Archibald Filmore Goldstein IV ’08, the new food manager at Terrace, was up to no good. A 4.0 GPA molecular bio major, he had rented that old Jim Carrey movie about a lawyer who is doomed when he finds one morning he can no longer lie. Archibald thought this was hilarious, and whipped up a concoction in his lab at Icahn. When no one was looking, he mixed it into the frozen pancake mix at brunch that Sunday. I should have suspected something was amiss when friendly Betty, who’s friendly to everyone despite having been hosed from Ivy three times, turned to me and said, “You know honey, I can’t stand the way you are dressed today. Where are you headed, to a damn undertaker’s interview?”
“The truth is I am an Orange Key guide,” I found myself saying. “Here I am a senior still doing this. What a loser.” I was surprised by my candor.
“Yeah, total loser,” Betty yelled as I ran out to my waiting tour.
On my way to Clio, I passed one of my preceptors on McCosh walk. “Hey, I went to your seminar last night,” I could not help saying to him. “You know, I thought you were completely incompetent as a preceptor, but truth is I actually thought your talk was vaguely interesting!”
He looked perplexed as I ran off. As I neared the Admissions Office, I met my group of bored kids and intense parents and headed off to our first stop. “You may think of Princeton as a University,” I started, “but truth is we’re really a high-powered consultant and investment banker training group, situated on an elegantly groomed and landscaped golf course sprinkled with collegiate gothic castles.”
The kids looked confused but all of the parents laughed. “Oh, I love a tour guide with a sense of humor!” one of the mothers smiled.
I looked over at a lanky kid with a prep school t-shirt. “You look like you could use a drink,” I told him. His mother looked horrified, but before I could stop myself, the truth slipped my tongue: “You know, according to a recent McCosh newsletter, 11% of our undergrads are alcoholics. More than 7 drinks per day. And here, to your right, is McCosh, where they take you to sleep it off!” Instead of statistics or median SAT’s and GPA’s I was telling them about the facts that mattered.
When we reached Prospect, a site specifically off-limits to all guides, I pointed down the Street and turned to the parents. “Look, I know 40K a year seems a lot, but for an extra $6-10,000 your kid gets to be in one of these mansions. Sure, most of that money will be going towards subsidizing lousy beer, third-rate indie bands and officer’s legal feesâ€”but it’s a better deal than waiting 20 minutes for a cold slice of pizza at one of the so-called ‘four year residential colleges’? And if you want a small, randomized community filled with people who are (God-forbid) different than you? Go to Yale! ” One of the alumni dads wearing an orange tie clenched his fist. I knew he was loving it.
Next, I took them to Woody Woo. “You may have heard that the Robertsons are suing to get control of their money. They claim the University abandoned public service and just turns out private sector tools. Truth isâ€”of course they are rightâ€”we are tools and proud of it! You guys want a job in life not a mission, right?” The kids all nodded. I was connecting!
The hour was late. I said farewell to my tour and headed back to Terrace. A clique of vintage t-shirt clad pseudo-intellectuals were sitting bleary-eyed over stacks of half eaten pancakes. “Horray for Princeton!” they sang, “Welcome to the land where the squirrels eat more than the girls!” And the truth is… they were right.
On that note we welcome the 130+ freshmen who signed our sheet at the activities fair, and the 10 who actually come to our Meetings (Thursday night 9 pm at Tower for those of you meaning to attend.)
Princeton Tiger Magazine