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ISSUE 117 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/19/2004

Everyone's a critic... of Stav Hall

By Diana Frantz
Copy Editor

Friday, March 19, 2004

The Stav Hall chefs might not be able to make a pot roast just like your mama makes, but they sure can cook. They can cook well enough to nourish the over 2,700 students who attend this institution. And man, does their food inspire. Bet your mama's meatloaf couldn't beget an entirely new genre of literature.

That's right, believe it or not, a new form of literature has been born on the top floor of Buntrock Commons. It is known as "the comment card."

The comment card may seem typical and useless. You've seen them at restaurants and hotels. Most often, you ignore them or toss them directly into the trash. As if the CEO of Pizza Hut is ever going to care that you suspect your local franchise of having an agreement with the local dog pound to supply meat for the Italian sausage.

Well, Stav Hall does care. You can put a face on the people who are going to read your comment card. The woman who caught you sneaking into the cafeteria the day you left your student identification card back in your residence hall will care that you can't stand the new kind of granola. Maybe not.

At any rate, students fill out the Stav Hall comment cards on a regular basis, so they must believe someone is listening.

Usually, the cards read: "Thanks for the waffles," or "Please get soft serve ice cream." Sometimes writers ask for "More tater tots in the tater tot casserole please." These are not examples of comment card literature. Comment card literature is impromptu, poetic and creative.

Here are some real life examples of comment card literature produced by the anonymous talents otherwise known as St. Olaf students:

The Secret "Some people hate it. That first refreshing drink of icy pop Hits their lips and they're onto you. Half-water -- that's the secret to the Ever-flowing soda fountains. I, on the other hand, can't get enough of it."

An economics lesson

"In econ, Professor Chutik-amoltham told us about the Bumblebee Tuna Company, with the president from Thailand, who shot himself because he didn't understand the concept of price elasticity, and his company failed and died like the tuna he produced. The president had three kids and a pregnant wife, my professor said, so this is why you must understand elasticity. I love tuna. It is the only meal I will eat. But tuna is AWOL in the caf. Are St. Olaf students, too, being punished for Bumblebee's mistakes? Because we do not understand tuna's role in the economy? Where has all the tuna gone?"

They are watching

"My favorite caf workers are 'the watchers.' These workers stand in the flow of traffic and watch me struggle to find a cup or a fork. It's comforting to know that although I may be frustrated with my caf experience, at least 'the watcher' knows it."

Hunting for Blue Bunny

"Blue Bunny. Why. Blue Bunny. The nominal absence of the rocky-road, tin-roof-sundae, chocolate, pistachio cow aggravates Harvey and me. Particularly Harvey. Commercial blue clashes with his classic pink and thus complicates the black-and-white realm of his existence."

A romance

"In this line we stand. I am waiting for you. Your radiance a thing I long for. I am yours as you scoop my rice. No action could be sexier as you hand me my bowl. Thank you I say, but what I mean is Take Me."

A lament

"I often come to the caf with a bad attitude. I know that there are going to be too many people wandering around without a clue -- people who can't seem to walk and think at the same time. I know this isn't your fault, and I know you can't ban stupid people from the cafeteria; but I just wanted to let you know that if I seem cross, please don't take it personally. I'm not really mad at you. You're just a convenient scapegoat."

St. Olaf is full of literary talent and wit. Inspiration comes in many forms, and although the cafeteria may seem an unlikely place to stir the senses into a whirlpool of genius, the verdict is in: "the comment card" is without a doubt the greatest literary movement to come out of St. Olaf. Ø.E. Rolvaag would be proud.

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