Celebrating Other People’s Birthdays: John Cross

Wednesday was John Cross’ birthday. I’m not surprised if you don’t know who he is; people in his o-week group don’t know who he is. The only reason I do is because he was roommates with Josh Langsfeld and consistently did ridiculous things in an unassuming way. Rachel and I brainstormed many ways to best celebrate his birthday, but eventually just decided to eat soft serve, text people annoyingly, and tell our favorite John Cross stories long into the night. So like every night, but with talking about John Cross. And so, I bring you a tribute to John Cross, and every ridiculous thing I can remember about him.

Ragnarok
The thing most people remember about John Cross is how he played Ragnarok pretty much constantly. I know you hear that a lot about people at Rice, how they play WoW all the time, but with John Cross I really mean CONSTANTLY. I was always surprised when he stopped for food. He certainly didn’t stop for class. Sure, if you asked him if he’d gone, he’d say “Yes” despite still being in the same position as when you left, and still in pajamas, but we all knew the truth. There was even a facebook group for awhile called something like “I’m John Cross: I’m too baller to go to class” whose tagline was definitely “I don’t even care that I got a 32% in Physics”.

Stealing things
John Cross was also highly suggestible. He would just do things because you suggested them. Seriously. One time at the beginning of school I went out to eat with him and Josh Langsfeld and this happened:
John: (looking at knife) This cutlery is really nice
Me: You should take it
John: Okay (takes knife)
slightly later
John: Wait, why do I have this knife?
Me: I have no idea
It was like he had no agency of his own most of the time, and the few times he did he would use it to either A) do absolutely nothing or B) do something completely ridic.

“I’m living with you guys next year, I swear”
As you may expect, Rice took some exception to John Cross’ cavalier attitude about grades. At least three times he signed up to be roommates with Josh, Rob, and Adam and then just did not show up. They would always discover he wasn’t living with them when Alex A. or Adam Ellsworth or whoever called and this happened:

Alex: So I’m totally living with you guys next year!! Should I bring anything?
Josh: What? No you’re not.
Alex: Yeah, I am.
Josh: What about John Cross?
Alex: Who?

And then we’d call John Cross and he’d either not answer, make vague promises, or, my personal favorite, “I’m going to Australia. As like… a study abroad thing?” Later he changed this story to “Arizona”. Probably he was actually in Cleveland the whole time, but I like to think of him as an Indiana Jonesque adventurer, traveling the world and being generally uninterested.

Soft Serve Machine
John Cross claimed to have a soft serve machine at home, and enrage us by not bringing it to Rice. He would say that it was too big, and we would despair. I posit that, given all the other pathological lying he did, John Cross never actually had a soft serve machine, but Rachel still holds a torch.

Two Dog Faces
A member of THE 434 who shall remain nameless could never remember what John Cross actually looked like, despite seeing him regularly. When asked, Anonymous THE 434 Member would claim that John “had like a split face, with two different sides” or “looked kind of like a dog. Not in a bad way”. Eventually a compromise was decided and it was proclaimed one night (I’m sure in the OC lounge, site of many such momentous occasions) that John Cross had “two dog faces”.

Richenda
This is by far everyone’s favorite John Cross story, maybe because it stars someone else. During sophomore year when John Cross was living off campus, he told us a high school friend of his named Richenda was coming to see him, so we all went out to eat. When we tried to ask Richenda about Highschool John Cross, she and John Cross would just sort of look at each other and giggle. When we asked her what she did, she said she “worked in websites” and then later claimed to be a model. It quickly became apparent that they did not know each other from highschool, that they had, in fact, never met before. Yes, they had met on Ragnarok.

It’s at the same time more and less sketchy than you’re thinking. She stayed at his apartment for two, maybe three months, sleeping in his room while he slept in an arm chair in the living room. She would make fun of him, and he would giggle. He would show up with weird bruises and explain offhandedly that Richenda had kicked him. Once, while sitting between them, Rachel had the disturbing experience of nearly being kicked-bit (when you try to kick and bite someone at the same time) by Richenda while she was aiming for John Cross.

The End?
Then, of course, John Cross never came back–naturally telling no one–though Richenda stayed in town and for all I know still lives there working at the sushi restaurant in the Village. We would sometimes try to call him, but eventually gave up. Where are you now, John Cross? Another mission as a world-renowned secret spy? Spreading your legend around the world? Sitting in your parents’ basement playing Ragnarok? The world may never know. I have fond hopes that one day we will meet in an airport and the dramatic truth about John Cross will be revealed. Until that day, I guess we can only celebrate his birthday, and wonder.

2 responses to “Celebrating Other People’s Birthdays: John Cross”

  1. Bova says:

    Aww good times. This is a good account of all things John Cross. I remember fondly when the “Richenda-craze” swept Wiess. Caroline was totally obsessed. I also have a fond/slightly disturbing memory of when Richenda gave me a “black eye” using makeup. She actually made a very realistic-looking black eye. Strange.

  2. Anonymous says:

    ARGRH! I am still so angry about that ice cream machine!!

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