This week I got a notice in the mail that my ten-year high school reunion is coming up next month. I’m not going. It’s being held at the fire company’s bingo hall in Clear Spring (about a three minute walk from where I grew up) and there’s a $15/person cover charge — but that’s got nothing to do with it.
I have some very fond memories of high school, but those aren’t years I long to recapture. With a few exceptions, most of my classes were a waste of time — I still have very little understanding of college-level algebra, and don’t even get me started on gym class (. . . I struck out during a whiffle ball game, for Christ’s sake) — and the few really close friends I had have either moved away or aren’t friends any longer. I spent most of my free time writing, brooding, and listening to Verve Pipe albums. A typical adolescence for a guy of my generation, I guess.
A couple years ago it hit me that almost none of the things that were important to me as a teenager amount to shit today. My career plans have shifted (from underpaid overnight convenience store employee to public school teacher), my personal life has improved radically (from pining for most of my teens and early twenties over Stephanie Lohn to spending the three happiest years of my life with the brilliant and radiant Ashley), and my parents are both much cooler people than I ever imagined they were back then. I thought that the best thing anyone could ever do for a teenager would be to tell them that in five or ten years, most of the shit that they’re worried about now won’t even matter to them. But that wouldn’t help many troubled teens, I guess. I know some adult informing me “None of the shit that’s important to you is gonna count for shit in a few years!” wasn’t what I wanted to hear back then.
So yeah, not much reason to go to the high school reunion, let alone shell out fifteen bucks for the privilege. I was with my parents when I opened the invitation, and asked Dad if he’d gone to any of his reunions. “My first, five-year reunion,” he said. “I never went to any of the others.” I asked him why not and he said, “I couldn’t stand most of those assholes in high school. Why would I want to go see them now?” I’m pretty close to Dad on this one. I thought Mike Yeakle was a prick ten years ago. Do I really need to show up at the reunion to make sure he’s still a prick?
My class reunion is scheduled for Monday, June 30th. That’s the day of our monthly anime club meeting at the library in Smithsburg. I think I’ll have a better time watching Japanese cartoons with Ashley and the kids. I doubt they’ll be showing Cowboy Bebop at the bingo hall.