Coming in 2036: The Piepenbring-Wren Building
February 8, 2007
Forget the nascent Ukrop Drive; forget Kaplan Arena. In 2036, I will, through the glory of my financial “philanthropy,” get my name affixed to the Christopher Wren Building and therein attain immortality.
p. The Piepenbring-Wren Building will dwarf everything around it. Students will no longer want to live in the Sadlerville Complex, or waste their time being educated in Tucker Hall Brought To You By Pepsi. Even Prince’s Purchase, the building formerly known as Washington Hall, will be a thing of the past. Piepenbring-Wren will define the future.
p. How will I, as a lowly English major, earn enough money to purchase such prime nomenclature? Well, it just so happens that I have a friend in Nigeria who e-mailed me personally about some unclaimed funds. I don’t know how he got my address, but there are just billions in some bank account over there, earmarked for yours truly. All I have to do is front some capital and they’re mine. (Accounting for inflation and exchange rates, I may even emerge as a trillionaire.) As a member of the nouveau riche society, I’ll throw a bunch of lavish cocktail parties and take up a healthy interest in cocaine. Whenever I use the bathroom, my hired robotic midget will smack my Swedish maid in the face, thus reminding her to wipe my derriere with a $100 bill — even if I only urinated. The maid and the midget-bot will fight over my urine, because after an expensive surgical procedure, I will piss 70 percent gold dust.
p. Eventually, though, I’ll become so jaded that even the most expensive thrills will bore me (except for cocaine, which I’m told never gets old — it promises eternal youth). When this happens, I’ll shift my focus to philanthropy: children’s cancer funds, feeding the hungry, helping out teamsters, you name it. It’ll only be a matter of time until my alma mater comes to benefit from my god-like generosity.
p. At my behest, the salaries of all humanities professors will increase tenfold. The Sunken Garden will be immaculately manicured, all dormitories will have air-conditioning and the Caf will serve filet mignon and dolphin-free tuna two days a month (we don’t want to get carried away here). Our president, being so enthralled with my charity, will offer me a piece of the Wren Building after my armed thugs threaten to castrate his cat. (If the cat is spayed — or female — the president himself will suffice.)
p. Trust me: this “cross in the chapel” controversy will be old news by then, when the whole room is reinvented as a gentlemen’s club. People might object to religious symbols, sure, but only the kindest words will be reserved for the new mantelpiece, which will feature my full name spelled out in diamonds. Dr. Daniel Edward Piepenbring, Esq. — that’s a lot of letters. Let me tell you, it’s going to be impressive.
p. Such blueprints presuppose that no one worships me by then. This, I must concede, is unlikely — we should develop a contingency plan. We can keep the thing as a chapel and have every student kneel before the aforementioned diamond idol in daily prayer. Deal with it.
p. “But Dan,” you might be asking, “Why does your so-called ‘philanthropy’ require a reward? Can’t you just give for giving’s sake? Shouldn’t the building be named for its architect?” Excellent questions, reader. You see, compared to some of our other buildings’ namesakes, Christopher Wren is considered pretty poor. Earl Gregg Swem was rich enough to go by his first and middle names, and his wealth was diminutive compared to that of Mr. University James Center. (For undisclosed reasons, Center later dropped his middle name.) But Wren? He wouldn’t deserve to polish my platinum shoes. He wouldn’t even deserve to scrub my midget’s shoes, and those are only made of faux-leather. Why, then, should his name be venerated? Do you really want to honor someone who was poor? Do you?
p. Campus Drive is an absurd street name. We’re all aware that this is a college campus — we don’t need to be reminded whenever we flick our turn signals. It’s redundant. And William & Mary Hall? It’s on our property. It’s obviously our hall. Naming it something so practical, so unerringly simple and “sensible,” is an insult to the intellect of our student body.
p. Likewise, the Wren Building’s existing moniker smacks of logic. Everyone knows he designed the damn thing. The only reason I’m keeping his name on there is my stringent ethical code. I’m a demonstrably generous guy. It could just as easily be “The Piepenbring Building, by Christopher Wren.”
p. It’s settled then. Return in 2036 and witness firsthand the gorgeous Piepenbring-Wren building. It’ll be the pride and joy of the College of William & Mary & Piepenbring. Did I mention we’re renaming the place? Damn.
p. __Dan Piepenbring, a junior at the College, is a Staff Columnist. His views do not necessarily represent those of The Flat Hat.__