Kert "the mac" Richardson
by: Philip Hassey

        Somewhere along about the beginning of the 2nd semester that year I took to eating those neato little pizzas from the Shen Desk. Fear not, for I did not give up on macaroni, it usually ended up as a combo thing where I cooked a little pizza, and a pot of macaroni and kind of mixed it all together into a mosaic of flavorful tasty goodness.
        At the Shen Desk I was confronted with something new and exciting, a name I had never seen before underneith the "RA on Duty" sign. It read "Kert 'the mac' Richardson." "Who the heck is Kert 'the mac' Richardson?" I asked a few people. They failed to know. I wondered if he wasn't a weird stalker or something. I wished Houghton College would put more effort into their screening process to weed out the weird stalkers.
        Then one day, I found my answer. I was bored beyond belief one afternoon because I had no friends and nothing better to do. I took to reading all the cartoons on the doors of our hall. I still think my favorite is the one me and Francis had on our door. It was an advertisement that said, "We're not conformists. That's why we all drink Jukey!" It was sort of a self-esteem poster for all us budding individuals on the 1st floor of Shen.
        Finally, I got about half way down the hall and I noticed a door that I was sure hadn't been there before. It was rectangular like the rest of ours, but seemed to have a feeling of "ignore me, and I won't exist" to it. On the door was a note thing with the name "Kert Richardson" on it. Next to this distinguished name was scralled the letters "R.A."
        Realizing that first Shen had an R.A. that had completely been hidden from us all semester was very intimidating. He must have been covertly spying on our actions to ensure proper behavior. I backed away from the door all the way to my room, and closed my door and locked it.

Later on that night I walked down to Justin's room to watch some mindless intellectual film. The artsy film was weird and made me buy more food at the Shen desk.
        "Hey Justin," I asked after the film ended, "Who's Kert Richardson."
        "I think he's our RA," said Justin. Justin was always smart and aware of what was going on.
        "Really," I said, "How come we never see him?"
        "Because he's a good RA," said Justin.
        "What's so good about him," I asked, "He never bonds with us."
        "Only the wimpy freshmen floors get RAs that bond. Older guys like us don't need the emotional support of a caring RA."
        "I do," I said.
        "Right," said Justin.
        "Let's go visit him," I said.
        "It's 1:30 at night," said Justin, "I think he usually goes to bed at 12:00."
        "That's okay," I said, "We can pretend we have something wrong with us and we need help."
        "What's wrong with us?" asked Justin.
        "You hit me," I said. We marched down the hall to Kert's door, and knocked loudly. There was no response.
        "What if he doesn't want to be bothered?" asked Justin.
        "We're having a crisis and all you can do is think about other people's feelings? I've been wounded, and I need him to reconcile us."
        I knocked on the door harder and louder and longer. A low groan came from within.
        "See," I said, "He's in there. And likely he's still alive."
        I knocked again for a good long while, until finally we heard a "What?" yelled from inside. I took this as an invitation to come in and so I tried to open the door. It was locked.
        "We need counciling, he hit me!" I yelled at the door crack.
        "Go to bed," yelled back Kert, "I don't care about it right now. Ask me tomroow."
        I stood back a bit from the door and glared at it with a bit of displeasure.
        "I think he doesn't want to talk to us," stated Justin. He was probably right, but it didn't make it right.

        The next day as I was walking down the hall I noticed Kert's door hiding against the wall again. I gave it a nasty glare, but then realized that was wrong. Instead I burst through the door and shouted at the inhabitant, "KERT 'THE MAC' RICHARDSON!" with my arms outstreached in hopes of receiving a warm hug from him.
        His back was turned to me, as he continued to work on his laptop, and he sort of mumbled back at me, "Don't call me 'the mac'."
        I stood in the doorway after my grand entrance and felt more or less satisfied with the results.
        I began again, "Kert 'the mac', what's up?"
        "Who are you?" he asked, then turned, "Oh, you. You live down the hall, don't you."
        I nodded.
        "Well, why don't you go back there and do something productive. And don't call me 'the mac' again."
        "Uh, okay," I said and left his room.

        In a strange way, Kert "the mac" had become my role model. It was hard to take harsh rejection from ones role model the way I had just experienced, so I took a long walk to think about it. When I got back, I ate a little pizza by my self, but I didn't cry.
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