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.


One Response

  1. […] backstory, and my thoughts on the concept of a five-year class […]

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