Class of 1996

Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, the odometer rolled ’round to a full decade since I graduated high school. It’s an anniversary that I would probably have managed to ignore, were it not for the slim green flyer that my parents thoughtfully forwarded on to me last week. “Remember when…” it reads in part, “‘the Macarena’ heated up dance floors”?

Of course I do, but is that really the best way to pitch a high school reunion? After all, like flannel shirts with denim collars (also mentioned), some things should just stay buried.

Yet this little green sheet keeps popping back to my thoughts. It makes me recall — vaguely — my time as a (nominal) Senior Class officer. At 18, you see, I was greatly in favor of the idea of a class reunion. “We’ve seen the start of the movie,” I liked to tell people when the subject came up, “then we’ll get a chance to see how it all turned out.”

In fact, I made other plans partly based on this worldview. When I also served that year as editor-in-chief of the school yearbook, I made the decision (along with the faculty adviser, who was in full agreement) to spike all the “best”/”most” voting.

True, this was mostly because I hated what those sorts of popularity polls did to those who didn’t make the cut. Why bother to enshrine “best smile”, “most likely to succeed”, “most athletic” and all that in print when everyone knew the pecking order, anyway?

But to a degree I was also thinking of those on whom the titles were bestowed. Would the “mostly likely to succeed” person be most likely to ditch the reunion if (s)he wasn’t doing something impressive? I would have expected so.

Anyway, fast forward to the present, and my plotting as a youngster seems all but irrelevant. I’m not even sure that I want to go this thing.

Well, maybe to see who else turned out a ‘mo…

9 Responses to “Class of 1996”

  1. john Says:

    true story:

    i was out in high school. and throughout my experience, there was this little wench of a kid who always felt the need to pick on me and harass me because of my sexuality.

    and then a few years out of high school, my best friend, who was two years my senior, attended her five-year reunion at the same school.

    lo and behold, at the funtion she chatted up one of her classmates. the older brother of my one-and-only tormentor.

    he had left boston and moved to west hollywood, and was blowing soap actors as a side job to his waiter gig.


  2. jsp Says:

    Ha! So did you have a 5yr? Did you go? I bet he skipped.

    Which only goes to illustrate my point — I think the people with really interesting outcomes are going to skip. The successful ones will be too busy to come back from being a doctor/living abroad/making fabulous money/whatever, except perhaps for a few insufferable ones who want to flaunt how well they’re doing. The serious fuckups won’t want to show their faces either, for obvious reasons.

    Which leaves the well-meaning middle. Solid, average jobs, appropriate (opposite-gender) partners, perhaps a mortgage and a munchkin or two, and of course those “I work at a desk now” extra pounds. All of which is fine, it’s just not me — at least not at present. (OK, maybe the extra pounds.)

    Naturally, having prejudged the whole thing, I’ll skip it and hear later that one of my classmates who’s now working as a stripper showed up and set the building on fire…

  3. chulbert Says:

    Just go. Accept it for what it is and isn’t and you’ll have a good time, maybe even a great time. And if you don’t, it’s a day or two out of your life that you’ll forget a week later.

    Or are you one of those “insufferable ones” that won’t go in order to imply you’re one of the “interesting ones”? 😉

  4. jsp Says:

    I think that’s good advice, Chad, but I probably would regret it a week later, and here’s why: I’m a wuss. Unlike the rockstar Mr. Moore above, I was not out in high school, as you may recall — in fact I was at the stage that I didn’t even find it that odd that I found both boys and girls attractive.

    So I’d probably take the path of least resistance and glide right past the dating question, choosing dodges over the “well, actually…” response. It will seem considerate and non-confrontational at the time, given my tiny class size (everyone in school really did know everyone else) and the fact that my parents still live in town.

    Later, when I get back here, I’ll no doubt be totally annoyed with myself for punking out.

    But I’m thinking about it…

  5. b Says:

    Maybe I’ll be your date 🙂

  6. jsp Says:

    In that case, I’d totally go.


  7. Simon Says:

    Ah High School Reunions. I’m not even sure if my school had one, the British are far less into Proms, and Reunions and the trillion other things North Americans view as the fundamental parts of high school.

    I suspect there never was one.

    I wouldn’t have gone if there was for the simple reason that I hated every last one of those assholes and thier small zero horse town mentality. Consider me the Steve Buschemi character from Billy Madison, just sittin here idly polishing my sniper rifle, reapplying my nice red lipstick…

  8. mjg Says:

    If I can make it I’ll go to mine. I am curious as to how everyone has turned out and most of my correspondences ceased when I stopped AIMing (somewhere after freshman year ISU). So most of the news I get now is when my mom passes along info from the newspaper like wedding announcements and arrests.

    Of course lots of people I’d be interested in seeing again won’t make it. I’m guessing b (b: I’m not in the yearbook, am I?) will be one of those….

  9. Joel Says:

    My high school reunion is not-so-coincidentally coming up this summer, too. Rather than dreading it, though, I’m actively encouraging it! Being on the planning committee means, if nothing else, I’ll get the music played that I want played. There were lots of cool people in my class, too; “cool” in the sense of “worth knowing and conversing with,” not “smear the socially inept.” Sure, I have plenty of crappy high school memories like all of you, but nostalgia is inexorably wiping them out.

    Plus, statistically there must be at least one unattached girl at the reunion who wants to hook up with me. And if that girl is someone I had a huge crush on back in the day, that will scientifically prove the existence of karma.

    FD wasn’t that small, was it, John? Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find more classmates playing on Team Pink than you thought, classmates who are so fun to talk to and dance with, that you’ll ditch Brandon at the punchbowl without a second thought.

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