Yesterday I received a message on Facebook from someone working at my undergrad university whose job it is to find alumni that have fallen off the university's potential donors list. Egads (for those young folk out there, it sort of means "yikes" although it is actually a slang form of OMG)!!!!!!!! Can you imagine a university going to such lengths to find its alumni?
Of course you can.
Debbie, my new friend from McMaster University's Data Entry Department, sent a lovely inquiry letter asking if I was me and apologizing if I was, in fact, someone else. She wasn't sure I was me because one of my Facebook pages only lists me by my married name and not the maiden name that she probably has on her list.
That's one of the big problems with having an unusual first name. Even if someone doesn't have all your data, partial data will probably do the trick. And together with a quick Facebook search of graduates from McMaster .... voila, there you go. Yipee doodle, I was found.
Frankly, I have been happily lost for years. I wasn't hiding but I also made no effort to be found. They did catch wind of me about 12 years ago when I realized that I had lost my undergraduate diploma and I called them and asked for a new copy. Once they had an address to which they could send the diploma, they felt free to start sending me all sorts of crazy junk mail. However, the joke was on them -- the address I gave them was my parents'. The point being that if I really wanted to be found, then I would have given them my correct address at that time.
I never thought about them again after I moved to Israel. As wonderful as those university years were -- and they were all that and more -- it was part of my past.
Of course, that was before Facebook.
Thanks to Facebook and my need to put down just enough information to make me reasonably "findable" (I know that's not a word, but remember, my blog, my vocabulary) to old friends, some unwanted people found me as well.
I just realized that I have digressed so far from my point that I will have to take a bus to get back to it.
Okay, so I wrote back to Data Entry Debbie and she sent me a link so that I could become a member of the McMaster Alumni website. I should have just ignored her message, but my need to click a link wherever I find one was too strong to ignore. Next thing I knew I was at the "register to login" page and since it also had a link .... I started clicking again. I figured that I would just register. No one was actually going to come after me for money ... I live to far away. I'm inaccessible.
And then came the ironic moment. In fact, the MUA website was inaccessible because one of the first pieces of information they wanted was my student card number.
First I checked to see if that was an optional question but as it turned out, it was one of the questions with the little red asterik next to it, which means that it was compulsory. I just looked at it, and looked at it, and looked again.
As I see it, it was the hand of G-d slapping me back to reality. I think what He was saying was that He also doesn't want me to give money to McMaster; He would prefer that I do all my charitable giving in Israel.
My biggest problem is that I can't help but look a gift horse in the mouth. After a message straight from G-d you would think I had the sense to just move on to another web page, but noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, I have to have the last word (G-d also gave man free choice, and in my case, I don't always use it wisely). I wrote back to Data Entry Debbie and asked her who the heck remembered their student card number 28 years after graduation?
Now, I am just waiting for her response. If she responds that people actually do remember theirs, I will eat my hat. And then I will sit around and wait for my graduate school university to find me as well.