So You Want To Have A Five-Year High School Reunion

Recently, I received an invitation to my five-year high school reunion.  Via Facebook.

This invitation has turned in a surprisingly entertaining, vicious, scathing flame-fest pitting the cool kids against the lame kids, the successful against the arguably-less-successful, the proud vs the pissed, the out-of-towners vs the bubble crowd, the self-conscious vs the oblivious, the snarky vs the self-righteous.

You know, kind of like high school.

My personal opinion of a five-year reunion?  No thanks.  Of course, it’s a personal opinion, and I don’t begrudge anyone who has circled their calendars.  But the absolute last thing I want to do is awkwardly converse with a collection of semi-strangers who remember things I can only politely smile at, all the while being hammered with some picture of a perfect life these folks have spent six months perfecting.  I also have no interest in finding out that people I never knew or never cared for in high school have a better life than I do.  Discovering that some jackass from Geometry has some dream career while I’m middling in post-grad, entry-level hell is existential waterboarding.  I fear my knowledge of avante-garde filmmaking, hegemonic rule and the categorical imperative will do little to stave off the accidentally-successful, the romantic comedy crowd that somehow tripped over the bar society set for their expectations and landed in a career typically reserved for those who aspire to more than an autographed copy of Microwave Cooking For One.

Seriously, this book is real.

In the same mode of cynicism, there is a lot of high school I just really have no desire to re-live.  Remember that time we totally got stuck in that snow drift, bro?  Well, yeah, I do.  And it was…you know, getting stuck in a snow drift.  Hardly haunts my dreams.

Honestly, half of high school was awesome and half of high school sucked.  For me.  Do some things stick with me?  I suppose.  But I went to college, and that became my reality, my reference point.  Not high school.  I met people there.  I made stories there.  I passed out on the grass in front of Assembly Hall pre-Bucket game and was forcefed sugar cookies and water there, not in high school.  And now that I’ve graduated college, even that seems like a reference point that distances with every student loan payment.

Do I still have high school friends?  Yes.  Some of my best friends are high school friends.  But there’s a reason I’ve kept in touch with them and not so much with the reunion crowd.  I know who I want to be in my life right now, I know who still deserves to be there.  I guess I just don’t see the point in wading back into the swamp of sophomore year to shake hands with someone I haven’t really thought of since I got my learner’s permit and won’t be any sort of factor in my life going forward.  Am I supposed to cherish that moment?  To share a laugh with an ex-classmate who reminded me of the time I convinced my 10th-grade Geography teacher that I was, at once, Muslim and Jewish?  Is that the inconsequential highlight of the evening?

Of course, I don’t mean to be entirely scathing.  A five-year high school reunion isn’t for me.  That’s not to say it’s not for others.  And who’s to say I don’t get the itch 20 years down the road?  But for now, I just can’t stomach the facade, the absurd presentation of hardly-historical self to an audience of blurred faces that half-know each other.  Five years, after all, is nothing.  Hardly worthy of some milestone event.  No one’s even really done anything worth writing about yet.  Get back to me in the future tense when a Mr. Royal contestant becomes a Mrs. Royal, or when a former cheerleader ends up on one of those obesity awareness change-or-die programs, and maybe the popcorn bucket will be full enough to pique my interest.

Until then, though, I’m cool hanging out with those high school friends I’ve kept in my life and leaving the rest back in 2006.

Now with my personal opinions stated, I’d be remiss if I didn’t keep checking this insanely-entertaining group which features some of the finest examples of grad class trolling the internet has ever seen.  I love that jokes I kind of remember from high school can still carry such toxicity.  I love everyone blunt enough to dodge the “hi how are ya” talk and press the red button.  I’ll never hate on anyone for being happy with what they’ve got, however that may come across, but this group is pretty much the digital id of high school.  All those things left unsaid, or otherwise said out the side of the mouth, are clearly past their statute of limitations and thus anyone is fair game.

