When we left off, our disillusioned protagonist had endured an unpleasant experience at the parking office. He wondered aloud whether the cliched “rip-off” complaints about GW were true, only to be admonished as a whippersnapper by GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, who happened to be crouching behind an adjacent tree at the time.
“You’re that renegade journalist, aren’t you?” Trachtenberg said as he emerged from the brush, gracefully wolfing down the last of a half smoke with chili and cheese. “Yes, it’s coming back to me now . I paid goons to chloroform you a couple of years ago so you could blossom here at GW. Now all you do is whine about the administration like everyone else. I suppose it’s my fault; I never take care of the ones I truly care about.”
Trachtenberg and I stood in silence, taking in the gravity of the moment.
“What would you say if I asked you to come on a personal tour of GW, so I can show you the noble side of this school, the side that the students don’t bother to explore?”
The expression of ecstasy on my face was enough of an answer for President Trachtenberg. “Come on, our first stop is the admissions office!” he yelped.
“This is where it all happens,” the Trachtenberg said as he nodded to a secretary sorting through a mass of paperwork. “Did you know that 60 percent of this year’s incoming class was in the top 10 percent of their class? Here, let us take a look at one of last year’s applications. Let’s skip right to the essay.”
He picked up a printed sheet of paper that read as follows:
“I want to go to George Washington University because D.C. is mad crazy. I’m mad bored where I stay now, and D.C.’s got ill clubs. I am the president of my class because I am mad smart. Smoke weed every day.”
President Trachtenberg turned to me. “Can you believe we didn’t make the top 50 this year?” I chose to remain silent as he continued. “This young fellow has focus, goals, aspirations. There’s obviously some vast, right-wing conspiracy against GW. But enough about U.S. News and World Report, it’s just some unsubstantiated study that I care about, but sometimes pretend I don’t care about. Let’s continue the tour.”
“As you may know, we instituted a printing fee this year,” Trachtenberg said as we munched on lobster rolls at the faculty club. “What most people fail to realize is that we’re just keeping up with competing universities. For example, NYU charges $4 per printed side of a page, and Georgetown charges $5.”
“Are you sure about that?” I asked.
“You know what’s cool, is that ‘Sorority Life’ show on MTV,” Trachtenberg answered.
Our last stop on the tour was the 19th Street CVS pharmacy.
“President Trachtenberg,” I said, “I’m a little confused. I realize this CVS is near campus, but why is it part of the exclusive tour?”
He grinned from ear to ear.
“I guess you haven’t been let in on the little secret in Washington yet,” he said with a smirk. I gave him a questioning look.
“Haven’t you ever wondered why there are so many CVS’s in this town, Hart? Nobody would ever need this many pharmacies.”
President Trachtenberg began to gesticulate wildly.
“It’s a shadow organization, Ben,” he exclaimed. “CVS is in control of everything in this city, including GW. I’m just a figurehead, a guy who looks good in the Post and builds new dorms. The real power comes from the “pharmacists” at these ominously well-lit establishments.”
“President Trachtenberg, I’m stunned,” I stammered. “But while I have a thousand questions about the CVS government, I have to ask – why are you telling me this when you know I write for The Hatchet?”
President Trachtenberg’s smile vanished.
“Oh jeez, I forgot. Please don’t print this,” he said.
-The writer, a junior majoring in history, is a Hatchet humor columnist.
This article appeared in the October 7, 2002 issue of the Hatchet.