Hi, hello, nice to meet you, let’s get down to business. You say you went to Boston College. Now, this is what’s going to happen: I am going to tell you all of the people I know who went to Boston College, and then you are going to tell me if you also know them, because it will be interesting if you and I know similar people. Make sense? Great.

Do you know Sarah Whitman? She is a friend of mine who went to Boston College, and if she’s a friend of yours, that would mean she is friends with both of us, which is a fact we can have a brief conversations about. So, do you know Sarah Whitman? No? Okay. Let’s keep going.

Mitch Hatfield. Know him? No? That’s unfortunate, because Mitch is an awesome guy and it would be interesting if you knew Mitch during your college years and, completely independent of your college years, I knew Mitch. That would be a coincidence we could talk about. You could ask how Mitch is doing, I could say he is doing good, and we could move on. But because you don’t know Mitch, we won’t be able to talk about that. That is too bad. However, we cannot dwell on it, because I have more names for you to say yes or no to.

Ready?

Point-blank, do you know Scott Callahan, Greg Buchanan, or Carol Portman? No? None of them? Okay. How about Tom Dreisman? He, like Mitch, is another awesome guy who went to your school and who I now know. Do you know him? Come on, buddy. Do you or don’t you know Tom? If you have to think about it this long, that means you don’t know him. Next person.

Did you have any classes with Amanda Gloss? Did you ever meet Amanda Gloss at a party? Did you run intramural track? Because Amanda Gloss once told me she ran intramural track. How do I know Amanda Gloss? That’s really not important if you don’t know her, is it? Just giving you that information for no reason is a waste of my time and a waste of your time. We need to focus and figure out if we have any mutual acquaintances. So, back to the original question: Do you know Amanda Gloss?

No. Fine.

Rachel Heffernan. Know her? I haven’t talked to Rachel in five years and didn’t really know her all that well to begin with, but one time she said she went to Boston College, and you said you went to Boston College, so here we are. No, I don’t know what year she graduated. Yes, I understand Boston College is a pretty big school. Look, do you know her or not? Don’t squint your eyes and say, “Um.” This is extremely simple. I say a name, and then you say yes or no and nothing else, okay? Ready? Rachel Heffernan.

That’s very unfortunate.

By the way, I’m John Haber. I went to the University of Maryland. I’m telling you that because at some point in the future, you may meet someone else who went to the University of Maryland, and he may ask you, “Do you know John Haber?” and you will be able to say, “Yes, I do know John Haber.” And after that you can talk about how you know me and then search for something else to say until you both realize there is nothing else to talk about.

All right, we’ve still got a ton more people to go, so we’re going to streamline this. I need you to pay attention here and tell me if you also know these people. Here we go: Dan Schmidt, Ben Koning, Bobby Mezera, Lena Burns, Laine Pollick, Zack Ruehle, J.D. Kat, Jamie Phillips (she’s a girl), Nick Regunberg, Evan Cielinski, Sam Ellis, Allie Bukowski, Doug Harris—he was the best man at your wedding? Holy crap, interesting. Continuing on: Abby LaPlante, Jill Cocuzzo, Sean Zeigen, Jon Goodman (no, J-O-N Goodman), Jack Jacobs, Emily Borders, Adrian McIntyre (actually maybe she went to Boston University, not Boston College), Lucie Webb, Colin Burkholder, Michael Corderol, Michael Ferris, Michael Franklin, any Michaels at all? Good, that takes care of, like, six more Michaels.

You seriously don’t know Michael Ambrose?

Cheryl. I don’t remember her last name. Do you know any Cheryls? You do. Is she black? Yes, we are talking about the same Cheryl. Black Cheryl. Great.

Well, now I have told you the names of the people I know who went to your college, and of those people, you have told me the ones you also know. If my count is correct, we know a total of two of the same people: Doug Harris and black Cheryl. We are finished now.

Goodbye.