Mr. Johnston: Debriefed

Physics teacher Ryan Johnston speaks out about his mysterious nature


By Taylor Moss

Listening intently, physics teacher Ryan Johnston speaks with a student.

Molly Smith, JAG reporter/photographer

JAG: What are your hobbies?

Ryan Johnston: I enjoy reading mostly philosophy, science fiction and fantasy. [I also like] going into nature to walk as long as the location has a lot of trees and not a lot of people or buildings; those [locations] tend to be parks.

J: What kind of music do you listen to?

RJ: Things [with] the word classic in them, like classical music and classic rock. I mean, they’re classics for a reason. There’s a lot of bands from the ‘70s you just don’t hear much because they just weren’t that good. That’s why I like [listening to] the best all the time. Life’s too short to listen to crummy bands that just happen to be current. Yeah, there are some good musicians today but a lot of it’s crowded out by [other music].

J: What is the reasoning behind your daily navy polo and grey slacks?

RJ: I have seven or eight of the same shirt and pants. Who has time to look into their closet [to] decide what they’re going to wear? I mean, how long do you take to look into your closet? Say, I’d like to wear this today or no, no, maybe I’d like to wear this, but that doesn’t look quite right. I mean, everybody has those conversations with themselves, but I don’t have time to do that. So, I go in my closet. I just grab the first thing in the pants [section] and the first thing in the shirt [section], and it’s always the same thing. The end.

J: Why do you have a flip phone? 

RJ: Smartphones are too convenient, which makes them inconvenient for me. So it used to be that if somebody wanted to talk to you, they would come meet you and talk to you  in person, or they would call you on the phone at home, and if you weren’t home, it wasn’t a big deal. They would have to call back or just talk to you the next time they saw you. Now, everybody has 100% access to you all the time, because everyone’s got their phone with them.  I don’t like that. It’s too convenient. It’s also too convenient to look stuff up and just be connected to the infinite knowledge of mankind. And it’s nice to have time to process what little knowledge I get every day. Because you know, I’m thirsty for knowledge and understanding all the time. But if I’m always connected, then I don’t have time to process the knowledge and understanding that I get bits and pieces.

J: Why do you choose to be a private person?

RJ: That’s a good question. I think it’s just my nature. I don’t know that there’s any “Well, this thing happened and now I’m a private person.” I have always been private. For whatever reason, social norms had kind of gotten away from respecting that about private people. Now everybody shares every aspect of their lives online. I am not comfortable with that; I barely share certain aspects of my life from person to person. There are a small number of people in my life that I do share information with. That’s the way I like it. I mean, why would I do that for everyone all the time? There’s too many people to play catch up on all the time, and it’s always so superficial, like what you show on social media. And it’s always a little fake because you’re always just presenting your best, your highlight reel. Plus, I just don’t have time for social media. Who has time for hours a day? You know, you take a look at the screen time; people are taking seven hours a day to be on their phone. I don’t even have seven minutes to be on my phone let alone seven hours.


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