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This Guy Takes Over for That Guy

As I was sitting in my palatial vacation home (aka the six cubic feet provided to me by Amtrak) preparing to write my first article as the new “That Guy”, I was wondering what readers would like to know. I was thinking, “What type of buyer does the Harbus have? Who is my target with this article?” Given the high selling price and the difficulty in receiving your copy (free and none, respectively), I came to the conclusion that you must be a very discerning group.
With this in mind, I wondered what I could possibly write that would entertain you.

Given the success of various social events (Priscilla Ball, anyone?), I thought a review of the top cross-dressing Boston nightclubs might be a good start. Or perhaps something topical, like an interview with a recent visitor to campus. I thought about Mark Cuban, Sheldon Adelson, or some other speaker who I didn’t see. Then I thought that since I wouldn’t actually do the interview and would merely be making up random answers to make-believe questions, why limit myself to people who have actually visited campus? I could choose someone who has never been to the HBS campus. But in the end I decided, who would want to read a make-believe article about Michael Porter?

So then I decided maybe I would just introduce myself and let you know a little something about “That Guy”. Though actually introducing myself would pretty much kill the concept of an anonymous writer, it couldn’t hurt to tell you just a few things to help you understand who “That Guy” is.

“That Guy” is the type of person that wonders: Where does my tuition money go as we can’t afford toilet paper that I can’t see through? Why do the ladies’ rooms have motion-sensor hand towel dispensers while the men’s rooms still have the hand-crank operated ones? Why do you have to win the “bathroom lottery” in your Aldrich class assignment, or risk walking up/down a flight of stairs or to the other end of the building in order to use the restroom? I think these Aldrich bathroom questions are the types of critical issues that you will be interested in (or at least feign interest in as you read the paper rather than paying attention in class) and I will do my best to provide you with hard-hitting, in-depth coverage of them.

I am the HBS student who has calculated exactly how many threes I can afford to take (4) and which classes I would like to allocate them to (I was thinking LEAD, TOM, MKT, and LCA) in order to have the lowest likelihood of “hitting the screen” while doing the least amount of work possible. I’m still concerned that this plan allots too few to the second term, but my FIN1 grade might make this concern inconsequential. I think everyone who is not aiming for Baker Scholar status (a.k.a. anyone willing to spend time reading this article) should have a go at this exercise, as it is tremendously liberating. (I’m banking on this whole “anonymity” thing applying to Academic Services as well as students.)

I am that standard student who spends time in class alternately sleeping, putting my hand up to spout random comments “building on” one of my Baker Scholar sectionmate’s points, and wondering who would win at arm wrestling, Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, or Arnie as the Governor of California. Sometimes I amend that to Arnie as Conan the Barbarian vs Governor Arnie, depending on how “engaged” I am in the class discussion.

I am the student who wanders out of Shad and gets 90% of the way home before realizing I still have my locker key on my wrist and have left my ID at the front desk. I don’t know why I’m always so distracted after my power yoga class. None of the female students who attend the class seem to be distracted. Anyway, this forgetful me is not to be confused with the one who forgets his ID at the photocopiers, anywhere that Crimson Cash is accepted, or at home on final exam days.

I am the student who spends a solid fifteen minutes opening my Spangler locker swearing that HBS gave me the wrong combination (it couldn’t possibly be user related, could it?). I just wish I was one of the lucky few who has figured out how to close their locker without actually locking it so that they can just pull it open each time. This would enable me to more fully pursue my favorite pastime, walking through the Spangler common room. This activity has unearthed a remarkable phenomenon that I am still coming to grips with. How does anyone make it through unscathed by the perils of meaningless conversation? I don’t think I’m the only one unable to beat the clock and make it through in less than 15 minutes. I shall continue my efforts toward this conquest but I remain pessimistic regarding my chances of success.

Finally, “That Guy” is the person you can count on to ask the critical questions. First and most importantly, “Why can’t we have TGIT?” This would give us an excuse to hit the Grille early for beer on both Tuesday and Thursday, all on someone else’s tab. Second and almost as importantly, “Why can’t we drink in HBS classrooms?” I know that there is this piffling little Massachusetts law about consuming alcohol in rooms where classes are actually taught, but I honestly expected HBS to be “above the law”.

So as you can see, I am a very unique HBS student with very unique characteristics. I am sure many of you have already started wondering “who is That Guy?” but by now you’re thinking, “who really cares?” My hope is that I’m close enough to being one of you that I infiltrate your ranks and find those brilliant topical issues that you want discussed. If you want to help me out with this and have a topic that you think could only be tackled by an anonymous writer… submit it yourself. On the other hand if you are too lazy to do that, drop my editor an email with the suggested topic and I may have a hack at it.

January 12, 2004
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