I am old and I know things and let me tell you all the things. Also? Please think I’m cool.

It’s graduation time and that means a lot of stuff.

Well-intentioned but obviously clueless relatives like me write things in graduation cards like, “It’s been fun watching your track and cross country exploits from afar. We’re so proud of you.” When really, what I want to write is, “I know you hardly know who I am and that’s OK. I’m your dad’s cousin and you peed on me once when you were a baby. I think you’re great. Here, have $50. Also? I get it. All graduation cards are lame. But I’m sooo cooooool, I swear!”

Well-intentioned but obviously old and creepy former babysitters like me do a little stalking. I found out that the two darling little girls that I took care of for years and whom I loved very much are both … doctors. Like, in white coats and starting their residencies and able to deal with bodily functions. I reached out via Facebook in, again, a hopefully not lame-o manner. I got friendly responses, but also, they totally didn’t remember me. Doctors are smart. Maybe they are just instinctively distancing themselves from someone who is clearly way old and out of touch. See also: I write lame graduation cards.

Well-intentioned but obviously Not Cool friends of your mom like me try to help new college grads get jobs and write overbearing emails with gems like, “Here, let me tell you everything about my city and you can live here, too! And there’s an IKEA, so it will be easy to set up a new apartment and here, you can just have our dining room chairs and your mom is so great and I think this would be a great job for you and I totally get it because I’m young and hip like you.”

Except I’m not.

I’m old.

Twenty years ago, I graduated from the University of Missouri. On Friday, I turned 22. On Saturday, I graduated. On Sunday, I drove to Indiana. On Monday, I interviewed at Notre Dame for a graduate assistantship in marketing for the athletic department.

I met with at least five different people, including a lovely woman who only wanted to talk about my upcoming trip to the UK. Then I visited with a funny and frank man who wanted to make sure I’d be OK with being asked to do stuff like attend mass in a hotel room because a priest traveled with the teams all the time.

My main contact was a guy who was a little frazzled, which was accentuated by the fact that his linen pants were torn and held together at the hip with a safety pin (Really? Your football program brings in how much money? Even newly 22-year-old me was slightly offended.). He promised to be in touch within a week. The entire interview went well. I felt really positive about it, even though a security guard wouldn’t let me drive through campus because I didn’t have the right sticker. Whatever. It was cool.

Friends, I am still up for that job. Despite numerous follow-ups on my part (via phone, because not everyone had e-mail and so I had to call and leave actual voice messages and risk talking to a real human), I never heard from any of those people ever again. I can only assume that the job is still open and I’m still a viable candidate. I could be called upon to move to South Bend at any moment! They might ask me to get a tattoo of Touchdown Jesus to show my dedication to the job and the school – who knows?

Maybe I’m living a fantasy. Or maybe people should just send the damned “Thanks but no thanks” letter so some of us don’t put our lives on hold for 20 years.

Here’s the thing. You write the note – be it for graduation or to say thanks or to offer a helping hand – for one reason and one reason alone. You might be thinking, “Of course! Do unto others!” And that sounds nice and probably should be the right answer, but no. No, the correct answer is that you write the note so that you can keep buying pretty stationery. Also, so you can feel morally superior. But mostly so you can buy more stationery.

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  • Reply Allison Weaver May 26, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    You are very, very, very cool.
    Love, the also-cool mom who remains convinced her daughter wants the two of us to find her an apartment, decorate it, and arrange dates.

  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) May 28, 2017 at 8:05 am

    I think you're cool. I would love it if my graduate received a note like the one you wanted to write (but didn't — although you totally should write it). Heck, I would have liked receiving it myself, and not just for the money. I'd like to think I'm cool, but then I look in the mirror and a 51-year-old gray-haired grandmother looks back at me.

  • Reply Kari Wagner May 30, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    If you promise to start writing honest lines in graduation cards, so do I. And I have LOTS of graduations coming up next year.
    Also, I am five years closer to death than you.
    You're welcome.

  • Reply Becky May 30, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Cool stationary collections need no excuses. It's just thoughtful to correspond the old fashioned way.

    I refuse to think I'm anything but young and hip, but the sobering fact is, my teenager tells me the woman in the new 'I've fallen and can't get up' commercial looks younger than me. Pretty sure this is why some species eat their young.

  • Reply Andrea May 31, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    You are going to kick ass at the new job, for sure, any day now! Those doctors brains must have had a reset button to make room for medical facts, thereby deleting your file.

  • Reply Grant Firl June 6, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Brilliant writing on that piece, Becky.

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