10 Things I Think I Think: SG Comptroller Ben Johnson | The American Word

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10 Things I Think I Think: SG Comptroller Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson | 9/14/13 8:15pm

Ben Johnson (right) with the rest of the AUSG Executive Board. Photo courtesy of the AUSG.

10 Things I Think I Think” is a weekly feature in which American Word interviews campus figures. We transcribe 10 concise thoughts in the subject’s own voice, and provide their detailed quote below the statement. Ben Johnson, the AUSG Comptroller, discusses an interesting encounter he had with President Neil Kerwin in Tavern, how he wrote articles that were published in the Middle East and why you should get to know TDR workers.

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1. I thought it’d be a good idea to fuck with Neil Kerwin in Tavern one day and it led to an awkward situation.

“My friend Leo Zausen and I were sitting in the Tavern the first semester of last year and Neil Kerwin is walking through Tavern and I’m like, ‘This is a really good day to fuck with someone. Why not make it Neil Kerwin?’ I had never met Neil Kerwin and I’m like, ‘Neil, what up?!’ across Tavern. He walks over and asks if he knows me. I say, ‘No, but you should, though. I’m Ben Johnson. And this is Leo Zausen more importantly.’ My hands were greasy from eating the nachos at Salsa and he awkwardly talks to us which is fair. That’s totally something you should expect from someone who just had their name called out of nowhere. It was so funny.”

2. I briefly wrote for a Pakistani newspaper my freshman year.

“A friend of a friend was an editor for a newspaper called Pakistan Today and my friend and I was just sitting and talking one night and he was like, ‘You’re a journalism student, right? Would you want to go report on Occupy DC for Pakistan Today?’ I just said sure and he said it would be a 1,000-word piece. So, as I like to say, I was the Washington D.C. correspondent for Pakistan Today for three articles [laughing]. Two of which were on Occupy and one of which was on the anti-war movement.”

3. I hate the WONK campaign. I am not a WONK.

“I just hate that campaign. That’s the first thing that comes to mind [when you say it]. It just doesn’t ring a bell with me. WONK implies that I have years and years of knowledge and I have maybe four years of knowledge on one subject which is nothing in the grand scheme of things.”

4. Pat Kelly will be the most liked SG President of all-time.

“I think Pat Kelly will be one of the most liked SG Presidents because he’s such a likeable guy regardless of politics because I think you can just walk in and have a conversation with Pat. He’s pretty chill and a cool dude.”

5. If you tell me how tall a building is, I can estimate how far we are from the top of it.

“Most people that can do math can do that though. That’s a pretty straight-forward, simple algebraic equation.”

6. My favorite professor at AU is Gay Young.

“She’s the best. I think she’s pretty good at grounding the work she does in reality. I like academia but I find it up in the ivory tower sometimes. She’s very good at doing research to create knowledge.”

7. All AU students should get to know TDR and Tavern workers because they’re all cool.

“There are so many cool Tavern workers so I’m glad Aramark rehired everyone. My advice to everyone is get to know the TDR workers and Tavern workers because they’re all really cool.”

8. I hate it when poor people are labeled as “lazy.”

“I hate the ‘poor is lazy’ thing because they aren’t. I know several homeless people and none of them are lazy; they’re all hardworking. It’s just lack of resources. So many are forced into bad situations and are so bright. I’ve met so many people who are just so bright and are in bad situations. We’re robbing ourselves of this great potential in this society and we’re robbing these people of their great potential too.”

9. I really like hanging out at Kay because it’s a very inclusive place.

“It’s a great community because it’s so all over the place and so together at the same time. It’s a strong community that cares about each other. It reminds me a lot of growing up in the Midwest and that very nice community feel.”

10. Most people probably don’t know that I play violin. That’s my escape.

“I’ve played for 11 or 12 years; I started when I was 8. I just play for myself. It’s a good escapism; I just like to get lost in my music. I love music; I listen to all types of music. I particularly enjoy folk and rap and funk and rock and blues and R&B. I focus on my music and have fun with my music.”