admissions story, but it is characterized by extreme nonchalance, bordering on stupidity. It escaped his mind to tell his parents that he had applied to our esteemed Ivy League. He claims he left a note on the family fridge, but I don’t believe that for a second.
The day admissions decisions were released, he thought to check the admissions website, but, in his own words, “really wanted to see a movie that day,” so did that instead. Again, I encourage you to take this with a grain of salt; Chris doesn’t even remember the name of the movie he saw that fateful day.
He was soon contacted by Yale, encouraging him to sign up for Bulldog Days. Inquisitive and analytical as he is, he surmised that he had been admitted, and proceeded to tell his friend Eshi. Allegedly, Eshi proceeded to tell his mother, who then contacted Chris’s mother.
That’s the story. It just ends. Chris got into Yale and didn’t even know it. If you knew him, the story fits the character.
Chris has lived with me for three years now and has been the only constant in my life. He studies history. He likes the academic flexibility that the major gives him. He gets to take classes on relativity and Mayan hieroglyphics. His favorite class at Yale so far has been either “Eastern Europe Since 1914” or his current relativity class. He likes the history of World War II and the physics of space. He would not comment if he would take a class on space Nazis if offered, but he did recommend that we all watch the action comedy “Iron Sky,” in which space Nazis attack earth.
On weekends, he occasionally shoots arrows with the archery team. On Mondays and Wednesdays, he plays intramural soccer for our Pierson College. In our first year, he named himself team captain. No one had a reason to dissent or complain, so he remains our fearless leader to this day.
In deciding the next fearless leader of our nation, Chris has been backing Southbend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. A Pete 2020 sticker has appeared in our common room, but he claims he has nothing to do with that. He thinks that Pete is the smartest person running, and I take his support for Mayor Pete to mean that he believes in the meritocracy of education and knowledge. You may disagree with that system, but it is certainly a reasonable enough claim. Chris referred to the Mayor of Southbend as “Petey boy,” which confirms my suspicions that Mayor Pete can relate to our generation.
Our conversation included a bit called DJ Chris. In DJ Chris, I asked him the first words that came to mind when I played a song. I started with Linkin Park’s “In the end.”
I then played for him the music for the Wii Shop Channel. He asked me, “Which one is that?” You may think he means to ask which song it is — he may not have recognized the Wii Shop Channel music, and his question was simple, with the singular goal of figuring out what song was playing. If you think that, you clearly don’t know Chris.
Rather, he was asking which version of the Wii Shop Channel song I was playing. Which version, you may ask? Chris and I have found and listened to a variety of remixes for all the Wii soundtrack songs. Greatest hits include “Mii Channel but all the pauses are uncomfortably long,” “Mii Channel but every note is a random pitch,” “Mii Channel Theme but each pause descends you further into madness.” These are all real and you can look them up.
I had intended to play other songs for Chris, but he and I proceeded to listen to various Wii and Mii music remixes for about 10 minutes.
I worry that he isn’t always this odd — that it is the presence of impressionable and odd people, such as myself, that brings this behavior out of him.
Chris said that his favorite dining hall food is chicken tenders from the much acclaimed chicken tender Thursday. I asked him if he could make an entire plate of food from Yale dining, what would be on that plate. Just a big plate of chicken tenders, he insisted.
I bring up dining with a somber tone. Much like my original family, Chris was one of the three roommates assigned to me. I did not pick him, and if I had the option from the start, I don’t know if I would have. I am infinitely glad Yale made that random decision on my behalf.
But our time as roommates will likely come to an end after this year. Our friend group is mainly moving off campus, with one roommate citing Yale dining’s limited food options and obscene prices. Not every day can be chicken tender Thursday, and it looks like that cruel fact will end the era that has been Chris and me.
We had been speaking for 40 minutes at this point, so I wanted to ask him some personal questions. Chris is a closed person, and despite our friendship, I am hardly privy to the inner mechanisms of his mind. Therefore, if ever there were an opportunity to hear his genuine thoughts, this was my moment.
I asked him about his future family and if he expects to have kids. He referenced an episode of “The Office,” in which Michael Scott plays for some children a video of his own childhood. In the video, a young Michael Scott says that when he grows older he’s going to have a lot of children, so that they all have to be his friend. As compared to his younger aspirations, Michael Scott’s life has hardly met up to expectation.
I don’t watch enough of “The Office” to confirm Chris’s recount. But Chris felt similarly. He said he doesn’t want to feel badly if his familial aspirations don’t become a reality.
I asked him what the meaning of life was, in his opinion. He hesitated, before bluntly saying “money.” He didn’t say it in the flashy, Wolf of Wall Street kind of way, excited that life was about money and that he would have it all. He said it regretfully, disdainfully, mildly peeved that life was as simple as that.
I asked him if he had any advice for his younger self. He was reluctant to answer this, as he thinks everything ended up working out.
“10-year-old me probably wouldn’t listen to 20-year-old me,” he said.
Chris Waggoner is a Long Island nationalist and thought his appendix would burst on Tuesday night. He is weird and unique — the type of kid who could get lost in the bliss of the grocery store freezer aisle while also reading a book about dark matter. He’s a self-proclaimed introvert and prefers the buttery to High Street. He once went to Spring Fling dressed as a dinosaur, and he orders the discounted lunch special at Main Garden once a weekend between the hours of noon and 3 p.m.
Chris described the “Shrek 2” “I Need a Hero” scene as the best in cinematic history, and I sleep well knowing that our IM leader and truest hero sleeps one door down from me.
Nick Tabio | firstname.lastname@example.org