I just got a call from a girl attending my alma mater. She's a senior working the calling center, a storefront in a strip mall not far from the university where ranks of students toil for minimum wage making calls to alumni asking them to verify their contact information and to donate money to the school. This was actually the second call I'd received in as many weeks, but the first one came when I was attending South by Southwest, and when that girl asked if I had time to talk, I had replied, "I gotta be honest, I'm at Ironworks Barbecue in downtown Austin at South by Southwest and I've been drinking, so you should probably call back." I hoped the wouldn't, but I knew they would.She asked me to verify my address, which I did, then she congratulated me on my upcoming reunion, which is a weird thing to be congratulated about; basically she's just telling me I did a good job at not dying in the past five years, which I guess is good. She asked me if I planned on attending Homecoming weekend in the fall, and I said I did. She asked what Homecoming activity I'm most looking forward to, and I said, "Seeing my friends and getting some drinks." She laughed a little, but stayed restrained, probably because we both know these calls are recorded. Then she said she wanted to talk about another ACU tradition, and I finished her sentence for her when I said, "Donating!" She reminded me that every gift counts, no matter the size, and my heart went out to her. I could see the script on her desk; I could practically hear the swish of her ponytail. I feel bad for the kids working these terrible jobs, and a lot of my friends at school did their time in the trenches at the calling center. She said something about class gifts that are going to be presented to university president Dr. Royce Money, and I told her that as much as I'd love to give Royce something on top of the checks he already gets every month, I would have to pass. I'm kind of stunned the calling center is hunting for alumni cash with the economy about to revert into a wasteland governed by a bloodthirsty need for fuel and a willingness to kill, but the Wildcats are nothing if not persistent. She knew she wasn't getting anywhere, but she was nice enough not to seem to mind. She even wished me a good time having a few drinks with my friends, which I appreciated. That's all you can take from these calls.