Here's a wierd one.
I really like having friends. I like people in general, aside from the random crazy or homicidal lunatic, and I especially like people who like me, and are enjoyable to hang with. I generally try and go to great lengths to KEEP friends - beyond the point of politness, as I will mention in another post.
Back when I was a slip of a lad in college I had some good pals, and we stayed pretty good buddies through my service time and after I got back to the Land of the Big PX. But things kinda fell apart after I moved out West, and I lost touch with the last of these old friends, oh, probably five years ago. I tried and tried, but letters and e-mails didn't help, and phone calls turned into long sessions of "when are you moving back Home?" during which he was impervious to my suggestion that "Home" was right here in Portland. (Oddly enough, though, I just signed onto "Facebook", which asked me to list my college, and there he was. I sent him a little message and got nothing back. Oh, well. Stolen goods are never sold at a loss...)So I was a little shocked when I pulled an envelope out of my mailbox with the return address of someone associated with this group of friends on it.
First, this person wasn't exactly a friend. More like a friend-of-a-friend, he was part of the group that formed my senior year when my old gangsters moved into a suite of rooms in the upperclass dorms and I moved off-campus. I knew him slightly, but only in a "Hey, man, wassup." kinda way
And the friend-of-a-friend wasn't exactly inviting me to the Let's Get Pally Again Reunion Kegger and Weenie Roast.
Nope. He was inveigling me to pony up some cash to buy a memorial for one of his senior year group - and a guy I barely knew at all - who'd caught the Long Island Death Local to the Happy Hunting Grounds. Expired. Pinin' for the fjords. Kaput. Deceased. And what did they want to buy memorialize this guy with my money?
A tree on the campus grounds.
A tree that they said would cost $10,000.
Call me gobsmacked. Ten thousand fucking dollars? For a tree? Not a classroom, not a projector or a computer hookup or a locker for a needy orphaned defensive tackle but a damn TREE!!??
Jesus wept, this is Stumptown, the Silicon Fucking Forest - we have a bazillion trees, and ain't one of them going for ten K. What the...??!!??
I was tempted to go out in the yard and dig up one of the little volunteer bigleaf maples, put it in a baggie with some soil and a little water and mail it back, suggesting it as a more modest alternative. What tree costs ten large, for chrissake? Are they planning to plant a fifty footer? Dig up some monster from the Amazon for transplanting in the freaking Quad? WTFF??!!??
In the end I just pitched it in the recycling bin; I couldn't see kicking in the jack for the spendy tree but for the life of me I couldn't think of a respectful and decent alternative to a flat "no". But right now I'm feeling like some mook took a fond memory and tried to use it to sell me some Amway, and I'm not feeling real happy about that.
Am I off base, here? What do you think?