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5 Reasons Class Reunions are a Bad Idea

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No social gathering brings together more super concentrated hopelessness than the high school reunion.  For a few hours people in their near mid-lives meet and collectively regress to their teens.  It is truly a bewildering study in sociology and allow me to give you 5 good reasons why attending one should go to the bottom of your to-do list.

#5. You Will Be Remembered as the Person You WERE in High School

Great!  Ha!  I totally don’t mean that.

Back in the day I had a terrible way of dealing with girls and was well known for that trait.  I never just loved them.  I freaking LOVED them.  My overactive libido was my point of failure with the opposite sex.  I was a shy nice guy who would lift the girl of my affections to such goddess status that they felt completely freaked out.  But that was before I realized that Katie was just a trashy slut and that any girl who kisses Jeff… a 2-dimensional redneck best known for his observations on cattle…is worthy of having the pedestal kicked out from under her.  At that point the veil was lifted from my eyes and I realized all women were unredeemable whores.

But wait you say…what if I was the successful quarterback instead?   Then it’s worse, and wonderfully so.  Unless you own a sports team, you will be seen as someone who has gone backwards on the road to success.  Were you athletic but are now a fat-ass?  Got lots of money, but are also a divorced wreck?  How’s the hair baldy?  And if you still look good then obviously you have undiagnosed cancer.  You simply can’t win.  Taking solace in watching successful people fail is an American past-time.  And speaking of the race to the top…

#4.  Loser Contest

Like it or not, everyone in the room will be trying to give off the aroma of success to mask the stench of their life failures.   You’ll have a better chance getting the truth out of President Obama than you ever will out of a room full of 40-somethings trying to one-up each other for the grand prize of not being the biggest failure in the room.

For me the win is easy because everyone expected me to be 1) In Jail or 2) No-one remembers me.  The fact that I have a decent job, a wife, 4 kids who are normal ( usually ) and am capable of running a few miles already puts me on the “Holy Crap…he’s actually a surprisingly normal guy” level.  I can pretty much pop a cola and sit the whole pissing match out just for that reason alone.

That is until the music starts playing…

 #3.  Nostalgia is best left to daydreaming.

Face it fellow members of the 40-club, our once rebellious music is now on the oldies radio station.  Gun and Roses…GUNS and Mr. ROSES…the apex of metal attitude is now played in grocery stores and is less offensive than the Care Bear Countdown.   Well you can take the elevator music and crank it up because there will be overweight mid-lifers shaking their booty to “Hungry Like the Wolf” ad nauseam to as late as 10 o’clock at night!

Like everyone else my age, I roll up the car window and sing the lyrics to “Mr. Roboto” when driving to work ( Yes I do the motions too.  And I look spec-tac-u-lar. ).  It’s fun and I can escape the drudgery for a moment.  Privately it’s never a problem.  Collectively?  For reasons I cannot explain, a mental switch kicks in and a part of the group-brain shuts down.  The phenomenon is observable when Lionel Ritchie suddenly is cool and people are “Dancing on the Ceiling”.  You can always count on music to also bring back…

#2.  Those old emotions

Remember the time you stared in the yearbook at the cute girl’s face while listening to “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” and then in a fit of emotion tore your clothes off to carve her name in your chest with your little brothers scout knife?  Well I sure do.  The tender love of youth was so intimately linked to the music in such as way that really, should just be left right the Hell in the past.

So naturally when you see Joan after 25 years walk in to the sounds “It Must Have Been Love”, you’ll no doubt remember the incalculable number of times you pleasured yourself to her mental image while hiding in a closet and suddenly realize your brain has played its little trick on you by screwing with the old emotion black box.   But you laugh it off…silly brain got me again!   Just belch and have another low-fat tofu-dog and a Cherry Coke.  Play another song Mr. DJ!  Ha!

That’s how guys handle it.  But then you have the other side who I will for sake of argument call “single women”.  Their brains are going to a be a horrible mix of wild racoons and decaying estrogen which will make them easy prey for the winds of repressed emotion.  Throw in Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” and she’ll be clawing at every guy in the room like a chimpanzee in heat while being drunker than Captain Lou Albano.

This is turn will lead to someone’s offended wife telling her to “—- off b—h”.  A punch will be thrown and before you know it there will be babe-on-chick punching action like a WWE diva match.  Yes, punches.  That’s because by the time most women are 40 they’ve put that childish slap-fighting to rest and are now full-grown killing machines.  Pandemonium ensues.  But then again, I’m still chillin’ on the couch with my cola…gleefully taking pictures with my iPhone.

That is until a lone stranger casts a shadow over me…

#1.  I’m sorry man…

Being on the lower end of the social totem pole as a kid, I no doubt amassed a higher than average number of adversaries.  But I graduated, moved on and proceeded to pick them off one by one in ways no one could ever link to me.

