Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Alumni This!

Every three months my college's alumni magazine arrives at my door to mock me.  Not physically, although I would better appreciate a sentient magazine-man that pops in every so often just to insult me.  Mentally, however, it serves as a torment that knows no equal.  Well, except for Cthulhu.  (NOTE: my top five mental anguish are as follows: 1.) Cthulhu, 2.) DePauw University alumni magazine, 3.) Spiders, 4.) Telemarketers, 5.) AT&T data limits) 

I suppose I should just take the paper instrument of horror and toss it into the trash can -- no responsible recycling for you -- and live my life.  But, I don't.  I sit down with a bottle of whiskey and a carton of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, draw the blinds, put on The Cure and read that damn thing cover to cover.  Then I go to therapy.

Let's dissect the horribleness that is an alumni magazine:

Cover/Table of Contents: A preview of crappiness.  I usually skip over these because *Spoiler alert!*
Mailbag: These letters reference stories from previous issues.  Since I've repressed previous magazine issues o from my consciousness, I usually don't understand them.
Campus today: These snippets are ok.  Hey, Jerry Springer visited campus.  Wow, a new dorm.  Glad to see the boll weevil infestation is taken care of.  Way to go college!
Cover story: A story of some alumni that usually is richer, happier, and more philanthropic than I am.  Joe Awesome, '05, just created a cure for cancer. "It was more of an accident, really," said Awesome via his holophone.  "I was jet skiing on my private island with my model wife and two genius children, and it just came to me.  So when I went in for my organ donation, I explained my vision to the hospital, who gave me a $7,000,000,000,000 grant."  Damn, the whiskey is half-way gone.
Other Stories: More stories about people who have achieved more than I have.  Patricia O'Neil, '89, invented a computer battery that gets 2000 hours of use and is powered by the sun and broken dreams.  Franklin Person, '59, set up a scholarship for disenfranchised youth.  Chester A. Arthur, '48, made gains in the Republican Party and may make a play for President of these United States!  Maybe it's the ice cream talking, but these people are so special that they deserved a story.  Maybe most alumni are just normal Schmoes like me.  Thank god they don't have a catalog of snippets that outline all graduates' successes.
Catalog of Graduates' Successes: Oh, crap.  Take a shot.  Flip to my year.  Oh, crap.  Take bottle and leave table.
The love/hate relationship with the college alumni magazine is complicated.  I am genuinely happy for these Pillars of the Community, and I love reading about how my fellow classmates are fulfilling their dreams.  However, when I visualize my contribution to the grand Catalog of Graduate Successes, mine reads more like this:
Jack Grubb, '99, is a struggling writer who has had seven different jobs in the last 14 years -- 6 with companies that no longer exist.  He currently does "development" as an independent contractor and  has a blog that reaches at least 15 different people.  He's married to a wife he doesn't deserve (the Queen, '00), and is routinely trounced at Candyland by his two-year-old.
Actually, that's not bad, perhaps I'll send it in.  Right after I read the alumni magazine from my Masters program.


  1. THANK YOU! That is exactly how I feel each and every time I get that publication. The one that is most painful for me is Class Notes. The other stuff, I tell myself, is the older alumni. They've had more time to become these esteemed members of their communities. The Class Notes are my classmates - looking skinny, rich, successful and happy.

    Here I sit - about to lose ANOTHER job, been laid off from the past three already. No clear career direction, wishing I would even make one solid attempt at writing the book I was planning on writing in college. I'm thinking about submitting a class note full of complete lies. Put that writing degree to use!

    Misery loves company, so thanks! :)

  2. They should just make a magazine for all of us regular folks. It would have stories about how the world is a better place now that Joseph Schmoehowser reached level 147 on Candy Crush, or that Jane Q. Publico finally contributed $25 to her 401k.