Take: March 10, 2000
By Wes Tooke '98 (email:
SAN FRANCISCO, CA-Two
years ago, while working as the student columnist for PAW, I wrote
one of those self-indulgent articles that undergraduates have a
penchant for churning out. I urged my fellow students to ignore
the riches of Wall Street and try taking Frost's "Road Less
Today I began to write
the logical follow-up to that column-the typical self-congratulatory
alumni article about how F. Scott's young egoist had wandered the
world and evolved into someone older and wiser. A few paragraphs
into the piece I realized that it was the worst thing I've typed
in several months.
I'm certain the appalling
quality of my first effort wasn't a coincidence. Over the last few
years I've discovered that I do far more chest pounding when I'm
surrounded by Princeton people-perhaps a vestige of my original
insecurity when Dean Hargadon bucked the odds and let me into the
university six years ago. And I know I'm not alone. What other explanation
exists for the tone that so often appears in PAW or the competitive
conversations we overhear at Reunions?
So let me, somewhat uncharacteristically,
stick to the facts. I spent a year working as an editor at PAW after
graduation, but for the last nine months I've lived most of my life
on the road. Although I can't precisely explain why I find it so
difficult to be in one place for more than a few weeks, I think
it has something to do with the feeling I developed at Princeton
that I need to see more of the real world if I want to become a
A few weeks ago a former
colleague of mine at PAW asked me if I would consider writing an
online column for the magazine. The suggestion caught me off guard.
My recent contact with the university has been almost exclusively
limited to checking men's basketball scores online, and I was unsure
that I could generate a Princeton-related article every couple weeks.
But as I thought about
it, I realized that Princeton remains omnipresent in my life. While
standing in a Thai "nightclub," about as far as a person
can get on this earth from Princeton-both physically and metaphorically-I
remember a distinct feeling of satisfaction in finding a place that
didn't remind me at all of the Cottage taproom. Except, of course,
for the beer.
So while I reserve the
right to spew my ignorant opinions on matters that happen on campus,
this column is chiefly dedicated to exploring the curious ways in
which Princeton continues to impact our lives after graduation.
I fully expect to be writing these pieces from a wide variety of
places, and perhaps the locations will influence the content. To
paraphrase Papa, consider it a movable snack.
And since this venture
is online, I hope that the readers of this column will feel free
to e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with comments, criticisms, and suggestions. Although if you're too
offensive I will follow the example of the Prince and quote you
grossly out of context. Writer beware.
Thank you to everyone
who read this first online column, and I hope you will find your
way back. A topic for debate until next time: Princeton's modern
motto is a wishy-washy debacle. Discuss amongst yourselves. Oh,
and the Vegas over-under on how many issues before I get sacked
is six. My mom's got a pile on the under. And as I learned long
ago, it's never wise to bet against my mother.