Last Wednesday evening while Student Association hopefuls made their last desperate attempts to talk jaded grad students into voting for them, I had the distinct pleasure of being the guest at the palatial home of our esteemed University president, Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, and his wife. I will refrain from making disparaging remarks about Mrs. Trachtenberg, whom I found to be a kind host.
I went to Trachtenberg’s abode along with about 20 other students to meet our representative to Congress, John B. Larson. Just for the record, I happen to be one of Larson’s interns – it’s a fun-filled world of collating, stuffing envelopes and answering phones. Trachtenberg knows Larson because the last school he ran into the ground, I mean ran, was the University of Hartford, which happens to be in Larson’s district. Thanks to this connection we students were hooked up with free drinks, hors d’oeuvres and the GW Trolley. Take that constituents of Christopher Shays! Hartford rules!
Now that I’ve shamelessly plugged my congressional district (only at GW would such a ploy work – well maybe at American University, but someone would have to explain to them what exactly a congressional district is) I guess I’ll move on to describing SJT’s house.
The GW Trolley took us past Embassy Row to Trachtenberg’s. If you haven’t had the chance to ride in the trolley, I recommend it. The baffled looks you get from the people you pass on the street is worth the price of admission. Hmm, the ride was free, so I’m not sure what that means.
Anyway Trachtenberg’s house (or mansion as we plebeians say) is nestled amongst the embassies and chancelleries and is frickin’ huge Mister Bigglesworth. Out front there was a flagpole flying the GW buff and blue and I must admit I got a little misty. Of course, someone had just poked me in the eye.
Trachtenberg met us in his finest red robe with his hair done up in two buns, but it was a little creepy the way his shadow moved independently of his body. The tour of the house was pretty impressive, but he really shouldn’t end it in the basement.
The reception was on the second floor in a room decorated with black and white photographs. At first I was kind of like Gee, President Trachtenberg, you’re one of the best paid university presidents in the country, why don’t you spring for some color photos? But apparently the joke’s on me because those pictures are worth more than my liver and eyes on the Chinese black market.
The hors d’oeuvres were good but I was disappointed at the lack of cocktail wieners – maybe SJT finished those off before we got there. I felt sorry for the work-study freshman who had to carry around the piss bucket, but there is something to be said for needing to go and only have to shout Piss boy! It’s good to be the president.
Trachtenberg explained that we as students pay for the place with our tuition dollars. I figure the 20 of us just about covered the room we were in, and that’s a much better use for the money than, say, books or computers. He also called his house the people’s house, which had a Jacksonian feel to it. He must have forgotten he said that because later on he looked upset when I started putting his (or is it our?) china in my backpack. Fortunately, he didn’t catch me with the silverware.
The best moment of the evening had to have been when Trachtenberg put on his fishnet stockings and led everyone in the Time Warp It’s just a jump to the left, then a step to the right. The old man sure can carry a tune.
When it was time for us to leave SJT gave us a few minutes before he released the hounds and had a UPD officer waiting outside to make sure we got onto the trolley safely, effectively destroying my plans to leave my unique mark on the house. A brief Piss boy! moment later and I was on the trolley headed back to GW. I guess there’s always next time, unless after the census Trachtenberg makes sure my hometown isn’t in a congressional district at all. No congressional representation for you!