I have often heard it said on my travels, “What is the Frist Campus Center?” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “the Frist Campus Center is an inviting, inclusive, and exciting gathering place for the entire campus community…. It encourages collaboration, the enhancement of the academic experience, the development of interpersonal relationships, the celebration of diversity, and the open exchange of ideas in order to further understanding and collegiality.”(1) Yes, but what is it? Often on our ceaseless quest for wisdom we must look beyond dictionary definitions in order to see what something means for real. To that end, we feature below a series of questions about Frist that we have all asked ourselves from time to time, accompanied by – at long last – their definitive answers.

How did Frist get its name?

Only time will tell.

What’s the best place in Frist to get a fruit smoothie?

Little known secret: if you think that Frist’s best fruit smoothies are to be had at Café Vivian or the OIT Solutions Center, you are sadly mistaken. Why do you even think that? Frist’s best fruit smoothies are concocted in the Beverage Laboratory. That’s right: the Beverage Laboratory. Where else do they have beverages down to a science? Not the OIT Solutions Center.

What’s that shark doing there?

Which shark? Where?

You know, the shark suspended from the ceiling in the southwest corner of Frist.

Oh, that shark. October 23, 1876 was a dark and stormy night. Cap’n William “Dollar Bill” Frist ’51 (the great-great-grandfather of Sen. Bill Frist) stood aboard the poop deck of the Black Sabre, his pirate ship, discussing a confidential matter with the petulant blue macaw perched on his shoulder. Dollar Bill knew that out in the roiling deep there lived the creature that years before had eaten all of his treasure – doubloons, pieces o’ eight, shiny gemstones, and precious Oriental spices – when he was looking the other way. Blast! All of it gone forever.

Or so he thought. Suddenly, out of the inky, inscrutable sea leapt a giant white shark, its mouth agape and filled with teeth. Suddenly, Dollar Bill knew that it was this white monster that had consumed his booty all that time ago. Suddenly, he killed it with all of his might. As the shark was dying, it said, “Call me Ishmael.” Dollar Bill wore the dead Ishmael around his neck for the remainder of the voyage, and later he donated the shark to his alma mater. Princeton recovered the riches from Ishmael’s stomach and used them to pay for the Frist Campus Center. Ishmael now hangs far above the Food Gallery as a reminder that the human spirit can triumph over sharks.

Wait a second. Who are all these Frist people? Don’t they have something to do with the name of the Frist Campus Center?

Yes, they do. As you can see, time has told.

I can’t help but wonder: am I the only one around here who’s not totally psyched about the Digital Display Wall?

Actually, you’re one of two. The other one is Mark Spatt ’06, whose father’s “Digital Display Door” was rejected in favor of the more ambitious “Wall” concept. Everyone other than you and Mark Spatt ’06, however, knows that the grand scale of the Frist Digital Display Wall “permits the display of detailed maps and true size reproductions of artifacts and phenomena such as the full human figure,”(2) or the lips of a giant. Friends, the future is now – if only we let the Frist Digital Display Wall show us things that are somewhat large.

Are those pool tables or billiards tables in the Mazo Family Game Room? They look like pool tables, but the sign says “Billiards.”

They are neither. They are tables on which to play the challenging Mazo Family Game.

Why is the man in the package room so mad at me? What have I ever done to deserve this?

Stop playing dumb. You know what you did.

Honestly, I don’t. Every time I come to pick up a package, he stares at his computer screen, ignoring me until I say, “Excuse me, sir, but I think you have a package for mailbox 1577.” Then he turns and glares at me, his eyes full of scorn and rage. “Did you get an email?” he barks. “Yes,” I say; he returns to staring at his computer screen. After a minute or two of staring, the package man grudgingly stands up and stomps over to the window. “What number?” he spits disdainfully, not bothering to look my way. “1577,” I repeat. “I am so sorry, sir,” I add. “For everything.” “Eat shit, buttfucker,” he snarls. Then he gives me the finger.

What do you expect, man? You fuck butts.

Oh, right.

Some people…

Who’s this Vivian character anyway?

Dr. Vivian Shapiro was the wife of Harold T. Shapiro, the 41th Comptroller of this university. Vivian passed away of lupus in 1999, when construction on the campus center was mired in its anal stage. The Café was hastily dedicated in her memory. Some say the ghost of Vivian Shapiro still roams the halls of Frist, stealing pies from windowsills and wearing a white sheet over its head. Actually, only Harold T. Shapiro says that, pathetic old coot.

Which Fest is cooler: FristFest or FluFest?

This is a tough question to answer; both Fests are very cool.

FluFest is cool mostly because it is but one small part of an elaborate, ages-old Princeton tradition called Cirque de Santé. Three cheers for les medicins de McCosh Centre de Santé, who organize this “Circus of Health” by inviting favorites such as the death-defying “Tightrope Walker of AIDS-Awareness” and Mister Safe-Sex Clown, among others, to roam Frist for two days each November. This year, as the sky darkened over the midway, the elephants trumpeted in terror, and the phantasmagoric calliope music grew louder and wilder, a deformed ringmaster/nurse in top hat, tails, and stethoscope roared to the crowd, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages, step right up for the Greatest Flu Shot on Earth” before cackling maniacally. Thunder cracked over the big top. A single orphan shed a single tear.

On the other hand, this year’s FristFest (held today and tomorrow) features a diverse array of cool things, including the poignant indie folk of Pamela Means, the sultry neo-soul of Chinua Hawk, the off-da-hook hip-hop of Little Egypt, and, of course, Punchy the Robot. So if we’re talking coolness, it’s pretty much a draw.

I don’t like sports.

I bet you don’t.

At all. Am I allowed to watch something other than ESPN on the Frist TV – say, the Style Channel?


What about E! Entertainment Television?


Damn it. Who is that Dining Services worker who says my name in a scary lisp each time he swipes my prox? Like, (lisps) “Enjoy your macaroni and cheese… Andrew” (smiles).

Oh, you mean Michael?

Sure, whatever. What’s the matter with that guy?

He represents the child in all of us.

One last question: could the Frist Campus Center ever like me as more than friends?

No. First of all, you are too short for Frist. It would never work. Also, Frist thinks you look like a beaver.

Quoted from HYPERLINK “http://www.princeton.edu/frist/mission.shtml” http://www.princeton.edu/frist/mission.shtml

Or so says HYPERLINK “http://www.princeton.edu/%7Eetc/dwall/” http://www.princeton.edu/%7Eetc/dwall/