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Around the time I started this site, my high school contacted me about attending my fifteenth class reunion.
(Yes, I’m that old. No, don’t do the math. Yes, I know it’s not pretty. And no, I’m not writing this from under a shawl in my rocking chair.
Lick my liver spots, smartass. Now move it along.)
“You might think that I’d be disappointed in not keeping up with my high school mates, and finding out how their lives and dreams and cosmetic enhancement surgeries have turned out. Not so much.”
I didn’t attend that fifteenth reunion. Nor did I make it for the tenth. Nor the fifth, nor the first, nor do I have any plans to reune with fellow classmates at any time in the future. I keep in touch with a couple of old high school chums on my own, thank you, and that’s usually quite enough for me. When it isn’t, I can always spend an afternoon Googling old pals’ names, out of curiosity.
(In doing so, I’ve come to three conclusions:
1. Googling someone’s name fifteen years after you’ve last spoken to them is a spectacularly inefficient way to ‘reconnect’.
2. Most people from my high school have names far too common to be of any use in searching, with the exception of several women whose names are apparently very similar to the stage names used by various internet porn chicks.
3. There are some frighteningly skanky internet porn chicks out there. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I’m just saying.)
You might think that I’d be disappointed in not keeping up with my high school mates, and finding out how their lives and dreams and cosmetic enhancement surgeries have turned out. Not so much. You see, I subscribe to the notion that ‘reality is always more mundane than fantasy’. And so, rather than actually getting into contact with old pals, and learning about their mortgages and divorces and therapy sessions, I’ve done the next-even-better thing. I’ve made up lives for them. Here are a few of my favorites:
The wild-eyed Jesus-freak girl that sat in front of me in homeroom, and carried a Bible to all of her classes:
She followed her faith and entered a convent right out of high school. Three years later, after a spirited debate over the ecumenical significance of using Captain’s Wafers in communion rites to save money, she left in a huff and denounced her religion for good. Several years of ‘making up for lost time’ later, she settled down with three-quarters of a Harley crew in Ohio and lived kick-assedly ever after. She still keeps the Bible and habit around as a costume for Halloween. And sexy parties.
The rich kid who was really smart, but stayed so stoned he nearly had to repeat a year:
Rich kid’s dad bought junior’s way into Georgetown — it would’ve been Yale, but they weren’t that rich — where he fell in with a local band of neo-beatniks. Finally energized by belonging to a community where he could fire up and be appreciated for poetry too clever to rhyme, he raced through a ‘General Studies’ degree in only nine years. Nine and a half, if you count the ‘sabbatical’ he took ‘sightseeing’ in Amsterdam for a summer on daddy’s tab. He’s currently a senior vice president in his father’s corporation, pulling in six figures a month and blowing most of it on European hash and Filipina hookers. In his spare time, he writes sonnets with the wrong number of syllables per line, and calls them ‘ironic’.
The hot cheerleader girl who wouldn’t give me the time of day until she wanted to cheat off my tests in Economics class:
After high school, cheerleader girl attended a local state school and leveraged her womanly wiles to finagle a ‘B’ grade point average out of college. Sadly for her, she never did learn anything about economics, and when the free beers and generous boyfriends of her college days dried up, she found herself under a crippling load of credit card debt. Using her time-tested techniques, she seduced a loan officer at her bank and borrowed enough money to get out of the red.
Unfortunately he knocked her up, they got married, and her looks faded with motherhood. She now leads a bitter and desperate life as a housewife and mother of four, living in his two-bedroom loft on his meager salary and bottles of Kahlua stashed in her dresser. The worst part is, we both got a ‘D’ in that econ class. I didn’t know any more about that shit than she did.
