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PS Picks: 'New York' Magazine's Story of the Worst Roommate Ever

PS Picks is a selection of the best things that the magazine's staff and contributors are reading, watching, or otherwise paying attention to in the worlds of art, politics, and culture.

This PS Pick originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive a print magazine subscription, early access to feature stories, and access to an ad-free version of


I live alone and have always thought my joke that, as such, I have the worst roommate possible was truthful: I procrastinate on dishes, leave clothes laying around, forget to take out the trash—the whole gauntlet of lazy bad roommate traits. But then I read William Brennan's "Worst Roommate Ever." The New York magazine feature paints a portrait of a serial squatter, Jamison Bachman, who used his legal training to bully and intimidate dozens of housemates out of their homes, seemingly for nothing more than the sadistic thrill of doing so. Brennan details an escalation of abuse from Bachman dumping cat litter in the toilet; to bullying his way out of four years of rent by claiming every minor discomfort inflicted upon him, like unwashed dishes, voided the lease; to filing protection orders to prevent his roommate from entering the home, etc.—all the way up to physical violence. (An aside about a young Bachman witnessing the murder of his friend over a cheese sandwich—yes, a cheese sandwich—is about the 20th most bizarre, and terrifying detail in this story.) I can't do it justice.