Our 50th high school reunion finally arrived and I can’t tell you how relieved I am about the whole thing. Thinking back on my high-school years, I knew I would be ridiculed the instant I walked in, mocked for the failure I was then and the loser I’ve continued to be, while all the rest of my class flourished in universal adoration.
As it turns out, not so much.
Thankfully, nobody seemed to remember when one of the cool kids convinced David and me to go together to the homecoming dance because lots of girls went solo and we could find dates there. It goes without saying that we didn’t find any unattached females when we arrived, so we left very quickly for a hamburger with a side of regret. David didn’t show up at the reunion—clearly too embarrassed by our humiliation—but it turns out I was worried about nothing. No one mentioned it, so maybe it’s long forgotten and I can just keep this disaster a secret for another 50 years.
In fact, not many people seemed to remember me at all. A few recalled my name or where I lived and two people remembered something specific that we did during our high school years, but the rest mostly nodded as if we’d just boarded the same elevator. To be fair, I didn’t remember them either, or anything in particular that I did during those years. I know I had one math teacher who farted a lot during a tutoring session with me, we had to swim naked in gym class, and our sports teams made us much more stoic about the setbacks in life…but that’s about it.
I don’t know what I was expecting after fifty years, but the whole thing felt like a retirement dinner where everyone was the guest of honor. Maybe they were whooping it up in other corners of the room, but almost all I heard from people were stories about the career they left behind, the ailments they’d gained, the grandchildren they did—or didn’t—see regularly, and the fogginess of their memories about teachers, classes, and the four years we spent in a shared space.
And why not? We’re all a bunch of 70-somethings who moved on to have full lives between then and now, replacing teenage torment for the glories of adulthood.
On the upside, I met a few people I’d like to know better; not to rehash our distant pasts, but because they seem to be interesting people today. My life includes a constant search for enjoyable conversations, challenging ideas, and maybe a free lunch or two. Now that we’re all over this high school thing, maybe I should reach out to a few and make a connection.
Gee, I hope they like me. I hope they don’t think I’m weird or desperate or really, really needy. I hope they don’t reject me. What if they all just text each other with mean notes about what a loser I am? What if they’re still laughing at me when our 100-year reunion rolls around?
Ah, the joys of high-school. Like Hotel California, you can never leave.
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Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.