Monday, August 24, 2009

Class Reunion

A week ago I went to a High School Class Reunion - a picnic in a park in my hometown. When the classmate organizing it first sent me an e-mail, I got kind of nostalgic, and spent a couple of days watching the openings of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid... you know, the HAWAII 5-0 theme still rocks. I’m sure part of the nostalgia thing was that I also had a birthday coming up - and it would be birthday and class reunion almost back-to-back. Now that both are in the past, it’s time for me to start thinking about the future again... and get back to work.

Oh, but that class reunion...

I attended my 10 year class reunion, but none of the others. Because I was still living and working in my home town, the 10 year wasn’t a big deal. I saw many people from high school in the grocery store or where they worked. And people hadn’t really changed that much - everyone was still on their first spouse. Some people had kids... but some people had kids (or were pregnant) their senior year of high school. The one person I most wanted to see at my 10 year was my friend Daryl, who got into all kinds of mischief with me (and Todd, and others) in high school. We pulled all kinds of pranks and found new ways to rebel against the world - we commandeered room 312 and took it as our student lounge. This involved changing the locks on the door. We organized the pot smoking kids to sit on the roof over the faculty lounge and blow smoke into their air vent. Because back in those old days you needed a hall pass to be anywhere on campus when class was in session, we, um, found the spare time stamp machine and the box of hall passes and created our own. I’m sure the statute of limitations applies to all of these crimes, now... or maybe I’ll be blogging from jail for a while.

Most of our pranks were just small every-day things - pushing someone’s car across the parking lot to another space and then trying to convince them that they had parked it there, putting a notice in the faculty lounge to bring cookies or cupcakes for everyone in your 3rd period class (for some reason the teachers who fell for this and brought cupcakes for the class were never *my* teachers or Daryl’s teachers or Todd’s teachers). The strangest prank we did - and it was ongoing - was to *dress* the statue in the school library. The old librarian had this statue of - some Greek dude, I forget who, now - and it was he wanted everyone to respect the statue... which meant we had to come up with some prank to disrespect it. So, once or twice a month we would create a diversion to keep the old librarian occupied as we dressed the statue in clothes we bought from Goodwill. That old Greek dude was in drag half the time, sometimes in School Colors before a big football game, but always wearing something weird. At first the old librarian would freak out and remove the clothes, screaming at anyone in the library about the sacrilege... but the next day we’d get the statue dressed again, and eventually the old librarian just gave up. But he still ranted it all the time and eventually quit - so they hired a cool new librarian, Dot Caveny, who like the statue dressed in strange clothes. We continued dressing the statue until we graduated, and then some other kids took over. Besides coming up with many of these pranks, I was never without a special notebook where I was writing a fictionalized version of our antics as a novel. I still have all of those notebooks in storage somewhere.

When Daryl was a no-show at the 10 year reunion, we joked that he was probably either on the road to making his first million or in prison for conning a millionaire. Every year when I drive back to my hometown from Los Angeles, I go to many of my old haunts and used to bump into Dot Caveny at TR’s Bar & Grill in Concord. A bunch of teachers used to hang out there after work, and she was in that group. One year I drove up just to go to her birthday party there. We would talk of the old days, and debate whether Daryl had made his first billion by now or was up for parole. Had to be one of the two - he was too intelligent and too clever to be working some boring normal job. Well, TR’s closed - it’s now a pizza joint - and I haven’t seen Dot in years. I hope she’s okay.

Oh, but that class reunion...

I haven’t seen Daryl since graduation, and he was supposed to attend this reunion. Which meant, I had to be there.

And all of us are going to be, you know, old.