I should also mention that the reunion is at a local duckpin bowling center.  Seriously.  The only thing I hate more than uncomfortable, forced conversation is bowling.  I can’t even imagine how that’s going to work.  Would I get to share a lane with that creepy trash ‘stache kid who didn’t learn to shave until his senior year?  Or maybe the guy who, in the heat of a bus route brawl, bit some underclassmen in the nipple.  If I’m lucky, maybe that girl in History that was hot six years ago but has since destroyed herself with some combination of children, chain smoking, tanning spray, commemorative tattoos and cheeseburgers.

You see where that’s going.  Gutter ball.

In summary, you’ll excuse my cynicism, my poisonous prose, but I will not be renting bowling shoes to afford myself the opportunity to re-live memories butchered by time.  Does that make me better than?  Naw.  Does that mean I’ll be doing anything more important.  Probably not.  But I’m just not interested, and I’m not going to lie and say I’ve conquered kingdoms and kicked ass since graduating, because I haven’t.  I was a balloon pilot.  And a lumberjack.  And now an unsatisfied collections agent, still seeking something in the written world.  I don’t want people to care about what I don’t, and I don’t want to care about the accomplishments of people who were three lockers down and never said a word then or since.  Just not my style.

But that’s just me.  A guy who does not want to have a five-year high school reunion.

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I Am The Sixth Wayans Brother

Recently, I’ve had a startling revelation.

I am the sixth Wayans brother.

Now, can I prove this?  No.  Can science disprove this?  Yes.  But I have evidence beyond science.  I have evidence that goes deeper than DNA, that speaks louder than blood relations.

I have Scream If You Had Idle Hands Last Halloween.  A screenplay I wrote at age 10.

Now, if you’re just stumbling across this blog, if you’ve never had the misfortune of calling yourself my acquaintance, you probably aren’t aware of my writing history.  While I could provide several examples, a multitude of prodigious efforts (that proved not-quite-so-prodigal post-grad), I always like to go back to my brilliant parody/comedy I wrote in fifth grade, some time between Johnny Tremain and getting suspended for getting in a recess fight with a kid named Tremaine (the most conveniently clever, true prose I’ve ever committed to a blog I’ll probably abandon.)

I’d look to, if you’ll allow me the indulgence, share some excerpts from this script that surely prove I’m the missing Wayans brother.  After dissecting this, you’ll arrive at the same conclusion I have and be convinced that I should be an executive producer on White Chicks 3.

MELANIE (O.S.): Jim, what’s taking you so long?

JIM: Just putting on some eye drops to make my eyes all better.

MELANIE (O.S.): You had weed in MY HOUSE?

JIM: No, it was just the chlorine from your pool.

MELANIE (O.S.): Jim, I don’t have a pool.

JIM: Then what’s that big lid and hole with water in your backyard?

MELANIE (O.S.): Oh, you mean the septic tank?

-ZOOM IN: Jim’s nauseated look at the arrival of this information-

Now, this works on a few levels.  Heady stuff for a fifth-grader.  You’ll notice that I combined drug and poop humor into one exchange of dialogue.  It didn’t take me six minutes of exposition and “character development” to accomplish this.

It’s also funny because Jim apparently “had weed.”  I assume the implication is that he smoked weed, but perhaps he ate it.  I can’t be sure.  Of course, it’s irrelevant, because Jim is erroneously assumed to have “had weed” in the first place.  You see, he went for a swim.  Only, OH SNAPS, he accidentally dove into the septic tank!

Quality potty humor.  Appropriately, my TV is on in the background as I write this and just had the most messed-up diaper commercial I have ever seen.  Some sort of contest where babies actively try to crap their pants so much that it creates some sort of feces-inflated diaper cocoon…to the applause of a live audience and three judges that I can only assume are ex-cartoon celebrities forced to go the FOX panel route.

I digress.  Let’s continue with the Wayansing.

MELANIE: Now, Jim, I’m gonna try to hit the hand…..

JIM: Don’t do it, Mel, please!

-SLOW MOTION: Melanie swings the bat backwards-

-The glove quickly hops off Jim’s crotch-

-The swing continues forwards and smashes into Jim’s crotch-

JIM: OOOHHHHHH! (squeaky) that…..hurt.

