Wednesday, March 22, 2006

#121 - Seeing Through Graduated Lenses

Back when I was yet a lad, my mother was informed of her high school's 30th reunion. My memories are fuzzy about whether she actually attended. I want to say she went to one, perhaps her 25th, but Mom would have to verify that for me.

Whether or not she went to an actual reunion, I thought it not at all unreasonable for Mom to be having such a thing as a 30th reunion. After all, I had grown and was out of the house by then. Furthermore, Mom was old enough to be having 30th reunions. It all just sort of fit.

The other day, whilst worrying about losing a lung due to bronchitis, I received a phone call. "This is the Royal High Reunion Committee letting you know that we'll be having our 30th Reunion this summer!" He said this in the tone of voice reserved for the very same telemarketers we have forever banished from our phone. You know... the ones who want to give you a Free Prize! No obligation! All we ask is that you listen to a brief (as measured by a calendar) presentation after which we will HOLD YOU HOSTAGE UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND THE BENEFITS OF TIME-SHARE VACATION CONDOS!

He continued. "We just wanted to make sure that you're the same Woody who used to live in Simi Valley and graduated from Royal in 1976." Hmph. Well, you found me. "Great! Can I update your address so we can send you an invitation?" Oh, why not. Beats having you buy it from a telemarketer.

So I gave him my address. Today the invitation arrived. It sits, unopened, on my dining room table. I feel safe having it sit on that table right now, because the table has become a black hole. This is because the Woodyettes have piled enough toys and paper-doll materials on top of it to increase its mass to roughly the weight of a small planet, and it now has its own gravity. I feel thus assured that the invitation will either disappear into the void, or, at the very least, be prevented from being opened due to the flap of the envelope weighing now about 900 pounds.

But of course you know what will happen. One day I will innocently pass the table which Mrs. Woody will have cleared off so she can hold school there. The invitation will see me heading for the little Programmer's room where I will be intending to catch up on some crucial study materials. Instead, the invitation will leap into my hands, and I will read it while sitting on my "thinking chair," and suddenly the house will quake at the sound of my desperate wailing, "NOOOOOoooooo!!!"

Because let's face it; the last thing I want to do is find out how all those stoners from my youth have fared in life to this point. This was The Seventies. The Seventies were the devil-spawn children of The Sixties. You were either stoned, gonna be stoned, or getting a buzz from all the stoners sitting next to you in class. This explains disco and platform shoes. The Seventies were bad enough to spawn their own hideous retro TV series. That's how bad it was. So the thought that I might actually come face-to-face with that particular part of my past is, shall we say, somewhat less than palatable.

I spent most of the Eighties recovering from the Seventies. I was both a jerk and a geek in high school. Despite that, I somehow managed to create a reasonably normal life for myself after I graduated. Two years in the Mayan high country had something to do with it. I have no idea how the kids who burned 30% of their brain cells before they graduated would have done that. Lots of beer and Dr. Phil, is my guess.

And there's one more haunting question about this so-called "reunion." When did I ever become old enough to be having a 30th reunion, huh? Tell me, huh? I AM NOT THAT OLD. Not by a long shot. At most, I should be having, oh, a 15th reunion, or even (I'll be generous here) a 20th. But not a 30th.

'Course, I do have 22 years with my company right now, and if you count my starter marriage I would have been married, lessee... it'll have been 22 years this year, not counting my year in de-tox before marrying Mrs. Woody. I also have a son who's nearly 19 now... and a daughter who is, well, older than that...


So, okay, I guess 30 is not such a far-fetched number at that. Come to think of it, when Mom's school had its 30th reunion, Mom was still pretty much a spring chicken. Not really all that old. Still had kids at home (this isn't saying much... she had to get re-married and move to Texas last year before she didn't have kids at home), and the first grandchild was still a year away...

Alright. 30th reunions are no big deal. So I'm nearly 48 this year. So what? Lots of people are turning 48 this year. In fact, at this age I command a certain amount of respect in the world. I have experience, doggone it. I've been around, Bucko... I could teach you a thing or two! Yeah! Let's hear it for the Not Quite Senior set! Who cares if I got a 30th reunion invitation? Not me, I'll tell ya that!

'Course, I still won't go. After all, I still have my pride.

No comments: