In the Summer of 2013, Roger Chapman came to prominence on the Teaching Media Facebook group, achieving folk hero status. But who is this man, and what does the record tell us about him?
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Roger Chapman was born on April 17, 1965, the same day as William Mapother. Just as Mapother would later enjoy brief fame for his role as the secret Other, Ethan, who infiltrates the protagonists’ camp on hit show Lost, so too would Chapman’s crowning grace in life come with his successful infiltration of the Teaching Media Facebook group in 2013 – an infiltration for which he would receive even more high fives from co-workers than for his legendary spam email sent to the University of South Dakota’s German department listserv. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
It was a warm day in Disco, Tennessee when his mother Gertrude, a teacher at Disco High, gave birth to young Roger after laboring at home for hours. A single mother, Gertrude nevertheless gave Roger the family name of his father and her only true love, Mark David. April 17 was an auspicious day, for only two days prior the NFL had changed the color of penalty flags from white to bright gold. How fitting that a man who masterfully dodged penalty flags his whole life would be born that day!
His childhood was uneventful, save for the highlight of his adolescent years, when in 1972, Gertrude made the three hour drive to Nashville so they could both see the young Tanya Tucker delight with her hit “Delta Dawn.” Young Roger loved Country so much, until two years later, Olivia Newton-John won the Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year award; fiercely patriotic Roger couldn’t fathom how an Australian could win such an award, and he parted ways with Country, setting out instead on a musical journey that would ironically end up leading him back away from American music to Dutch death metal, upon Severe Torture’s release, in 2002, of back-to-back albums Butchery of the Soul and Misanthropic Carnage.
As a teen, he was known for his funny impressions of television stars of the day, and for his virtuoso one-man, self-written stage version of Hart to Hart. He excelled at math, especially subtraction. In the summers, he would divide his time between circling Disco in his beloved Big Wheels, and working on yet more recipes for canned precooked meats.
Upon graduation, he left Tennessee and a tearful Gertrude for the University of Houston-Downtown, where he studied General Business. In between studying and working part-time at an advertising agency, he would watch all sorts of movies, though none delighted him quite as much as did Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach, a film which he still watches weekly and which gave rise to his favorite movie quotes, “Well, I’m sorry to hear that … Captain Dork!” and “You leave the swimming area NOW, mister.” A professor at UHD would write glowingly of him in a reference letter that “Roger is of sound mind.”
Work at the advertising agency took off, such that he began there full time following graduation. It is also in the halls of what is now Campbell and Chapman Associates that he met his wife, Christine. They later married, on August 16, 1989. That day, a solar flare from the Sun created a freak geomagnetic storm that affected micro chips and that led to the halt of all trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange; Roger boasted that “our love is electric, baby” as the true explanation. Their honeymoon to Belfast, Northern Ireland was cut short a week later when Dutch dancer Helen le Clerq died and Roger packed his bags to return home saying “I’m just not feeling it anymore, honey.” He still wears a wristband memorializing le Clerq to this day.
Roger and Christine live happily in Houston, and Roger’s work continues to provide him constant fulfillment, though he now works exclusively from home, making mad money!!! He is known amongst co-workers as “MC Facebook,” for his remarkable abilities to sell product and evade being banned on the popular social media site. Roger and Christine long ago made a principled stand never to have children until Texas schools no longer insist on teaching geography.
Roger’s maxim in life is “I’m ranking things like crazy.” Do you know Roger and have stories to share?
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