The Background Check


In another month, parents will be packing their sons and daughters off to college. For some, it will be a new experience.

My youngest, a sophomore, is transferring from a small university in urban Chicago to a bigger university in the suburban Midwest. (Reasons for this detailed in the earlier blog post, THE DICK HOUSE.) So he gets to do the new-to-campus thing twice.

Anyway, Jake was pretty excited to get his roommate notification email last week. It’s kind of like Christmas morning–who am I going to get? Will he be cool? Will we get along?

We were hopeful–last year’s roommate didn’t like to leave the room. He spent most of his free time te-revelamos-que-significa-la-presencia-de-brujas-dentro-de-tus-suenos-descubrelo-sin-miedo-5be5b21bb58d5snacking on the goodies his grandparents sent him–so much so, the boys got a third roommate–a resident mouse who foraged for leftovers.

But that’s another story.

Anyway, Jake’s new roommate had an unusual name–the kind only one person in the world might have. 

So Jake Googled it to see if he could learn more about his new roommate beyond the fact he comes from Chicago.

Of course, he didn’t expect to hit on a collection of mugshots and articles from major newspapers.


New roommate spent time in prison before going off to college freshman year.

Yeah, apparently his crew (5 total) rolled into a gas station with a 9 millimeter semi-automatic weapon and robbed the store of cash, lottery tickets, cigarettes, and even the clerk’s own personal cellphone. One member of the group covered his face, the others didn’t.

The stolen cellphone led the police to find the getaway car not too long afterward–and when they were pulled over, they still had all the loot with them in the vehicle.

I should also probably mention that this group is suspected in a series of similar robberies.

And so, Jake’s new roommate was sentenced to 6 months in prison and probation.

One of his cohorts got 21 years in jail–guess he was the masked man with the gun.

The others were juveniles so there’s no newspaper record of what happened to them.


But still, I wondered, how could this all add up? If he had graduated the same year as Jake in 2018?

He hadn’t. He was a year older. Football star. Set to graduate. Robbed a gas station. Pissed away another year awaiting sentencing and serving his sentence.

And then he went off to his freshman year of college as a football star on the university’s team as if nothing happened.

You know, as a former high school teacher, it used to irk me that some students who didn’t apply themselves in school, still got great rides to colleges because of their athletic talents.

The college Jake is going to is not easy to get into. The average high school senior who matriculates there has a 3.62 average on a 4.0 scale and above-average SAT scores.

Tell me that holds fast and true for athletes, but I won’t believe it.

Anyway, I called first thing Monday morning and could tell as soon as I started talking that they thought they were dealing with just another annoying helicopter mom.

I’m not. A helicopter mom, that is. (Annoying? Possibly.)

So I said, “Let me cut to the chase here. You’ve assigned my son to a roommate who…” I paused for effect before finishing my statement in a strident tone, “IS A CONVICTED FELON.”

The voice on the other other end was quiet for a moment, followed by, “Excuse me?”

I repeated my statement and followed it with, “He’s a star on the the football team.”

Let’s just say by the end of business that day Jake had a new roommate. A transfer student like him.

We are all praying the third one’s a charm.

Thanks for reading!


Susan J. Anderson

Foxy Writer Chick


6 thoughts on “The Background Check

  1. Egad! I’m so not surprised and yet horrified that your son would have been put in that situation. I’ll cross my fingers that his new, new roommate is a sober law abiding young man… I’m hoping that his new school is not my former work place (though I suspicion that it might be as that is just the kind of thing that happens when you start talking about football). If he is in my town I’d love to host you for a visit…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, thanks Muriposis! Football seems to be a world unto itself–complete with privilege and status. We see the same thing in our neck of the woods with lacrosse–my sons call those guys “lax bro’s.” It’s not a term of endearment either. Ha! Did you work for a Lutheran university? I seem to remember you’ve got experience with conservative Lutherans… Now that this roommate situation has been resolved, I do have a good feeling about the school and Indiana. It’s friendly–and that’s half the battle in making your way. Chicago was pretty chilly. And I don’t mean the weather.


  2. Just another example of colleges being a business. Football makes money for the school. They can over look anything that doesn’t give them bad press. 🦊 on!

    Liked by 1 person

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