Now we’re on a plane of humor solely reserved for America’s Funniest Home Videos.  Crotch-smashing.  Instant, no-longer-baby-making comedy.

I probably should clarify that the glove in question is an evil glove possessed by whatever evil gloves are possessed by these days.  It’s actively trying to ruin Jim’s chances of getting with Melanie.  Of all the godless things for a glove to do…

Moving on.

-CUT TO: Weirall High-

Hey, the name of the high school is Weirall High.  Huh?  Huh?  Do you get it?  Do ya get it?  Doyagetitdoyagetitdoyagetitdoyagetit?

A reference to esteemed poet Anthony Weir, of course.

MANDY: Go away, Ricky! Honestly, you shouldn’t be talking. You’re the only high schooler who still goes to people’s houses to trade MokePon cards!

RICK: At least I don’t sleep with anything with a pulse, Mand!

MANDY: FLUFFY WAS….

Pokemon.  Bestiality.  General promiscuity.  1999 was a rough year.

GRACE: Oh look, they got potheads at this school, too. That girl is collapsed on that bench. We can really make a story outta this.

DARREN: Come on, it’s probably some street kid. This is pretty urban.

GRACE: Oh well, you’re right, forget her. We got deaths to concern us!

Tell me you don’t want to see a movie where Mickey Rourke kills off a Marlboro, brushes his greasy hair out of his eyes, rubs the bridge of his nose and stares daggers into some rookie cop’s doe eyes before boldly proclaiming: “we got deaths to concern us.”  Exclamation mark.

This excerpt is also boldly racist in that way that could only suggest that all urban/street kids are potheads.  A regrettable implication on my part.  Clearly, all urban/street kids are crackheads.  Not potheads.

Thankfully, though, brash racism doesn’t disqualify me from the Wayans bloodline.

-The conference director leaves as a Robert Downey Jr look-alike, smiling wide, stands up to the podium-

-Several photographic flashes reflect off Robert’s sweaty head-

MEDIA PERSON 5 (O.S.):  Do you even know what this is about?

ROBERT DOWNEY JR LOOK-ALIKE:  Yeah, I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life.  This is the graduation from Drug Rehab, right?

America, and in a (much) lesser sense, Britain, I would like it to be known that I was Ricky Gervais before Ricky Gervais was Ricky Gervais.  Even though Ricky Gervais was born before me.  Think about that!  And then realize that Ricky Gervais is clearly a stage name and his real name is actually Javier Cowabunga St. Croix.  And now it all makes sense until it doesn’t.

This is also evidence that I knew Robert Downey Jr. before America just thought he was that guy that came out of nowhere to be Iron Man or something.  Not only did I know him, but I burned him.  I burned him good.  I burned him so good that he re-invented himself and came back as a successful, still-supremely-talented actor while I was left in the dust as an unaccomplished post-grad who has done nothing to back up the arsenal of accolades I’ve accrued through my adventures in academia.

I win.  At alliteration.  Broken up by my tears.

R.D.JR. LOOK-ALIKE:  Shouldn’t you be in class?

STUDENT 2:  Naw, man. We hide here and smoke pot all day.

-Robert smiles-

R.D.JR. LOOK-ALIKE:  Man, your schools are SOOO much better than ours were!

STUDENT 3:  Want a joint?

R.D.JR. LOOK-ALIKE:  I brought my own.

-ZOOM IN: Robert’s left pocket as he takes out a marijuana joint-

A marijuana joint?  Reefer Madness!!!

The amount of drug humor in this script is alarming.  Incidentally, it was probably also completely informed by D.A.R.E.  Do they still do that?  D.A.R.E?  The class that says: “drugs are bad, they make you feel really good and may provide feelings of ecstasy and euphoria and transcendental enlightenment…but they’re like really really bad, so don’t take them because you don’t want those feelings on your conscience!”