The survivors however have proceeded to occasionally track me down in various ways such as Facebook and in doing so offer the, “Hey man, sorry about the times we took turns beating you with spiked aluminum bats dipped in poison and tossing your half-dead body in an unmarked grave” apologies.   The reason for such snivelling introspection is simple.  Closure…THEIRS.

Trust me, if you love apologies for the past then by all means attend a class reunion.  Feel free to revel in the awkward, painful mess that is watching a fat, aging and possibly pre-cancerous former bully trying to make peace for his past actions.  You might think it sounds cool, but it most assuredly is not.  Especially if you’re on the receiving end of it.

What happens on the playground years ago is fine and dandy enough, but seriously, do you really think I need to relive this crap 25 years later just so you can get your “hey, it’s ok right?” reprieve?  Has it been eating you up?   Got sad news for you: I’ve been doing fine for decades so I can’t say I gave a rats ass for one second about your inner turmoil.  Therefore the closure isn’t for me.  Closure is a just selfish need to feel better about yourself.  Screw closure my friend!   You should embrace that “prickishness” instead of tossing it aside.  Do you think Steve Jobs ever called anyone to say he was sorry?  Bah!  Your weakness to commit to your true nature offends me.

Look Doug, I don’t need your apologies.  I don’t WANT your apologies.  Knowing you live in a trailer with your cat has always been good enough.  What I want is a cold root beer and maybe share some laughs.  Because what happened happened, and it’s all in the past.  We’ll always have the crazy culture of our days to talk about.

Besides, I’ve already cut your brake lines.

© 2012 – 2015, Dysfunctional Parrot. All rights reserved. No reproduction of written material is permitted.

About Author

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.

  • M_Patterson

    I’m totally with you on that one. I’ve never been to a class reunion, if for no other reason than because I don’t want to have to explain what I’ve been doing for a living.
    Them: So what do you do for a living?
    Me: I study bacteria.
    Them: Really? What is it you do, exactly?
    Me: I put poop in a blender and run it on medium speed for about two minutes….
    Them: Excuse me, you do what?
    Me: Poop. I put your poop in a blender and mix it up so I can study it.
    Them: My poop?!
    Me: Yes, your poop. I received it through a complex network of pipes when you consigned it to me by flushing your toilet.
    Them (walking away, mumbling): Sick freak.
    On a slightly more serious note, I’ve found that class reunions are made obsolete by the internet. I can delve into the secret and mysteriously mundane lives of former schoolmates without developing any meaningful relationship in the process. So, you see, the result is the same. Plus, I have the added cover of having the same name as about fifty-thousand other people, all of whom feature more prominently than me, so I know that my classmates can never find out anything about me.
    Nice blog post, by the way. My wife came up behind me while I was reading. You had her hypnotized. It was hilarious. Nothing like a picture of women tackling each other to catch the eye.

  • Gerry K

    Someone once told me that everyone is a little freaky in their own special way. I like your way. Thanks for the laughs.

  • Ron

    Never gone to a reunion, never will, not even any social function related to high school. I left the whole experience in the rearview mirror 32 years ago. The real adult world has nothing to do with what was so important back then which boils down to trying to decypher the unwritten rules about fitting in and trying to fit in. I have grown up, away and beyond those times. My glory days were not 35 years ago trying to gain the approval and memory etching of fellow students. It’s chalked up to experience, it no doubt does play a role as to how we turn out as adults, but in reality, the whole thing just sinks farther down on the trash heap of history with each passing year.
    Now as a grandparent I do not really see the fun in going to some restaurant to see the blue eyeliner girls pose for pictures with pastel colored beverages, or the group hug pictures with the guys all holding scuffed beer bottles. The scanned copy of the color newspaper picture of “the big game” just cannot interest me.

  • Rick Redding

    What you say is absolutely true. I have no intention of ever going to a high school reunion. Ever.

    Those people never wanted to have anything to do with me while I was IN high school. WTF would I want to have anything to do with them, now? They were douche bags and assholes then, and they still are now…..except older, fatter, saggier, balder versions.

    • http://dysfunctionalparrot.com Dysfunctional Parrot

      Maybe. But people change. Plus it doesn’t help to hold on to resentment about things that happened years ago by people who were not fully developed mentally.

      • Rick Redding

        I am not at all nostalgic about high school and have no desire to relive the past. I abhor chit-chat and small talk, not to mention the rude, prying questions that are inevitably asked at such functions. It’s not a matter of “holding on” to anything. Having not seen any of those people in four and a half decades, I have far less in common with them now than I did at age 18.

