University of Minnesota Alumni Association – To Whom It May Concern:
First of all, thank you so much for keeping in touch with me as the years have passed since my successful completion of your undergraduate program. It means a lot to know that the institution to which I committed so much of my youth and limited resources remembers my name, my record as a student and my mom’s permanent mailing address.
Speaking of my mom’s mailing address, I would like to humbly request that you desist sending postal mail to her home. It is not only confusing and likely an unnecessarily bittersweet reminder of her pre-empty-nest days, but it is, so far as I can tell, unsolicited panhandling.
This is not to say that I would not like to maintain any correspondence with your fine educational institution – perish the thought! By all means, if you wish to inform me of any free T-shirt giveaways, meat raffles, or Bon Jovi tickets, please do not hesitate to call me directly or drop by my mom’s house any time, day or night.
However, if you are hailing me to request further funds – “gifts” as I believe you’ve called them in your past mailings – please do not waste the paper, ink, or man-power. Not only do I lack any sort of discretionary income to ”gift” your upstanding establishment of higher learning, I believe your requests for donation are in error.
Allow me to explain:
When I first arrived at your esteemed destination of cerebral development, I was told I must first make a substantial donation in order to enroll, “tuition” you called it. I agreed, handed in a check for the amount specified and proceeded to redeem your offer of education through your most venerable bastion of enlightenment.
My understanding throughout this arrangement was that my contributions to your meritorious haven of insight were an exchange for admittance, attendance and overwhelming workload. The brutally humbling critiques of my coursework, I presume, were free of charge.
And, despite the outrageous amounts you requested each and every term, the most basic materials needed to attend your highly distinguished oasis of understanding were wholly NOT covered in the required pre-term fees. Every pen, sheet of paper and textbook were an additional – and if I may say, crushing – expense. I was also vexed to learn that some of the aforementioned (obscenely priced) textbooks were authored by the very professors I was paying to educate me. That’s tantamount to buying an expensive dinner at a fancy restaurant, as well as the furniture – which happen to be whittled by the chef in his spare time. (On the bright side, you can always sell back the furniture afterward for a whopping 5% of what you originally paid).
But I digress. This was your racket and your rules, and I agreed to abide – at least so long as I attended. Now, however, your continued Oliver Twistian pleas for more of my money – years since my hard-won graduation – feel like dirty pool. I purchased dinner, I bought the table and chairs, and now the wait staff are calling me every few months requesting continued contributions. This makes no sense, I’m out. All done. No más. Jumanji! I got the degree – singular. You got the dollars – plural, many times over. Our business transaction is completed and you must now focus your profit motive elsewhere – to other younger, hungrier, less penny wise minds than my own.
In summary, leave my mom alone. Forever.
Adam J. Ruggiero, B.A. Journalism