Letters to Holly

Friday, October 9

Dropping Cah-Knowledge Like a Beastie Boy

I arrived at the college alumni house at six in time to see the students cart in the Japanese take-out. The tallest figure was the boss, himself a recent graduate, and the guy I talked to through a few emails. The students (and I am making such an effort to not type "kids") circled inside the Alumni House living room and gobbled the dinner. There was no formal introduction, and they chatted about classes and their varying sports clubs and dorm life.

With the food mostly gone and the time to get to work approaching, the boss huddled them up. These were the kids (there it is) who were hired to call alumni for donations, and this was why I was here. I did this as a student, and we were the first class to be paid. We were told at the time that the paycheck was a leash; if we slacked off, we could be fired, something that can't be done with volunteers. The boss used that tip to remind the students that earlier folks didn't get paid.

He had a poster list of tips for them to use in the sales pitch, including some material I didn't know. The college's decision to resurrect the football team was controversial, but it gave entree to the NCAA, and that allows the other teams to compete on that level. I wasn't aware, and I told them that bit of info in a cold call would have gotten my money. I suggested they incorporate homecoming conversation into the calls. Before they got to work, they asked questions about my student days. Were we required to attend chapel? Where were the parties held? What's changed the most? Then they headed to the phones.

Their boss and I talked up shared acquaintances and college activities. He gave me a tour of the house and showed me the call center. I handed him my check; it was twice what I had pledged, but the experience was worth it. And they fed me Japanese take-out. Win-win.

Your Sister's follow-up appointment is today, and my office is closing early for the holiday. I've offered to go with her, but she's dismissed it. She's not concerned. Outwardly, anyway.

Picture of the Day
One of the Mars rovers discovered a meteorite recently. Those rovers are working years and years past their expected work life.

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