Saturday, July 9, 2011

High School Reunions

This coming weekend, so I'm told, is my twenty-year high school reunion. The organizing committee finally tracked me down (I'd managed to hide from them for the ten-year event). I suppose I can thank Facebook for their newfound ability to grab you no matter where you lurk. This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me but I'm not going.

Maybe it's my robotic, unsentimental nature, but I fail to see any point whatsoever to high school reunions. Why would I want to get together with a hundred people I didn't much care for twenty years ago? Are we supposed to reminisce about all the "good" times that came along with high school?

Granted, high school was awesome. Never since in my life have I had such a surfeit of free time, disposable income, ready access to friends, or a pleasant, parent-free environment to hang out with said friends. It's a pretty sweet deal. You get sent to a (mostly) clean and (hopefully) safe building for seven hours a day, and every person in town you like HAS to go as well. They called it "education," but it's really "mandatory hang-out time."

With lunch and breaks, you were guaranteed nearly two hours where you had no responsibilities at all. The rest of the time you got to screw around in class and play around with way better toys than the ones in your own house. We didn't have gas lines and bunsen burners at home, that's for sure. (And a good thing, or the fire department and I would have been well acquainted. I'll never forget the time Chris <surname withheld for legal reasons> turned copper tubing into a make-shift flame-thrower. That sucker really roared.)

The only problem was that every person you DIDN'T like had to attend as well. I've often said the world would be so great if it weren't for all the people in it, and high school was no different. For every friend, you had five enemies and twenty people that wouldn't notice you if you were on fire (a serious risk; see my above observations on Science class). That is not a good ratio, although I suppose it does adequately prepare you for life in the real world.

What lures can a high school reunion offer? Are they going to let us do all the old fun and weird things again? Will we be able to dissect fetal pigs, play with bunsen burners, drop sodium tablets in water, or lock Jeff <surname withheld for legal reasons> into the sousaphone case? (Sorry, Jeff.) I doubt it. So other than drinks and bad food, what does that leave?

Why, the people, of course. Basically, though, going to a high school reunion means spending time with your friends (yay!), your old enemies, and the whole mass of people you can hardly remember and barely remember you. People I never knew can stay that way: the world is already filled with strangers, and I'll never have a chance to meet even a tiny fraction of them, so why focus on the ones with whom I already share a common past? As for the enemies... well, twenty years is a long time to hold a grudge, so either you look like a  petty jerk for even remembering the juvenile torments, or you swallow your bile and shake hands, grinning at the moron that pulled your gym shorts down and pushed you into the girls' change room. "Ha ha," you say, teeth gritted, "I'd forgotten all about that." Only you haven't. The scars are still with you, and the image of Todd <surname withheld for legal reasons> tied to a tree as the wolves slowly circle haunts your dreams (in a good way).

That leaves friends. I already keep in touch with all the people I liked in high school, so I don't need the old gymnasium as an excuse to talk to them. We do live in a global village; if you want to find someone, it's easy, and with Skype, email, on-line chats, texts, etc, if you aren't still in touch with someone, odds are it's because at least one of the two of you doesn't actually want to be.

Conclusion: waste of time, money, and mental effort.

However, the news has made me nostalgic. The next few posts will be dedicated to reliving the past. Ah, the glory days.

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