Jeanne Beanne, who I know IRL, asked some Ask Roger Anything questions.
Where would you be if you weren’t where you are?
What a metaphysical query!
Several points in my life are, if not this, then that. One was made for me, as I’ve mentioned. If my mother didn’t work outside the home at McLean’s in downtown Binghamton, NY, I would have gone to Oak Street Elementary School. So I wouldn’t have met Karen, Carol, Bill, Lois, Bernie, and others, with whom I went to Daniel Dickinson, then Binghamton Central HS, until seventh grade. It would have totally changed the dynamics of our relationships.
I wouldn’t have met Ray at Dickinson until seventh grade and likely wouldn’t have been in Cub Scouts, with Ray’s mom as our den mother. Probably, I wouldn’t have met Dave at all.
If I wasn’t watching JEOPARDY with my great-aunt Deana every day at noontime, I might not have become obsessed with the program so much that I tried out for the show in 1998, made the cut, and won a game.
If I hadn’t attended New Paltz college, I wouldn’t have met Mark, who turned me onto comic books. So we wouldn’t have gone to the Crystal Cave comic book store, where I met Raoul and Tom, who I would later work with at FantaCo in Albany. Also, Mark introduced me to the Okie.
1977 was pretty chaotic. Still, I met friends Deborah in NYC and Judy in New Paltz. Judy and her friend Jendy would be pivotal in my going to library school at UAlbany in 1990.
And if Mark and MK52 had not moved to Schenectady, I wouldn’t have crashed with them there from December 1977 to March 1978 and ended up working at the Schenectady Arts Council, whose offices were in the run-down Proctor’s Theatre.
If I didn’t know Nancy at SAC, I wouldn’t have met Shazrak, with whom I moved to Albany, in 1979. In May 1980, I worked at FantaCo.
I’ve mentioned this before, but FantaCo was that “third place” – not just a retail store, mail order place, publisher, and comic book convention purveyor, but a gathering place of people interested in art, music, and popular culture. Besides Raoul and Tom, there was Mitch, Hank, Rocco, Marky, Augustus, Sinisa, Mayor, Peter, and one other, who bears special mention.
I met artists and writers like Fred, Bill, Steve B, the Pinis, and members of the band Blotto. I’m still friends with at least one of the customers, ADD, and others still remember me from the place.
I met Debby through Mitch. She introduced me to lots of other people. Though she didn’t play, she was indirectly responsible for my playing racquetball from 1983 to 2010 at the YMCA, where I met even more folks.
Walter, a customer turned FantaCo employee, was even more of a person who interacted with many others, many of whom I know today. He was also the epicenter of the hearts game.
Being in Albany meant going to church in Albany and all the connections I made at church #1, then church #2. I wrote about the drama and trauma of leaving church #1 here.
I could write much more about other jobs and volunteer organizations and their impact.
Then there are the romantic relationships, which would take several book chapters. Suffice it to say that there were things said or left unsaid, things done or should have been done, that altered that trajectory in many ways.
Three things that manifested in your life that you did not expect.
Comic books, JEOPARDY, and being a librarian. Being a dad was a “well, maybe, if…” thing.
How have they changed your path? And purpose?
They’ve definitely changed my path. I don’t know that my purpose, which to be, for lack a better word, useful, has fundamentally changed, even when the circumstances did.
Coke or Pepsi? Lol
Diet cherry Pepsi.