For the first time in his life, he showed a little bit of initiative for another 16 days.
John Rogers, a senior who has majored in mechanical engineering, accounting, creative writing and philosophy throughout his 12-year undergraduate career at the University, is preparing for the onslaught of Y2K and end of the world by pitching a tent and moving into a room in a tunnel underneath the physics building.
“Only 16 days and it’s all over,” a smiling Rogers said Sunday afternoon as he was filling the former Facilities Management office full of canned goods, pork rinds and fifteen cases of Hamms.
To prepare for the end of the world, the first thing the six-foot, 175-pound Rogers did six months ago was apply for, then receive, 35 credit cards, all of which were pre-approved platinum cards.
When he received the cards, he promptly maxed them all out to set up his new home.
When told that most of the credit card companies have prepared for Y2K, he remained confident.
“Well, that’s just it. All of the computers were fine. This is a clandestine attempt by Microsoft and IBM,” Rogers said.
He added that Microsoft wants the computers to be destroyed, then everyone will have to buy new computers and software. The required investment would throw the world into economic chaos.
Rogers is preparing for life after the end by furnishing his new home, complete with a mop sink, a leather sectional, a $9,000 stereo with 300 brand-new CDs and a life-size photo of Cameron Diaz. A high-definition television complete with a DVD and DirectTV dominates one of the walls.
Since he isn’t going to make any payments on his credit cards, he doesn’t have a phone.
Facilities Management hasn’t had any problems with Rogers’ new living situation. In fact, many of facilities managers can be found spending their Sundays watching football and drinking Hamms.
“He’s got ‘NFL ticket.’ We can watch five games at once,” said a red-faced John Smith, project manager for Facilities Management, as he squashed an aluminum can on his forehead.
Besides facilities managers, Buck Samuelson, freshman alcohol-studies major, unable to get anyone to buy him any beer, is the only person to visit Rogers.
When told of his quest, the managers, who were watching the game, threw Samuelson out.
To prepare for the end of the world, Rogers realized that he would need cash. Since money is going to be worthless after the end of the year, Rogers took out cash advances from his cards and started buying rare coins, which, according to the Swiss America Trading Corporation who sold him the coins, is going to be the only viable form of currency.
He then bought a 3-foot-high safe to store these coins, which is also doubling as the stand for his stereo.
As the end of the world nears, Rogers is also preparing for a total loss of services. $300 kits with blankets, canned food, a transistor radio and a first-aid kit are hidden underneath the leather couch.
Rogers, 32, who also has minors in Afro-American, Jewish, women’s and Native American studies, has been to three different schools. About a year ago, he was listening to Bob Larson, a fundamental Christian radio talk show host who has spent his radio career talking about the apocalypse. Rogers said Larson’s message “touched him,” and he felt compelled to prepare for the end.
Working as a concession worker in a St. Anthony Main movie theater, he quickly realized that he couldn’t do anything to prepare while making $5.75 an hour. He heard stories of people trying to invest money from credit-card cash advances to make a quick buck.
Roger’s former roommate is an undergraduate physics major who has spent the past five years in the sub-basement of the physics building working on his senior project. His roommate, who wished to remain anonymous, used to sleep in the room and said maintenance workers hadn’t used the room in years.
Rogers found an opportunity to move in when he lost his job at the theater, his girlfriend left him and he was evicted.
The roommate wished to remain anonymous because he is undertaking a similar plan, only taking up residence in one of the steam tunnels and doesn’t want anyone to know his whereabouts.