Monday, March 16, 2015

High School Reunion


   I know quite a few folks that are pretty pumped-up about going to their high-school reunion.  For those non-Americans it's pretty much a small gathering of a graduating class of 12th grade which is the last federally required grade to complete as education (unless a trade-school is attended).  Often, students go on to learn a trade or college from that point on.  The end of grade 12 is punctuated with a "prom" (oddly short for "promenade") dance and a graduation ceremony a few weeks afterwards.  The film Grease (1978) focuses a good part on the 12th grade of a standard American high-school in the 1950s.  When I graduated in 1987 it was somewhat similar, and honestly the basic themes are still in-tact on a rudimentary level.  I was more the bad-guy from the gang The Scorpions though, played by under-rated Dennis Stewart.  I think it's time for that movie to be made from their point-of-view.
Arch-enemy to John Travolta, "Craterface" from Grease (1978)

     The High School Reunion is a gathering of that graduating class, usually performed at 5-year intervals (for some reason).  My graduating class was over 670 students.  I believe the attendees of my 20th reunion was about 30 or so, judging by some photos.  I've never gone, though I did go to my prom, and it was storybook perfect, and my graduation, complete with square-cap toss, freeze-frame at the end.. paused panned-shot and music from Tears for Fears, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" with scrolling credits, straight out of the epic cult-film of the time, Real Genius (1985).

I feel bad for girls in the '80s.  Time to do hair: 784 hours and 2 cans of Aquanet.
   I can see the lure in some ways.  The same students went to each of the same classes for 4 years running, give-or-take.  Some cliques were formed, of course.  When you think about it, however, 4 years really isn't that much of a time, and honestly there were so many classes one could take, literally over 100 possibilities per-year, that conjunction of fellow students of your same graduating year were fairly rare.  If you consider class time-off that existed as holiday-time, such as spring and summer break, winter break, snow days (for us in the Northern climates), national holidays, I worked out that the average number of 8-hour days at school was about 170 days or so. 

When rappers sang, "Be cool, stay in school!" and weren't about killing cops.
    Do the math and you get 1.8 years total time you actually see these people at school.  I've worked part-time jobs longer than that.  Not even 2 years!  I look back at my USAF time, or even the job I'm at now with a rather gigantic monolith of a space-systems mega-corporation and I've been at my current job since 2009, and the USAF as a whole since 1993!  Looking at 1.8 years it seems rather pathetic an amount of time.


Tango and Cash (1989)
     Now in the "Reunion" defense, sure, those days are rather jarring.  There's a lot of "growing up" in various ways, social interaction, etc.  I bet some of you readers can remember specifics here and there, I'm sure, but in the end, that time was fairly inconsequential.  There are elements that stick with us, that defined us a bit during that time, and I'd hazard more so than the number of years at your current job.  Still, looking at it pragmatically, it makes no sense to even value a reunion.  I mean, who were these kids?  Heck, they themselves were still trying to figure themselves out.

Aww.. ching CHOW!

  One fun thing is the curiosity of how they actually developed.  Often, most people are not at all the same as they were when they were seventeen, or at least I hope not, lest we all have Asperger's in some derelict Mirror Universe world (though I might know a fellow or two that act that way a bit).
     We see the cliche examples of people living their heyday from high school, peaking there.  It's classic.  Hollywood gives us Al Bundy from Married..With Children of course, Rob Lowe cleverly acts it in a current commercial.  When I was younger and saw that, I could understand it a bit.  I saw some folks who actually did peak there, such as the quarterback guy, or some other jock or bookworm.  I could get it in the sense that, "Yeah, those guys did peak then.  Huh.  Ah well." and move-on.  At age 45 now, there are those who are still there though, and it's horrifying to me like in Stephen King's Needful Things the guy with the letterman jacket.  I'm sure there are some who actually still have theirs, holding on desperately to it for some sentimental value.  They haven't moved-on.  They can't.
80's Robot from The Muppets offering a crisp, cool Tab cola.

    Ultimately, I bet a lot of guys who go are trying to one-up everyone else though.  Sure, they'll find the "peaked in high school" fellows wearing their letterman jackets but not in an ironic way but as a badge of honor somehow.  Instead, guys will braggart houses, cars, jobs, wives, wealth, fame, etc.  Perhaps public-office holdings, meager as it stands, or perhaps something like a sports-hero.  Me, I don't really need that.  In the end, I would only disappoint those trying to play this trump-card one-uppance.  I could lie, and say I don't work for a major space conglomerate, or that I help keep World War 3 at-bay, or on and on and on.  I've had a very rich life and I'm proud of it, better than most, worse than some in a few aspects perhaps, maybe (doubtful). 

Lord Mastermind's world domination eminent, using.. THE COMPUTER!
    Hungry wolves desperate for respect in an easy field of sheep, really.  I don't need to earn strangers' respect.  I happily stand with dignity, though not smugly.  I stand humbly and content.  I don't brag about my military time.  I could, and that fruit is tempting.  I've mentioned it to a scant few, but a lot of my endeavors were a bit classified, but good things were done and I got to be an angel on occasion (as well as Becky, and the East Coast down to Florida can thank her for that Soviet ruse in 2006 and I need not say more about that). 


You like what ya see, baby?
   I find those who go on and on about their military past often were administration or did other bland paperwork or were support in some way, though not all the time.  Some have humility on the matter regardless.  I met a guy who I met who was going on and on about how he used to be in Space Command, just like me, and I had asked what squadron he was in as a frame of reference.  He eventually admitted he was in an odd one I had never heard of.  Turns out he paved roads for a space base by tapping-down asphalt like a construction worker for the DOT. 

Standard '80s high-school fashion.  When in Rome!

  Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but why put on airs trying to say he's a space-command'er when he never wore the space-jammies (flight suit)?  He was a civil engineer and should be proud about that instead of dressing it up to everyone.

Uncle Rico as King Vidiot in Joysticks

Alyssa Milano in Teen Steam (1988)
  Whatever we do in life, be it a cook, an astronaut, or a gaylord, just be the best that you can be at it.  Be proud of your efforts, and the only respect you have to earn is that inside yourself!  Man, this is coming-off like a Public Service Announcement.. and that's one to grow on!


Oh, a little eye-candy then... '80s style...

Her daddy ain't home.


And for the ladies, The HOFF!

When in Rome!