My sister has a gift.
She left a comment on yesterday’s post about my disdain for high school reunions that said, “Hopefully, none of the lurkers here went to high school with you.”
I laughed nervously but blew off her concern. I literally haven’t had any contact with anyone from my graduating class since 1994, the year I graduated college and moved away from Minnesota. I try to keep this blog fairly anonymous, without too many identifying places or features. If someone from my high school reads this blog, I figured, it would be totally coincidental.
So imagine my horror when I saw a comment on Twitter yesterday, linking to this post, from one of my high school classmates. A few other classmates quickly joined the Twitter-sation. Most were not amused by my original characterization (you might say caricaturization) of the reunion as a drunken snoozefest for washed up 30-year-olds trying to relive the glory days.
And truthfully, my original post was a bit harsh. I was writing tongue-in-cheek, but I know that doesn’t always translate well to the written word, especially if you aren’t here everyday innoculating yourself against my brand of humor.
So I went back and edited my original post to remove the over-the-top elements, and in the process, I ended up liking it more now than when I first posted it, because it refined what I was trying to say. Which is: I have nothing against high school reunions. I am not the Janeane Garofalo character from “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion,” the embittered loner who was so ignored during high school that now, she can only snarl for a living.
(One of the most quoteable movies of all time, by the way. If you haven't seen it, do so. Quirky but perfect.)
High school wasn’t miserable for me nor was it the highlight of my life. It was just two years of sitting in classrooms, passing time. So of course, the reunion is a non-event for me.
To use an analogy (because I’m the Analogy Queen): Imagine that I ate dinner last weekend at Outback. Maybe it was a beautiful evening. I might have eaten outside on the patio and enjoyed fantastic service and a gorgeous sunset and a sangria that was everything a sangria should be. Now imagine I got an invitation for a reunion of all the people who ate on the Outback patio last weekend, because to some people, that night was so much fun, they want to remember it. But for me? It was just another night out eating steak.
So reunion or no reunion. Do whatever you want. It's no big deal to me.
What does chap my hide a little, though, is the way our culture glorifies the high school experience to the point of enshrining it. Reunions sometimes feed this myth. Countless TV shows, songs and movies tell us the teenage years are the best years of our life.
I beg to differ.
I enjoyed my teen years, thanks to my friends at youth group. Launching into the adult world was exhilarating. It’s like a baby eagle learning to fly. Up. Down. Catch a current. Spiral to the ground. Dip and curve. Hit my head. Bruise a wing. Try again.
But since those days, I have grown up and learned to soar. I enjoy my life more each year. To portray high school as the peak of existence is a great tragedy to me. It’s only the beginning.
Teenagers already believe they are the center of the universe. It just comes with the territory. How about we tell them that life as a teenager is just a phase, and the best part of life is still ahead?
Because it is.
(And to any of my classmates who are going to the reunion this weekend, have a great time. And don’t forget to designate a sober driver.)
(Kidding! There’s that humor again! Sorry. I’ll stop now.)