Christopher Roos

This American Life


Christopher Roos, 4466 West Pine, 1984

Then the monitor above his bed tolled an alarm. A minute later—one last strip spilled out of the machine and curled to the ground, like a receipt.

This story aired in October 1998 as the final act in This American Life #112 — Ladies & Germs: a program about germs, and how they make us leave the world of rational thinking.

I tell the story of the final weeks in the life of Christopher Roos.

I was in North Carolina, on vacation with my friends Paul & Michael & Richard, when the call came from Chicago that they wanted the piece sooner than we had anticipated. I remember we drove to a small college in North Carolina so I could track the piece. And I remember the engineer, a sturdy African American gentleman, crying. I begged the producers in Chicago to let me do this in one take.