Strange People, Stranger Conversations

Encounters with strangers can lead to conversations you won’t forget soon.


Late last summer, senior Santino Cirami and some close friends of his were walking around Main Street, St. Charles, looking for somewhere to eat. Down the street, the group was surprised to see an individual with a microphone, yelling and handing out books.

Cirami isn’t one to participate in many extracurricular activities, preferring instead to use his free time on writing, illustrating, lifting weights, and going out with friends. Cirami and his friends often run into eccentric individuals when out getting food, leading to strange and occasionally frightening conversations.

 “My friends and I, we were in St. Charles, on Main Street, and there was this old man with a guitar case full of books. All the books were talking about rebirth and reincarnation,” Cirami said, “He had a microphone, and he handed my friends and I a book. He wasn’t threatening, he was just trying to be enlightening. He was pushing the books on us, but he was giving them away for free.” 

While this person in the street left an impression, the most memorable of these individuals to Cirami is a man he called “Radiation Todd.”

“My buddies and I, we went to a chinese restaurant, and there was this man there, who we now refer to as Radiation Todd, who started talking to us about radiation from our phones,” Cirami said. “Once we put our orders in, he started yelling at the other employees. He threatened to ‘Burn this place to the ground’. It was around Black Friday, and he was talking about burning a $100 bill in Walmart, and he wanted people to watch him.”

A friend of Cirami’s, senior Joey Seevers was also present at the first encounter with “Todd.” Seevers said that although he found the situation funny, he also felt somewhat scared.

“I thought it was hilarious,” Seevers said. “But at the same time, I felt a lack of safety. We didn’t know if this man had a weapon on him, or if he could have drugged our food. So yeah, we felt a little unsafe.” 

A year later, some of the students who first encountered him went back to the scene of the interaction, only to see him again. Senior Jordan Bilodeau, a friend of Seevers and Cirami, was present for both encounters with “Todd”.

“We went back about a year later, and it’s become a yearly thing now. It’s happened twice, where on the day, we go back up to see him. He’s kind of become a legend.” Bilodeau said.

These interactions with strangers can be funny and interesting, but it’s important to remember that these are real people. They may be strange to outsiders, but these people could genuinely be struggling with mental health issues that cause them to act in these irregular ways. While a little bit of joking around is generally harmless, in a lot of cases, these individuals deserve sympathy, and not mockery.