Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Give Until It Hurts, Old Man

Something terrible happened this week.

Of course, terrible things are happening all over the world all the time, especially with this administration in office (Ha! Zing! Pow! Please, tip your server).

No, something terrible. Truly awful. Worse than an Eagles Rock Block. Worse than having the Growing Pains theme song stuck in your head. Marginally worse than going to the store at seven in the morning because you're out of milk for your coffee and buying buttermilk by accident. Or acidophilus, which is frankly a silly word which I promise never again to use in this weblog (or "webl" as the cool kids call it).

What happened was that my university alumni club (UC Santa Cruz, home of the Fighting Banana Slugs, patchouli, and mildew) called me for some dough. That's fine. I can understand how they need the money, what with Arnold Very-Big-Liar as our governor here in California. I have given them donations before, but this time, I opted out by telling the nice young lady on the phone that I would have to wait until my tax return.

This is technically not true. It's just something that came out instead of "I just don't feel like it right now." As a result, they'll call me back in a few months, and I'll have to come up with another excuse.

Then, she sprung it on me: "You know, this would be a great time to get involved with the school again*. Your ten year reunion is coming up."

I had a soap opera moment. I held the receiver away from my ear and looked at the earpiece, as if removing the source of the grim news could somehow pull the memory of the words from my head.

Ten. Year. Reunion.

And not a ten year high school reunion! A ten year college reunion! Jesus Christ. I went to work this morning feeling spry and youthful, and with only a few words, this person had turned me into freaking Methuselah. Should I be thinking of retirement? Moving to Florida? Shaking my cane at gangs of young toughs? Or even, since this how I originally misspelled the last sentence, shaking my can at gangs of young toughs?

How can this be? Have ten years flown by so fast?

OK. I'm done whining about that.

But on the subject of giving, I gave to KCRW for the first time yesterday. I didn't give enough to get any of the "free" gifts that come along with pledging, but they did tell me that I had earned the right to be smug about listening to NPR, so I'll be looking down my nose at people just that much more this year, I can tell you.

Also, I gave them money to help defer the cost of their new Super Duper Studios, so they entered me in a drawing to win a Jaguar. I don't usually enter contests of any sort, but immediately my brain took the thought of me winning this car as a given. "A Jaguar!" I scoffed. "Who the hell would want a Jaguar? They're owned by Ford now, for one thing, and they're starting to resemble some unholy union of a Jaguar and a Taurus. So what am I going to do with my Jaguar? I'll sell it. And I'll buy something cool. Like that Lexus Sport Wagon...Maybe a Volvo."

And then it rang true. I'm thinking of selling my Jag and buying a Volvo.

I'm lucky it's not my twenty-fifth reunion. It's all over. I'll just be over here, in the corner, drinking my acidophilus.

*I was not very involved in the college experience. I transferred in from a community college, lived off campus and graduated after two years, with a BA in Modern Literature, which is great if you're into Henry Miller and semiotics, but not that great if you're into being employed or knowing anything even tangentially useful. My final exam was of the oral variety. I talked about Don Delillo and Dostoyevsky and Faulkner in a satisfactorily vague way until they agreed to give me my degree.


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