This time of year brings an avalanche of reunion invitations, usually from bored old classmates intent on bringing together friends and enemies from past school years.
For some it’s a time to go and brag about all of their accomplishments but for others it only brings back all the fears and shortcomings they may have felt in their formative years.
We all know we will have to face the football jocks, homecoming queens, valedictorians and other accomplished folk and unless they have had a real failure in life or a come to Jesus moment, we will be subjected to their incessant rants about both real and imagined accomplishments.
My 40th High School reunion is looming this summer and I recall the last one I attended brought new insight into how time is a great equalizer of all mankind. Hair had receded or disappeared, waistlines had expanded, faces had sagged, and perky chests were headed south like snow birds in winter.
For some of us this is a redeeming time: the most likely to succeed has failed, the most handsome is now a craggy old man and the most gorgeous girls now look like their grandmothers. That is unless they have Botoxed themselves into a shapeless, non-moving, J.C. Penny mannequin which is sad enough all by itself.
At my last reunion, one guy showed up with an actual Playboy model, driving a Jaguar and in clothes to match. He was the outcast of school as long as I can remember and made his millions running cameras down the sewers of Dallas. I was always friendly with Mark and I watched as he shunned the shunners of days past and we had a good time.
As people prepare to meet their peers, they attempt some physical improvement. These are easy to spot. They have newly dyed hair, new teeth, contact lenses, new too tight clothes, and gather around one another bragging about something that the rest of us care nothing about.
The rest of us sit apart from them, chatting about grade school mostly and passing pictures of our grandkids back and forth. Instead of bragging out our lives, we brag on our grandkids as they are the ones perfect in every way.
As I have the smartest, cutest and best granddaughter, I will easily outshine the rest of them. Score one for Dutch!
Some of my classmates I have been friends with on Facebook and so it’s not too shocking to see them again in later life. Most have changed immensely over the course of the years, some have passed on to a better place and a few look just like they did way back when.
My best friend Robbie and I probably look pretty much the same. I carry more weight of course due to a medical condition whereby I cannot close my mouth when food is present. So far there seems to be no cure for that so I suffer along with the rest of my classmates in that regard and won't have to feel like an outcast.
But, I am on a diet again and Trixie is trying to help me get fit once more. She is preparing for a snowboarding trip and wanted me to go along but I am not ready to die just yet so I declined.
I never thought I would enjoy going to reunions but being the one who retired at 51, I can let that little bit of information leak out to the appropriate sources and let the gossip mill do the rest for me.
And now since I have Trixie, old Mark won't be the only one there with a younger gorgeous woman. All those guys who had all the dates way back when can eat their hearts out watching us late bloomers strut our stuff.
I can nonchalantly drop hints about Trixie on Mount Everest or her best sellers which although they are her accomplishments, you don't get a woman like that unless you have something on the ball. You may not know what that is and I am quite curious myself but so far it’s working its magic for me.
Whatever your experiences in High School were, you can use this as a great opportunity to see old friends, shun old enemies and show them that even though they didn't think so at the time, you ended up doing quite well for yourself. If you don't have a lot to brag on for the last 40 years of living, do what our leaders do and lie.
This is the one time in life that lying is totally allowable. If close friends will be in attendance, be sure and coordinate your efforts to best utilize the time spent.
And if possible, hire a younger woman to go as your date. You wife will appreciate not having to go. Revenge is so sweet even if it is 40 years late.