Besides the students and faculty, there are many other members of both the Columbia and Morningside communities who make the years here a little more enjoyable. We at Bwog feel they deserve a little time in the spotlight for all their hard work. Today: Jared Frieder feels nostalgic, and asks Charlie White of JJ’s Place what his favorite Michael Jackson song is
What do strawberries, Austin Powers, and Paris have in common? I’m not exactly sure, but Charles White could be it. Charlie is a Brooklyn-bred New Yorker who first came to work at JJ’s Place in 1996 after his mom helped him score a position behind the sandwich counter. The strangest order he’s come across in those 13 years? A so-called vegetarian once ordered a Veggie-Chicken Burger.
When not watching his favorite movies, the Austin Powers Trilogy, Charles can be seen rooting on his favorite team, the Buffalo Bills. In fact, if he couldn’t serve up mozzarella sticks at 2 AM, the only other job that would satisfy Charles would be playing tailback for the Buffalo Bills. Fittingly, his JJ’s delicacy of choice is the Buffalo Chicken Wrap.
Yet, fret not, if he had to live his life as a food, Charlie would rather turn himself into a succulent strawberry than a spicy buffalo wing. Charlie is not only a JJ’s man, but also a family man, as he boasts that his favorite thing in the past decade has been getting married and starting a family – six kids: Ceron, age 6, Natasha, age 4, and Thomasina, age 9, just to name a few. While his celebrity crush is Halle Berry, his true love is his wife: his ideal vacation would be taking her to Paris and treating her “like the queen she is.”
When it comes to a subject Columbia students know all too well — books — Charlie loves to read anything by Donald Goines, author of the “book-gone-movie” Never Die Alone. But when the books are closed and it’s time for some basketball, Charlie enjoys watching his favorite player and five-time NBA All-Star Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat take to the courts. As for Charlie’s response to the most important question anyone can ever answer, his favorite Michael Jackson song is undoubtedly “Beat It.”
When asked if he had any advice for the stressed-out students he sees in the midst of a long night studying, White says, “don’t let the pressure get to you, keep your head up, and do the best you can.” It’s no surprise that he says that his coworkers and the students are the best part of working at JJ’s. His one request of the kids: keep coming. As long as he keeps smiling, we’ll keep coming.