I usually screen all of my calls, no matter what, but for some reason I picked up the phone around 8:20 last night. It was one of the kids OU hires to call alumni and ask for donations. I'm usually a pretty soft touch (for a couple bucks anyways, not major coin), but the script calls for the current students to chat the alumni up a bit to soften them up before reaching for the wallet.
So, the girl who called* asked me if I've been able to visit campus lately. I mentioned that I was down there last May for an alumni conference, so we talked about the new student center and how great it is. (Neither of us mentioned the fact that it had to be closed for a few hours the other week because someone was on a ledge, threatening to jump. He didn't, and he threatened to jump off the city parking deck a few days later. I'm sure further bulletins will appear in The Post as events warrant.)
We also talked a little bit about OU's party school reputation, the current administration's crackdown on underage drinking, the fact that she's turning 21 in a few weeks, and that there were a ton more bars in Athens thirty years ago than there are now. (Not like either of us were there, or, in her case, alive, thirty years ago, but that's what we hear.)
When we finally got down to brass tacks, I decided to put my donation on ye olde credit card. I was too lazy to get off the couch and get my wallet out, though, so I had to meditate for a minute on what my card number is. I explained that I shop online so much that I'm used to tapping the number out on the keypad. It's more muscle memory than anything by now, and I can't verbalize the numbers quite as quickly. She laughed, and said that she told her parents that she needed a credit card so she could shop online, since Athens still doesn't have a mall.
This prompted an indignant and somewhat lengthy outburst on my part, since I felt compelled to explain the sorry state of affairs in re: shopping when I was an undergrad and how much better things are now. We used to have to go to the mall in Lancaster anytime we wanted a taste of civilization, and that wasn't even a good flavor. She said that she and a friend just went up there over the weekend, and she greatly enjoyed being in a mall again.
I mentioned Parkersburg as another popular destination back in the day, since that had the added benefit of Everclear. She informed me that you can't buy Everclear in West Virginia now — you have to go to North Carolina, apparently. I said that I'm not really in the market for Everclear anymore, having learned my lesson, but thanks for the tip.
I then proceeded to share a somewhat abbreviated version of one of my top five OU drinking stories: The time I did a double shot of Everclear on a bet. I won some money, but I paid for it in other ways. For one thing, I was still drunk the next afternoon. I was in a magazine feature writing class that quarter, and we were supposed to make enough copies of our piece for everyone in the class. I was standing in line for the photocopier in the J-school library when one of my classmates jostled me. I stumbled a bit but managed not to fall down, and said: "Hey! Don't fuck with me! I'm still drunk!" Them: "Uh, what? Oooooh-kay. . ." [backing away slowly]
But that doesn't compare to what happened in the interim. If my first mistake was doing the shot, my second was drinking some milk about ten minutes later, once I had wobbled all the way down the hall to my room. I think I had the (obviously misguided) impression that it might settle my stomach. Uhm, no. Also, I forgot that I had been eating Pez earlier, so when the inevitable happened, I distinctly remember staring at this pink and yellow mess in the sink and wondering what in the heck it was. So, I'll share with you what I told the girl on the phone: Don't mix Pez and milk with Everclear. It's a recipe for disaster!
She stopped laughing long enough to promise me that she would keep my warning in mind. At this point, I felt that I had totally overshared and dragged the phone call on for far too long. I apologized for monopolizing her time by asking if she had to stay at the call center until a certain time or until she had made a certain number of calls. She said she had to stay there another twenty minutes, but made me feel better by saying that mine was definitely one of the best OU drinking stories she'd ever heard while doing these alumni calls. So, you know, at least I have that going for me.
* I know she told me her name, but at the time I didn't know this was going to be blog fodder, so I didn't pay much attention. Sorry!