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Why I Love Spangler

While I was sitting in Spangler the other day, practicing my best “Look at me, I’m a serious HBS student, studying hard…but don’t worry, I’m not going for Baker Scholar, so I’m still fun and approachable” look, I began to think: of all the places I could be pretending to work, why do I choose Spangler? In short, why do I love Spangler? To find the answer to this pressing question, I decided to conduct an experiment and turn my apartment into a mini-Spangler to see if I could re-create its magic.

In doing so, my first step was to “borrow” one of Spangler’s famous leather couches. Now I’ve stolen my fair share of office furniture, so let me be the first to tell you that the Spangler couches are top quality. I scraped them all over the SFP staircase trying to get into my apartment, but the tough, brown leather came away with just minor scratches.

(Incidentally, SFP should really look into dent-proofing their walls.) My next step was to accessorize with a Spangler lamp and rug. For the full effect, I left the lamp unplugged, since I can never find an open outlet in Spangler. Next, I had one of my friends stand over me holding revolving signs to display upcoming events for the day. My friend got annoyed when I kept ignoring him. I told him I would consider the Hollywood Trek Happy Hour, but to otherwise stop talking to me (he was supposed to be a sign, after all). And of course, a mini-Spangler wouldn’t be complete without a fire, so I ripped the pages out of Creating Modern Capitalism and started a nice, warm blaze.

Now that the tangible elements of Spangler had been re-created, the tough part still lay ahead. How would I simulate the “feel” of Spangler? It would take some creativity, but I believed it could be done.

First, I asked some of my neighbors to help me out by opening my apartment door every 30 seconds and asking variations of “Yo, what are you up to, dude? Haven’t seen you around in a bit. Not working too hard, are you? We’ll have to go out some time” and “I was looking at your classcard and your background truly amazes me. It’s a wonder that anyone could accomplish so much in so little time” (this is a simulation, work with me). Next, I borrowed all my neighbors’ cell phones and programmed the loudest, most obnoxious rings I could find.

I then had each of them call their phones. My next move was to have one of my friends walk in my apartment, set down his laptop, and ask if I could watch it for a minute. Then in true Spangler style, he left it there for several hours, keeping me stuck on the couch long after I had intended to stay. Finally, I had one of my neighbors bring her kid in a stroller and roll around my apartment. The kid was sleeping, so I asked her to wake him up and make him yell. It took a bit of work, but pulling his hair with some force eventually did the trick. I actually got a bit carried away and pulled the mom’s hair too. That case is pending.

Sadly, with all my effort, my mini-Spangler just didn’t feel the same. What was I missing? What had I not thought of? Why is this kid still screaming in my living room? After much thought and several drool-filled naps on my new couch, it hit me. I love Spangler not for the couches, not for the crying babies, not for the unplugged lamps. I love Spangler…for the bathrooms.

Any self-respecting Spangler connoisseur has spent considerable time enjoying the many wonders of the faux marble-walled Spangler bathrooms – including industrial soap so powerful it could burn off your fingerprints, toiler paper so rough it would make Keith Richards’ skin jealous, and toilet seats so clean you could slurp oysters off them…uh, I digress. Anyway, the Spangler bathrooms offer such a compelling value proposition (is my Marketing prof reading this?) that I have been all but forced to spend evening after evening inside Spangler, while my apartment sits just yards away.

So what have I learned from this whole experiment? Well, that clearly I spend too much time in the bathroom. But that being the case, I have some work to do. I have just three short weeks between semesters to have my apartment bathroom transformed. Spangler, you’ll be seeing a lot less of me.

December 9, 2002
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