Well, here’s what I learned from going to this reunion - people age at different rates. These people are all the same age as I am (give-or-take) yet some looked and acted old and others were still full of energy and could have passed for at least a decade younger than they were. The hot busty high school cheerleader? Still pretty hot! I imagine if you removed her bra at this point (something I fantasized about often while in high school), they’d hit the floor and bounce, but she still looked great - and was flirty and the same firecracker she was many years ago. The school stud - still on the prowl. He was hitting on every woman there... and he looked great. Probably some Just For Men products involved, though. One thing that’s funny - people still hung out with their old cliques (leaving the braniac social misfits to talk amongst ourselves for much of the time). Another thing that was interesting was that most of the guys have jobs where they do some form of manual labor for a living - though at this point they usually supervise others doing the labor. Our high school seemed to produce people who do remodels or put in pools and jacuzzis or repair cars. Not a lot of computer programmers or dot-com millionaires. Bill Gates did not go to my high school.

As the reunion progressed, we realized we were all waiting for Daryl’s entrance. Would he drive up in a limousine from his LearJet which landed at Buchanan Field? Would a prison van pull up and release him, in shackles, to attend the reunion but keep him from wandering any further than his chains allowed? Would he zoom in wearing a jet pack? Would he show up with Lindsey Lohan on one arm and a champagne glass in hand? What if he’d had full identity changing plastic surgery and we didn’t recognize him? It was difficult enough to recognize some of the people at the reunion, just because they looked, you know, old.

As we waited for Daryl to show, we swapped stories about him. One of the gals talked about how he was her lab partner, and kept breaking beakers and petri dishes... and *she* had to go get the replacements so that he wouldn’t get in even more trouble. I told about the time Daryl “borrowed” his dad’s prized Cadillac and we swiped some little flags from the Veteran’s Graveyard and taped them to the front and rear of the Caddy, and “motorcaded” through town, trying to see how many cars would move to the side of the road to let us pass by. Everyone had a great story about the legendary Daryl...

But as the sun began to set and the reunion picnic broke up, Daryl still had not arrived. He was either buying the Oakland As as an investment, or they wouldn’t release him from that Federal Prison because they needed him to play tennis against Bernie Madhof's Federal Prison’s tennis team. Whatever the reason, we all left having not seen him... but still having experienced the fun he had brought into our lives many years ago. He was a real character - and maybe it’s better that we didn’t get to see the 9-5 married-with-two-kids version that he may have become. Daryl is a legend who will live on in all of our memories, even when the hot cheerleader starts to look like an apple doll.

I wish I could *create* a character than interesting and dynamic and memorable.

Classes On CD - Recession Sale!
Blue Books are back!
- Bill


TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: What's your story? and the mess that is DREAMCATCHER.
Movies: Though I haven't seen many movies, I have seen DISTRICT 9, and tomorrow I'll share my thoughts on it.

Meanwhile, films to avoid on UK's M4M2 Channel...

8/25 - 15:30 - Steel Sharks - When a United States submarine is seized by terrorists, a rescue attempt by Elite Navy Seals goes awry. The submarine crew wages a silent war beneath the waves in this tense undersea thriller.

8/28 - 14:15 - Crash Dive - The crew of a nuclear submarine rescues supposed victims of a boat disaster, but the victims turn out to be terrorists intent on capturing nuclear weapons aboard the sub.

8/29 - 18:30 - Black Thunder - When the world's most powerful stealth jet fighter falls into enemy hands, only one man can get it back. Starring Michael Dudikoff.

I am so sorry.

- Bill


Martin_B said...

You are so right about people aging at different rates.

I have never been to a high school reunion because I have no good explanation for my lack of success (and anyway I live 1,000 km away), but a couple of months ago I bumped into an old classmate.

This guy is the same age as me. I am 61 and think I look 55, but he looked like a healthy 45-yr-old. Maybe it's my 25 years of smoking and drinking to excess, or maybe it's genetic. His sister was rated the most beautiful girl in our sister school, so I guess he's got those good genes some people get. Lucky bastard. He looked happier and richer than me too.

I am *definitely* never going to a high school reunion.

JabberWocky said...

There never was a Daryl, was there Bill...

eXTReMe Tracker