Here's Johnny - 'There's no need to worry .'
A few days ago, I received the third call in a week from someone at the Hatchling's college. I let it go to voicemail, just as I had the first two. The first half of the first voicemail I listened to had scared the bejeebers out of me, if only for a few seconds. The second call just irked me. The third call really irked me. However, this time I did not delete it until after I put my dumb phone in speaker mode and typed up the caller's words. "Good evening. This message is for John McGary. My name is Nat. I'm calling from Marymount Manhattan College. There's no need to worry. We were only calling to check in and see how Anna is enjoying her time here at the college, and to inform you about our Fall 2016 annual fund campaign. If you would like to make a contribution in support of the college, please visit (school's website, which I won't list here, because I'm really really irked). Thank you for being a part of the Marymount Manhattan College community and have a great night." The first two robo-calls came from a young lady whose name I can't recall. She sounded friendly enough, but the first time she said, "There's no need to worry," I immediately did just that. Marymount Manhattan is in New York City, which is a bit more dangerous than Millville or Nonesuch or Midway or Versailles or even Lexington. By the time I received the third call, I was really really really irked for at least five reasons: First, the person who wrote this script should know that parents will worry when they get a call from a stranger at their daughter's college. Second, saying "We were only calling to check in and see how Anna is enjoying her time here ." is a, ehm, whopper. If they want to know how Anna is doing, they can ask her. (She's doing fine, by the way - thanks for asking.) Third, this was plainly and simply a fundraising call, not an inquiry into The Hatchling's welfare at their expensive private arts college. Fourth, it's her parents' welfare they should be worried about, because paying tuition leaves us both at or below the welfare level. Fifth, I called 'em back. I told a young lady in Institutional Advancement (aka Fundraising) that I found the calls alarming, deceptive, all-too-frequent, and besides - paying tuition was support enough for her institution. She said she'd take me off their call list. I told her I might still write a column about it. So there. To any reader of The Sun considering sending a hatchling off to Marymount Manhattan College: Don't say I didn't warn you. Letters, I get letters . Problem is, I don't get many letters or emails or phone calls (fundraising pitches from The Hatchling's college notwithstanding). This lack of stimulation makes for a very bored and lonely Johnny, who begins to wonder if anyone reads his stuff. Just when I'd begun to consider lifting my fingers from the keyboard forever, I received a well-written if somewhat anti-Here's Johnny letter last week. Unfortunately, "Biased in Versailles" didn't sign her name (though the cursive script betrays her gender) or give me a sure or easy way to contact her. Her nickname was a reference to some of my words about alleged lefty media bias - she thinks it's a huge problem and I don't. If you're still reading, Biased, please let me know how I can get back to you. Granted, you did leave a last name and post office box number on the upper left hand of the envelope, both of which may be real, but I'm all out of stamps. See, I've got a daughter attending an expensive private school in the Big Apple. I'd very much like to respond to your points, some of which I agree with and the rest we can agree to disagree on in an agreeable fashion. Also, you have good penmanship, and I'm lonely. You can reach me the same way you did the first time, or save yourself a stamp and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 873-4131, ext. 13. That goes for the rest of you Dear Readers. Please write or call or email. I used to be in television, and begin to wither away when attention isn't paid, to paraphrase one Mrs. Loman. Meantime, thank you for writing, Biased. You really do have lovely handwriting.