Reflections On My Upcoming 30th High School Reunion
Written By: Mark Smith
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Ahhhhh! I just found out that my 30th High School Reunion is only a month away! Can I drop 20 pounds that quickly? Maybe I can find a really fast acting form of Rogaine? Take the wife or not take the wife? How are my dance moves - could they be magically upgraded somehow? Do I take the Harley or go with my buddy Pooh Bear (not a cool nickname)? Is there time to get those tattoos I've been thinking about getting? So many questions need to be answered.
Do you guys go to these? In my experience there are reunion goers and there are reunion skippers. The skippers say that they don't want to go back to the awful, insecure, popularity contest days of high school. I'm a reunion goer. We reunion goers think that the reunion skippers just got little fatter and a little balder then we did. We are all about warm hearted nostalgic trips into the past. We are about seeing how people turned out. We are about catching up. We are about facing what the years have done to us. I love going to reunions. At them my introverted personality transforms into a social butterfly. I drink a little too much and I feel young again. I can't wait.
Ok, I have some confessions to make. Reunions are fun, but they're difficult as well. It's sad and a little awkward to observe the previously gorgeous prom queen with wrinkles, grey hair and 50 extra pounds. It is sort of shocking. You don't look so shockingly old in the mirror because you see yourself everyday, but the rest of these mopes look like they are ready for the old folk's home. We will get our AARP cards in just 2 years. It's painful when an old classmate not only doesn't recognize you, but they don't even remember you. That is sort of insulting, but it WAS a long time ago. Of course what is really difficult is hearing about classmates you have passed away. In the early reunions this only happened as a result of a car accident, but I'm now dreading to hear about my peers who may have fallen to heart attacks or strokes. Death is part of life so I guess we have to face it too. It was really disturbing to hear about a classmate's suicide last time - no more of that please.
Of course the inevitable competition and comparisons take place - who has the prettiest wife, who has all their hair, who has some how been able to avoid getting divorced, who has achieved the most, who makes the most money? I don't know where Marriage Counselor turned aspiring writer with no books written yet and only one small newspaper gig stacks up against against the competition, but I don't care - I'm happy being me. I wish that we had more time to hear the real stuff about each other's lives. I wish that we could put away trying to be cool for just one night, but that isn't going to happen. It is too ingrained in us. It would be unnatural.
I love the old 70's music that gets played. I love watching Lee Ann H. dance. That girl can get down - to borrow a 70's term. I love how Beth N. has actually gotten prettier through the years. I love the fact that the years haven't diminished Tommy and Birch's blustery confidence levels. I don't like the golf outings though. Let's get back out on the basketball court and see what's what fellas. Smitty Gun can still shoot the rock. I hate how we say that we are going to get together but we never do. I hate how the old clichs instantly re-form themselves. I hate the old high school caste system. I think, I hope I graded out in somewhere near the top third or so. What was it like for the bottom third? Do those folks come to these reunions? Do we even know them? I hate shaking the hands of the husbands of old girlfriends. "What's he got on me - he's a jerk" I think. I love hearing the old stories. Hey, remember when Smitty Gun (You know, I must have been somewhat cool because I had a great nickname.) and Ricky fought right in the middle of Apperson Way during a blizzard? I still don't know how I lived through that one!
30 years! How in the world could it have been that long ago? These are special people to me. They're my fellow travelers. Watching them has taught me a lot about life and love. They are my old friends. Let's do get together after this. So is there a 35th reunion?
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