the Gauntlet

Life of Pie

Delivering cream for charity

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Beginning with a pink wristband and ending with a pink Speedo, Pi Week may have been strange, but holy hell, it certainly was fun.

In accordance with their annual tradition, the engineering faculty purchased 500 pies, printed some "order" forms and prepared themselves for a week of light-hearted pranks and pied-faces this past week. This year, Pi Day--Mar. 14 or 3/14--fell on Fri., but the festivities began Wed. with a tandem ceremony to launch Pi Week and open the refurbished Engineering Student Society office. At the event, the ESS executive and select members of the Students' Union were pied. For the three ensuing days, students were able to go to a table in front of ESS and send a pie to their friends. All it required was five dollars and the location of the victim. Proceeds went to the United Way.

Earlier in the week, all pi squad members were required to attend a Pi 101 session, where they were instructed in the rules and art of pieing. The training was given by ESS vice-president events Anthony Ferrise and Pi Week director Alex Cook, who told squad members to make sure they asked if participants were allergic to the pies and inform them that they needn't participate if they didn't want to (something about assault charges).

The first hits started going out on Wed. afternoon, but when Fri. rolled around, there were still a lot of pies remaining. Concern over this resulted in a two-for-one sale taking place Fri. morning.

"It spiked interest in the cause and the charity and we saw Friday build up from about 12 o'clock on," said Ferrise.

Friday certainly did build up a considerable amount. At 9:50 a.m., there was a delivery to ENE 239 of 38 pies. Cook went into the room and read out the names of people that were to be pied--standard procedure at each hit--while the rest of the volunteers laid down a plastic sheet in the hallway. Most pieings are done on garbage bags in the front of the class, but this particular hit was too big to be accommodated in the room.

In the hallway, each target was given a garbage bag ripped at the bottom to put over their head. They were then asked to kneel down on the plastic sheet. The first to get pied was the unfortunate recipient of 12 different pies. After the first few, there was nowhere left to put them, so he was pied on top of pie. A crowd, arranged in a semi-circle, then watched the other targets who were similarly asked to kneel down and receive their allotted pies.

There were many more enormous hits throughout Fri. They didn't, however, match the hit of a few years ago, where nearly 140 pies were delivered to a single room. Unfortunately for the charity at the time, ESS was given a bill to clean the carpet afterwards. Learning from the past, this year's pi squad made special efforts to clean up after themselves. The sight was quite comical: engineers wearing white, partially see-through coveralls cleaning chunks of pie up from the floor as a professor patiently waited or, in some cases, began to lecture.

Those white, partially see-through suits were a serious cause of absurdity. Because they were reportedly quite hot, two members of the pi squad--including Cook--decided to wear only Speedos underneath them on the final day. Strangely, no one really noticed until it was pointed out, at which point it became quite obvious. One pi squad member, observing that Cook was only in a Speedo, then scrutinized the other ridiculous would-be swimmer, who was wearing a Pooh Bear hood.

"Do you also have no pants on?" he asked. "I feel lame, 'cause I have pants on."

Indeed, through the afternoon Cook was wearing only his Speedo, a cape, a helmet and shoes. Entering the back of a classroom for one large hit, Cook strode down the stairs calling out the names of the victims, accompanied the whole while by exclamations of disgust.

"Eww," observers said. "Eww, that's gross."

This year, Pi Week took in about $3,500. Unfortunately, the cost of the pies means that not all will go to the United Way.

"When they got them last year, they were a little over or under two dollars, which is about a dollar less than this year," said Ferrise.

Despite this, the total contribution will still be around $4,000. Ferrise explained that the decision to donate to the United Way was made in part because the university is currently running a campaign called "Get Caught Red Handed," whereby they will match donations from other groups to the charity.

For Ferrise, the week came off well. There were some difficulties, but the overwhelming fun associated with pieing students and professors alike is too much for fiddly little problems to detract from.

"A lot of the highlight for me was the bigger hits, especially one hit that we brought up 42 pies to one room," said Ferrise. "It's pretty hard to control, but it's a pretty big spectacle."