My Class Reunion

benbois-graduationI called my buddy Stan to ask a question.

“Are you going to the class reunion?”

“What reunion?”

“The class of ’69. It’s our 50th this year.”

“Do you think they will let us in?”

He has a point.

Neither of us can recall how many times we were expelled from high school or even from which one, so the question of what reunion to attend remains open.

At least we have options.

Come to think of it, neither Stan nor I actually graduated. We took off hitch-hiking six weeks before the end of our senior year. Which raises the question: is a diploma a prerequisite for attending a reunion?

Regardless, we will still show up.

Most people attend reunions to reconnect with childhood friends, and that is motivation enough.

It certainly isn’t nostalgia.

But let’s not knock nostalgia. It is the very thing that proves God loves us. In his infinite wisdom, the almighty made the memory of pleasurable things so much more powerful than the memory of all the unpleasurable things we have endured.

Science back this up. It is sleep that makes us forget. During slumber the brain washes itself with waves of forgetting. Think of it as breakers crashing against a beach, eroding away the weakest and most unpleasant landmarks.

Which makes you wonder why anyone remembers high school.

So a reunion becomes like an archaeological expedition through all the things grace helped us forget.

So what is the point of attending, other than to meet old friends?

Perhaps it is to measure what we have become against what we once were.

Or to brag about what a big success we made of ourselves. This rarely works, it merely reminds others of what a jerk we once were and how little has changed.

But I want to go to reconnect with people I didn’t know all that well.

I want to meet the ones who never challenged authority, who never raised a fuss, who always kept their head down and did what was expected of them.

The quiet ones.

Back then, these kids were as invisible as dark matter but like the stuff that makes up the bulk of the universe, they made up the majority of the student body.

They never lettered in sports nor chaired a committee nor fretted over who was going with whom and how they could score an invite to a popular kid’s party.

They just soldiered on.

To be honest, in those days, I held contempt for people like that. I always wanted more than they did and was willing to make a fool of myself to get it. I could never do what they did, which was to take the easiest and most obvious path.

Now any nostalgia that I have for my high school days is tinged with regret. Not that things didn’t turn out well for me – but rather that it took so long and cost so much to get back to where I should have been in the first place.

“Stan?”

“Yeah?”

“If you had to do it all over again, what would you change?”

“Nothing.”

“Really?”

“Do overs never work.”

“Why not?”

“Because you only find new ways to screw up.”

[sigh]

“I suppose you are right.”