Former UO Grad Strikes it Rich, Existence Suddenly Acknowledged by Alumni Association, Others


EUGENE, Ore. (BN) — As if congratulating him for the success he’s found in his business life, the Alumni Association of the University of Oregon has now begun to flood alumnus Jakob Balarud with scores of letters, congenially and indirectly imploring him for donations, Mr. Balarud told Brimborion News.

“I mean, to be fair, they’re not the only ones doing it. You’d be amazed how many branches I suddenly have in my family tree now. I mean, like, literally, how many just materialized out of thin air. I know none of these people were related to me before. Just: poof! ‘Hey, I’m your long lost uncle-in-law. Can I borrow $50,000?’”

While one of the roles of the Alumni Association is to beseech graduates for donations, Balarud is starting to find the amount of mail he receives excessive.

“It’s like every week. It’s like when there’s an election, and two weeks before you start getting twenty different flyers in the mail, telling you who to vote for? Only here it’s like the election never comes, it’s always just a week away, and there’s only one candidate: me. I graduated almost twenty years ago, and I didn’t hear a peep from anyone until they did that story about me in the paper.”

In a Sunday issue last September, The Register-Guard featured a write-up about the massive success that Balarud’s tech startup, Groindage, has experienced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ever since then, he says, the requests from both institute and individual have been forthcoming.

“Jakob’s my half-sister’s second cousin, once-removed,” said Jeezer Forbes, someone who now claims consanguinity to Mr. Balarud, and who, consequently, has been beseeching him for money, “so he’s basically my second cousin. More like a younger brother, really. I remember when he was this high, up to my waist, maybe. Always getting onto something, that one. This one time, he set out onto the street, not even looking at where he was going. I happened to grab him and pull him to the curb, right as this eighteen-wheeler come barreling down on him. I said, ‘Jake, Jake! Are you all right, boy?’ and he said, ‘Papa,’—he used to call me ‘papa’, see—’Papa, that truck would’ve killed me if it hadn’t been for your ungenuity [sic] right then a-saving me. And we hugged, and he looked at me and said, ‘I owe you my life, Papa.’ Them was his words, not mine.”

“It’s like the worst of having won the lottery with these people, I swear to God,” Balarud said. “Only, I didn’t win the lottery. I’ve got bills to pay, taxes up the ass, and a payroll I’ve got to satisfy. But they don’t care. I’m like an ATM machine with the little beat-up leprechaun, you know what I’m talking about?”

“The Alumni Association is here for the needs of all Oregon alumni, no matter what their financial situation or station in life,” U of O spokesperson Tahlia Druid replied in an email.