I had what Oprah calls a “full circle” moment the other day. Don’t start clapping yet – it sounds more grandiose than it really was. I didn’t suddenly realize how much my parents had sacrificed for me. I didn’t have an epiphany that the love I give is so much better than love I get. Rather, I got hit up for money from my alma mater.

I knew it was coming… Sans guilt I freely admit that I screen my calls. That said, this unknown number with a familiar area code had called me two nights in a row but failed to leave a message. Naturally, I made a friend call the number to see who it was. Bingo. As soon as I heard the voice on the other end announce my former stomping grounds, I knew impending doom was on the horizon. Sure enough, that same night my phone promptly rang with attempt number three to divorce me from my hard earned Benjamins.

On the other end of the line was the young, awkward voice of what was obviously a freshman asking, “Hi, is this Anna?”



“Hi, how are you tonight? Do you have a moment for a few questions?”

The kid didn’t even introduce himself or from where he was calling. Rookie. Must have been his first night on the job. You see – in another life, in another world – I too was a much-loved solicitor of donations. I would call my school’s alums and politely ask them to fork over at least $25 dollars or more, in addition to the thousands they already paid in tuition, to make some arbitrary goal for some meaningless pledge drive. The cruel irony is that I never ended up graduating from said school. What a colossal faux pas on my part, huh? In more ways than one, my friend, in more ways than one…

And apparently times have changed. Back in my day, we got right to the point. No dilly-dallying here. “Hi, I’m Anna calling from ____, and I was wondering if you would like to make a $25 pledge to the business school tonight?” However, this young lad – we’ll call him Seymour – he started getting all up in my grill about every little detail of my life. Where do I work? What is my position? How do I feel my degree helped me in landing said job? (A very clever tactic indeed to infer that my school was the reason I got the position. Well done, Seymour, well done.) Yet after a few minutes of this Spanish Inquisition, I began to get a wee bit nervous. Seymour was asking me so many questions. What if this really wasn’t my alma mater but instead some sick stalker to whom I had just revealed my daily schedule and location? Eh, whatever… I continued to humor Seymour for a while longer. He was so damn awkward and goofy-sounding that I figured it would be fun to have a stalker like him anyway.

Finally, he got to the point of this charade: “Well, the other reason I’m calling tonight is because we have this alumni fund we’re trying to raise money for…” Of course you do, sweetheart. I knew that a half-hour ago when I heard your prepubescent voice crack a “hello” over the phone.

One vital point that I have hitherto left out is that the degree for which I slaved (kinda) and spent thousands of dollars (really) is essentially worthless. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a real degree from a real university and all that. Just this summer, however, some fellow graduates kindly informed me that our beloved alma mater was no longer accepting students for our program. So I’m being asked to give money to a school that doesn’t care enough anymore to keep our super-cool Film Studies course going? Wow. Harsh.

Really, though, you have to laugh. I did anyway when he asked for the money. I gently let Seymour down. He understood, but his voice dripped with disappointment. He really thought he had worked his charm on me. I then gave him a quick pep talk: “You’re doing great! Keep up the good work!” Obviously not true, but that’s just what one says when one really wants to get the hell off the phone already. I hung up as Seymour was still saying goodbye.

So the lesson I learned from my “full circle” moment? Those phone calls are really annoying. (I never claimed it was an “Aha!” moment – totally different kind of moment, people.)

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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4 Responses to “You’re Sweet, But No…”

Love it! Possibly my favorite entry 🙂

Heather Maulucci
November 3rd, 2009

Ha! Sounds logical to me. Why would you give money to an institution that no longer values your degree? You were a lot nicer than I would have been.

Kylah Magee
November 6th, 2009

Too funny and so well written! I love it!

November 10th, 2009

I had some difficulty viewing the website in Safari on Linux, but apart from that loved the site.

September 5th, 2010