October 21, 2003

Class Reunions

Posted by shonk at 02:06 AM in Ramblings | TrackBack

I've always thought class reunions are odd phenomena. I suppose the idea behind them is that, by attending, you get a chance to see all the people you didn't keep in touch with after high school/college that you wish you had. But I think that's the optimistic side of me talking. I suspect the bigger draw is the opportunity to see all the people you didn't like while you were in school, with the secret hope that they've been failures with their lives. I mean, it was common knowledge that the bully would turn out to be a criminal, rapist and child-molester, right? So why not go to the class reunion and see for yourself? Not to rub it in his face, mind you, because you're way too mature for that, but just to prove to yourself that you were right all along, that you were much better off not hanging out with him (conveniently ignoring the fact that you didn't choose not to hang out with him - nothing would have made you happier - but rather that you were too shy or uncool to try). Or maybe the appeal is just to reassure your permanently damaged psyche that, subconsciously, you knew that the whole "cool" thing was so shallow, again conveniently ignoring the fact that your insecurities were just as shallow.

At any rate, I guess what I'm trying to say is that the majority of us are constantly trying to justify our past behavior, even if just to ourselves, and that maybe class reunions are an exponent of that.

Now, I know that there are probably a lot of people that go with the sole intention of seeing the people they used to enjoy hanging out with, but not quite enough to stay in touch. Not having ever been to a class reunion, I don't know. And I'm sure there are others that are still friends with lots of old classmates and decide to go as a group, knowing that, at the least, they'll have fun hanging out together. But I have to imagine there's a strong desire among many to show people "I may not have been cool in high school, but look how successful I am now" or to see the mighty brought low.

Why am I rambling about class reunions when I haven't even passed the fifth anniversary of my high school graduation? Well, in the class news being circulated by Sewanee, I just found out that the most annoying person I've ever met is now engaged. Now, this is the kind of guy that would specifically send that information to the alumni office just to prove to all the people he graduated with what a successful guy he is, in graduate school and engaged to a sweet Southern girl. And I, for one, hope she's either very sweet or very crazy, because otherwise she's going to be miserable. Anyway, he's the guy everyone hated that would show up at a class reunion just to rub everyone's face in what a success he is (not that a master's degree from a third-tier school is going to impress much of anyone), which is what got me started on this rant in the first place.

So, you see, it's not all sports and pseudo-intellectualism; we try to round it out with some good old-fashioned gossip, too.