-CUT TO: MRS. DIANE TABORYU’S ENGLISH CLASS-

I wonder if Diane Taboryu is friends with Chief Lee Tamaykyayawn or Creeyate N. Ennui.  You laugh at the last example, but I actually called her last week to collect on a student loan.

But the point, of course, is that I had a way with names that would put J.K. Rowling to shame.  Tom Marvolo Riddle.  I am Lord Voldemort.  Like no one saw that coming, Miss Billion Dollar Empire.

JAMIE’S FATHER:  Why, how nice.  I hope the party is fun.

JAMIE’S MOTHER:  No alcoholic beverages, right?

JAMIE:  At Mandy’s?

-CUT TO: Jamie’s thoughts-

-Several students are having a drinking contest with three connected beer kegs-

STUDENTS:  Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!

-CUT TO: Jamie’s reality in family room-

JAMIE:  Of course not.

JAMIE’S FATHER:  And no drugs right?

JAMIE:  At Mandy’s?

-CUT TO: Jamie’s thoughts-

-Several students are having a potsmoking contest with three connected large bongs-

STUDENTS:  Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!

POT STUDENT 1:  What else can we use for a bong around here?

-CUT TO: Jamie’s reality in family room-

JAMIE:  Of course not.

JAMIE’S MOTHER:  Well, that’s good to here.  No sex, right?

JAMIE:  At Mandy’s?

-CUT TO: Jamie’s thoughts-

-Two students, male and female, and sitting in bed with each other-

-The male student starts to slip off the female student’s bra, but we don’t see anything-

-Record-scratch interrupting sound-

-CUT BACK TO: Jamie’s reality in family room-

JAMIE’S FATHER:  Dear, I think we can trust our daughter.  She’s 15, after all.

JAMIE’S MOTHER:  Oh, all right.

Chris on a God-fearing bike, what is wrong with me?  Potsmoking contests?  Interconnected bongs?  I’m starting to think I was really raised on a backwoods California collective.  It’s the only way any of these references make any sense.

I’m starting to think this humor actually tilts the tone closer to Kevin Smith than Shawn Wayans, but I quickly redeem myself:

RICK:  Ballet is an art many homies get down with too!

Preach, Brother Rick!  It takes a nation of millions to Écarté us back.

It is a surprisingly conscious message though.  We just assume that homies don’t do ballet.  But, in fact, some do.  Some plié the hell out of their Pumas.

JANITOR (O.S.):  Oh will you two just SHUT UP and start the scene where the girl is chased around the house by an alien English teacher wielding a butcher knife who somehow manages to get pinned between something and die, only inches away from killing the girl?

JAMIE:  Well, I can’t help it.  This is just in there to increase the damn running time!

MRS. TABORYU (O.S.):  Hell, we’ve got 5 minutes till I’m supposed to try to gut you like a fish, we may as well have wild crazy sex just to make this rated R and make teens want to see it more.

Take a step back and admire the eff-you to Hollywood there.  With their crazy rated-R movies full of sex and violence that increase their appeal to younger demographics.  See, I knew that at age 10.  I knew that because my favorite movie was Starship Troopers and my VHS had some odd wearing bands around the Dina Meyer shower scene.  How did those get there?  Surely by now continually rewinding early in the morning before my parents woke up.  Surely not that way.

Well, that’s about the end of the script.  We’ve covered sex, drug and scatological jokes sufficient enough to call me Wayans.  Maybe you could make the argument that the script is actually too conscious and rebuking of the standard Hollywood system to ever feel the calloused, pimp-ring-covered-hands of production, but you can’t argue my gift.  My gift for discovering the lowest common denominator and exploiting the living hell out of it.

In conclusion, I wrote a 17-page script at age 10 that qualifies me as a Wayans brother.  So get ready, America.  I’m going to set everyone’s people back 100 years now.

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Recess Of The Dead

My new favorite picture on the internet.  You really need to full-size it to appreciate.

CREDIT: Jason Chan

Alien Vs. Vader

I don’t even need an excuse to post this.  I would watch the hell out of this movie franchise.

CREDIT: David Hillman (penciler), Mark McKenna (inker) and Tom Chu (colorist)