The tall dumb jock who unfairly skated through classes because he was the star center on the basketball team:
This guy got an athletic scholarship, and proceeded to dribble and shoot his way onto the bench at a big-conference college. He never played much, but parlayed his team sweats and official practice jersey into the dorm rooms of most of the sorority chapters on campus. Until he blew a ligament in his knee during his junior year, that is. Chicks don’t dig a scrub on crutches, and he dropped out of the honeys’ hearts, off the team, and flunked out of school when he failed his ‘Remedial Shoe-Tying’ class for the third time. Currenly, he’s the tallest, lankiest counter jockey that most people visiting the Erie, PA 7-11 have ever seen. And he hates it when they tell him so.
The guy who was a really good artist, but mostly drew portraits to pick up chicks:
Artist dude knew a good gig when he saw it, and completely abandoned his ‘serious’ artistic training to focus on the subtle art of making hot women look just a little bit hotter on paper. He scraped up enough money after high school to move to New Jersey, and has spent the past fifteen years living in the same one-bedroom apartment and drawing caricatures for tourists in Atlantic City. He’s not a rich man, nor is he making a significant and lasting contribution to society. But boy, does he get laid. A lot.
The quiet brainy girl who tried to seem very proper and stoic, but still occasionally laughed my at stupid jokes:
Miss Prim ‘n’ Proper continued her studies at Brown, and went on to earn advanced degrees in Classical Literature, Applied Linguistics, and Using Big Words to Obfuscate Your Speech When Conversing with Commoners. With her impeccable manners, impressive education, and understated good looks, she quickly rose to high standing in a local pocket of New England intelligentsia.
Unfortunately, her reputation was tarnished when she couldn’t manage to repress a giggle at a brash poem read by an outsider and featuring several inappropriate double entendres for the word ‘punting’. Shunned by her former colleagues, she moved and took a position as an ‘honors’ English instructor for a private school in Maine. For fun, she highlights rude passages from Chaucer, translates limericks from Gaelic, and beats the living bejesus out of the other teachers at Scrabble.
The bratty little punk who was always mouthing off to people, and who I now realize was only seeking attention to compensate for a tumultuous home life:
This kid’s sass finally caught up with him, when his father cuffed him around and kicked him out of the house soon after graduation. He caught on as an errand boy for a local gang of toughs, but couldn’t keep his big yap shut long enough to do that job either, and spent more time picking his teeth off the floor than earning money running drugs. Finding no one else to tolerate his insolence, he took to bullying elementary school kids at the playground of his old school. That lasted until a precocious fourth-grader took offense, and unleashed his much older and much larger brothers on the punk. They landed the shrimp in the hospital, and these days he uses his disability checks to occasionally pay the rent on his squalid studio apartment, and to buy scratch tickets for the state lottery. Fifteen years and thousands of tickets later, he hasn’t won. One. Single. Dime.
Also, his penis fell off.
(Hey, I said I understood why he was such a little shit in school. I never said I forgave him.)
The cute funny girl that turned me down for the senior prom, and ended up going at the last minute with some pimply-faced scrawny jackass from the class below ours:
She and Pizzacheeks went on to have a torrid whirlwind romance, and were married before the summer was over. She waited tables until he finished school, then they scraped together enough cash to move south to the outskirts of Houston. They took out a few loans, bought a starter home, squeezed out some kids, and settled into a simple but comfortable life of domestic routine, frugal spending, and weekend Texas barbecue.
See? I’m not bitter about everyone I went to high school with. At least somebody ends up with a genuinely happy ending.
No, really. I hope Miss Thang and her pimply little clan are very happy. Really. I do. Stop looking at me like that. What?Permalink | 2 Comments
Did we go to high school together? I’m thinking life in Texas t’ain’t so bad…you know, when we get a chance, we still go down to the ranch–we get a couple of them there rattlers and cook ’em up with a little fajita flavoring, the kids love to shake them rattles all through dinner. My husband is now a dermatologist and shortly thereafter those pimples cleared right up. Gosh, I sure regret not taking you up on your little prom offer, but our maid, Consuela says she’s available to escort you to our 20th, I’ve got tickets booked for The Caymans that week. And, hey, don’t be bitter, you’ve got the Red Sox. Love, Miss Thang
Harley riders can be a warm, loving community!