Dog the Bounty Hunter ain’t got nothin’ on college alumni directors. Once those dudes get you in their sights, D.B. Cooper would come out of hiding to stop the harassment.
I’m a graduate of Troy State University, only I’ve been gone so long they’ve changed the name of the school to plain ol’ Troy University.
I had some great times at Troy, made some friends — some of whom I still keep in contact with (thank you, Facebook) — learned a lot about keg stands, tailgating, reasons for not dating vegetarians, that Cap‘n Crunch is just fine with water, Hamburger Helper doesn’t really need meat and just enough from all those classes to earn a journalism degree.
And I haven’t been back since. Technically, I was an alumnus of Troy State University, but I never thought of myself as one. Alumni are dudes who can’t let go of their fraternity days and who head back every homecoming to scope out chicks and reminisce about the good old days.
College is a young man’s game, and I like to be in bed by 9 p.m. I was always too worried about being the creepy old dude at the end of the bar. Besides, at 38 years old, to quote Hank Williams Jr., “the hangovers hurt more than they used to.”
Still, the text message from Mom forced me into action: “Brett, please return the call from these freaks. They’ve threatened to sit on my lawn singing Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ songs, dressed only in Troy State mortarboards, and pelt passing cars with cans of Milwaukee’s Best.”
So I called. From the excitement in her voice, you’d think the woman had gotten a call from the Great Beyond. “We’ve been trying to get a hold of you for a long time, Mr. Buckner.”
But she wasn’t looking to reminisce. She wanted money. Rather, she wanted me to purchase a 500-page Troy University alumni directory — only this one was a “Collector’s Edition” (who collects these things?) — which I imagine cost the equivalent of a semester’s worth of tuition (in 1997 dollars).
I can’t say for certain because I hung up on the woman.
But not before giving up the pertinent information that would allow me to be alphabetized alongside thousands of strangers. After hanging up, I couldn’t help reflect, thinking of my 22-year-old self (what a tool) and the golden opportunity that I’d just squandered to totally rewrite my life’s history.
In other words, I could’ve lied.
Nobody’s life turns out the way they thought it would. Granted, I’m luckier than most. But this bloodhound — I mean, alumni person — wouldn’t know fact from fiction.
Name: I’ve had it legally changed to my wrestling name — Shasta McNasty.
Marital status: (This would be the only thing I wouldn’t change, but I might spice it up a tad) Married — she’s a nurse educator by day/superhero by night.
Children’s names: Manson and Marilyn.
Occupation: Ninja warrior.
Hmmm. Maybe I learned something in all those journalism classes after all. Creativity is priceless.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org