Oh, No! Not Another School Reunion!

18 Aug

There are two kinds of people: those who attend school reunions and those who do not. My wife does, while I don’t, proving once again that opposites attract.

Next month Cathie will fly to California to attend her 40th high school reunion. Although I graduated the same year as she did from a nearby school, which is also having a shindig for its aging alumni, I won’t be going. In fact, according to a forwarded message I received yesterday from a distant acquaintance, I’m on a “missing alumni” list and am being urged to become “found.”

I’ll stay firmly, resolutely AWOL, thanks just the same.

In my defense, if you can call it that, I also did not attend my college graduation ceremonies for either of my degrees. I didn’t even go to Cathie’s college graduation. (I stayed home and prepared the party, so I got a pass from her. Although I probably would have devised another excuse, if the party planning pose hadn’t worked.) I am, at least, consistent in my rejection of the forced frivolity foisted on us by our alma maters.

You might think I hated school, but you’d be wrong. In high school I was reasonably popular, elected to student council and even voted in as student body vice president in my senior year. In college I succeeded in both undergrad and grad schools. I have no complaints, so you might wonder why I reject all attempts to woo me back to campus to celebrate my past.

First, and this is probably common among those of us who decline to be “active alumni” for our old schools, I don’t know any of the people there. Oh, sure, I know their names and I may be able to conjure a connection between a face 40 years later and a nametag, but I do not know the individuals behind the tags and the smiles. And the best I’ll be able to do to get to know them is listen to a laundry list of their deeds since graduation. Jobs. Kids. Grandkids. Homes. Vacations. Illnesses. Deaths. Just a litany of facts that do not actually tell me who these strangers are.

Worse, I’ll be expected to rattle off the facts of my life. While possibly interesting to a listener, to me they reveal little of who I am as an individual, and I get bored just imagining myself talking about my past. I am much more engaged in my today than in my yesterdays.

Finally, I don’t like the con game being foisted on former students. School administrators like reunions because they get to lengthen their list of potential donors. To the school, reunions are just another revenue pump primed with nostalgia.

I know Cathie will have a fine time at this reunion just as she has had at all the others she has attended. However, she tells me that before her 20th reunion, which I had declined to escort her to, and in an alleged inebriated state, I had promised to take her to her 50th reunion. Believe me, I’m already working on my excuse. It will be a doozy.

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One Response to “Oh, No! Not Another School Reunion!”

  1. Lee Fowler August 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    One was enough. Never again. And you’re totally right on in your assessment about why you don’t go.

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