  • Scott Korek

    Well, I’m the maroon who learned about High School Reunions the hard way! With my wife and daughter away one night, I decided to log on to Facebook. That was my first mistake! Then, almost immediately, that Facebook message noise “Bloop” comes through. It is Kim from Houston. We grew up together in Calgary, Alberta in Canada. We also went to High School together and I’ve always cherished our friendship. We are both long since married. She lives in Houston now with her family. She says, “Scott…coming to town in July this year. Kari, Liz and I were talking about a High School Reunion. Do you want to help us plan one?” The truth is that I don’t have enough time to plan breakfast in the morning, let alone a High School reunion!….but I lied, don’t know why to this day, and said, “yes, I’d be more than happy to help…yada, yada, yada…contact me when you are ready to plan!”. Then talking to myself, I think, “Hmmm, at 52 years of age, this reunion is absurdly overdue! If our class of 1981 didn’t plan a reunion yet, there must be a reason as to why one never developed, right Scott?.” Then, before I know it I am having a 4 way with 3 girls I knew from High School. Get your minds out of the gutter people! The multiple 4 ways that developed happened every Tuesday and Thursday night. They were Facebook chats between the 4 of us about planning the reunion. Then, I knew the financial issue had to be coming. All 4 girls tag teamed me saying, “There are 4 of us planning this. We need $400 from each of us to rent the community hall. Then we can go from there. Can we count on you?” I didn’t discuss it with my wife, which is a promise that we made regarding our finances. What did old wimpy boy Scott say but, “Yes girls, I will send you the money tomorrow!!” What? Have I lost my mind? That is not my nature at all. I’m talking to myself again…a bad sign! I say, “Come back to earth Scott. Unless you truly hate the women you married. you had better grow a new backbone…and in a hurry!” I am still in love, and who wants to start dating for the fist time in 25 years…thus, my new backbone?” So, we plan to make individual lists of guests and their contact information. Then, we are each to call /email or Facebook our contacts. Well, I worked my ass off for a solid week. I ignored my family, called people. emailed people and even messaged people. I somewhat keep in touch with people on Facebook. The 4 of us discussed in one of the initial 4 way conversations,, “People will be as hyped as we are about seeing old faces again…and I do literally mean old faces!” So, we thought we ought not overbook the community hall. Let’s just invite our friends from High School and their spouses/partners or a date…strictly no offspring of any age invited! So, I sent out about 60 invites figuring if I get 40 to come, and we each do that, then it will be a major success! My first recommendation is to NOT plan a reunion for July 25th…or the summer in general. I had people contacting me saying, “Sorry Scott, would love to come, but we go up to our cabin every weekend in the summer.” I would think, “Bloody robot yuppies and their funky, low rent district cabin lives! They have gone to and will continue to go to their TV advertised, mosquito ridden, “Cabins On The Shores Of Liberty Sloughs”, or something similar to that name of the cabin community. They are a mere 15 minutes west of Calgary. They will go this weekend, the Grad Reunion weekend and every spring, summer and fall weekend for the rest of their pitiful little lives!! On the other hand, you are invited to see ME and your friends from High School one night in your entire lives…and you are choosing your shitty little cabin a stone throw away from your home in the city! Gee, it must be nice to just pack up and get away from it all…every single weekend up in the barren wilderness…15 minutes from the city! You really must be surrounded by the tranquil highway noises, and love the abundant wildlife just 15 miles out of the city! I mean, seriously, “who are they kidding, but themselves?… and the other complete suckers who bought cabins next to the Calgary KOA camp?” They might as well just set up a tent or their 5 mile a gallon motorhome in their backyard, light a fire and say they went camping. Well, to try to cut to the chase, this line of excuses continued. I thought, “how peculiar that 90% of the people invited were all going to be out of town on that weekend.” I call B.S.! This is because I know a lot of people, both friends and family. I know of one family that is going to be out of town that weekend. Then there were the friends who simply didn’t answer the invitation either way. Then the straw that broke the camels back. Very close friends from High School messaged me on Facebook and said, “Oh, too bad, we would have loved to come, but The Calgary Folk Festival is on that weekend, We have tickets We will try to drop by later if we can..” So, I looked up the line up of The Calgary Folk Festival and who we were being passed up for on that Saturday night. Well, one of the headliners were, “The Milk Carton Kids”. That is when I threw up my arms, swore and ranted…swore and ranted…for at least 20 minute!. Okay, if I’m being passed over for “The Milk Carton Kids”, well screw all of them! We will cancel the hall and lose our money. We will find a nice bar and host a kick ass party for the 20 or so that said, “We would love to come.” We don’t need the survivalist couples out at their cabins or the Joan Baez crowd to have fun. A somewhat crude inside joke from High School that you may or may not get the gist of, but, “The Tuna Inspection Fleet” will float in formation one last time, but fewer of us than I hoped. We will actually have more fun without them! At least I keep telling myself that.

    • http://dysfunctionalparrot.com Dysfunctional Parrot

      That was a solidly entertaining story!

      As an Albertan myself, I too cringe at the idea of “camping” and swear it off every summer. I’d rather catch testicular ebola than camp anywhere in Alberta during July and August.

      Then again, it is preferable to a class reunion. :)