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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

I remember, when I was a child, my mom got an invitation to her 20 Year High School Reunion. I also remember thinking, "wow she must be really old if it's been 20 years since she graduated high school."

Funny thing, I don't remember if she actually went or not. We were living in Buchanan, VA, and her reunion was in Pineville, LA. She went to visit her family nearly every summer though, so she probably did go. I don't remember her talking about it all that much after the invitation, so who knows. (I guess I could ask her.)

Fast-Forward 31 years later and now I'm the one feeling old. I got an email from Classmates, informing me about my upcoming 20 year reunion. I'm in a similar situation as my mom... my reunion is in Buchanan, VA and I'm living in Minneapolis, MN.

I honestly don't know if I want to go or not.  I couldn't wait to get out of that town as a kid, and while I've visited Buchanan over the years (it's been a WHILE) it's mostly been a fairly depressing experience. I can count on one hand the number of people I care about that still live there.  On the other hand, I don't have enough fingers to count all the people I hope I never see again.

(To quote Marilyn Manson, "I wasn't born with enough middle fingers" and when I think of my high school years, it's true.)

High school really, really sucked. Some folks will tell you it did for everyone, but I honestly don't think so. I think there were a few folks who genuinely enjoyed it, mostly because they were making other's lives a living hell.

I'm pretty much at the top of my game right now, things are going well, and life is good. In high school, not so much. I was in trouble a lot. I skipped school constantly, was failing most* of my classes and didn't have very many friends. Had the concept of "Columbine" existed back then, I would have been a prime suspect.

(*by most, I mean all but 1. I had A's in my computer class, thank you.)

I didn't have a girlfriend for most of high school (unlike the redneck jock assholes who picked their future wives from the rising 8th graders), I wasn't a pothead, or a redneck, or a jock. I was smart, but a classic underachiever, so I didn't really fit in with the brainy kids either. I kind of floated from group to group to group... typically on the fringe, but with 1-2 friends in each social circle.  I had my own little band of misfits. A skater punk, an artist/filmmaker, a brainiac, a musician, a pothead, a cheerleader and me. I have no idea where any of those folks are now, except one.

I quit school in 1988. The same year I should have graduated. That sounds dumb, but I was in no danger of graduating after a couple years of nearly straight Fs. Hell, I wasn't even a senior.

After leaving High School, I went to Community College for a bit. I spent most of my time working my job in the Computer Lab at school, and very rarely attending classes. I hadn't really changed much at that point, just gotten a little older.

Eventually, I gave up on that and joined the Navy. (There were a couple years of narrowly avoiding getting into a lot of trouble, prior to that point, but once I was in... I straightened up pretty quick.)

The rest is all on my resume.

I'm not the same guy I was back then. I have a lot of friends (some local, some remote), I've served my country, captured pirates (in the Carribbean, no less), almost killed Eric Clapton, seen the world outside of Buttcrack, VA (that's what we always called it) and I've realized by now that most of the people I hated in High School probably didn't hate me back. (I'm sure there were a few though...)

So why is it that I'm having such a hard time making up my mind about going back? The people who cared about me will be happy I've done well, and the people who thought I was a goner don't really matter (but they'll obviously be proven wrong.) 

I may be a bit heavier, and the hair is certainly a bit thinner, and my arms are a lot more colorful, but it's a safe bet that nobody else looks quite the same either. So I don't think it's that.

Let's take a poll... who thinks I should go? who thinks I should pass? (and tell me why, in either case.)

Posted on Thursday, May 1, 2008 3:37 PM General Interest | Back to top


Comments on this post: 20 Year High School reunion

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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>>A skater punk, an artist/filmmaker, a brainiac, a musician, a pothead, a cheerleader and me

Dude sounds like a breakfust club to me.

If someone you want to see is at the reunion go. If not don't. I was gonna hit my 20th and found out the one person I really gave a shit to hang with wasn't there. So I bailed.
Left by Rod Paddock on May 01, 2008 3:50 PM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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I think I'd be too curious just to know how people are ending up not to go. I missed my 10 year and really wished I could have gone at the time.

I keep wondering who's going to surprise me by being something or doing something that I never expected from them. I haven't been home in quite a while so I'm sure there's a lot that's changed since then.

So yeah, if you've got the time and money, I would definitely be going just for curiosity's sake.
Left by George Clingerman on May 01, 2008 4:41 PM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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Dude you should totally go... wear your best wife beater too. Should go well with the ink and shaved head....

Don't tell them about your D&D collection though... you will get beaten up for that still ;-)
Left by Zman on May 01, 2008 5:00 PM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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Hmm - I went to my 10 year reunion, it was fun...my 20 year will be approaching soon enough too. I'd say go - even if you don't end up seeing the folks you wanted to at the reunion it's an excuse to go back to that town and see the few folks you did want to see.
Left by Lou on May 01, 2008 9:32 PM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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While I didn't enjoy my hometown a lot (too small in many ways) I did enjoy my 10-year reunion. But it sounds like your experience wasn't very good, plus you'd have to fly. I'd say don't bother.
Left by Jason Bock on May 02, 2008 8:44 AM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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+1 to Jason's comment: don't bother.

Facebook is reunion enough.

D
Left by D'Arcy from Winnipeg on May 02, 2008 9:31 AM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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High school was a *blast* for me, and I was a geek then just like now!

Now, this was in Grundy VA after the coal bust, we were all so poor that us kids couldn't afford costly Clique organizational units, we pretty much all got along just to stay afloat. Lions with the lambs, nerds with the jocks.

Still don't go to reunions tho. The people I wanted to continue to associate with then, I still do. Why bother with the time and expense of travelling just to chat with the rest?

If you're situation is similar, still speaking with old friends and couldn't care less about the rest, why bother with the cross country trip. Thats money that could finance another arcade cabinet :)
Left by stevenc on May 02, 2008 12:46 PM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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Chris, You should go. I went to mine and was in many ways quite suprised. You may have a rotten time, but if you don't go, you'll have this nagging feeling that something is missing. Also, you may get to find your missing clique members.

Gregory Guldensupp
Left by Gregory on May 07, 2008 9:07 AM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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I'd be tempted to go just to see how people end up.
But as has already been mentioned facebook is enough.

I have one highschool friend who is linked with others on facebook and none of them make the effort to add me as a friend. I won't be trying to keep in contact with them AT ALL. It's a waste of my time and anytime I do happen to bump into one of them and make fake nice talk I always feel like I have wasted 5 mins of my precious life.
Left by Champagne hussy on May 27, 2008 6:40 AM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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It depends on the value you place on revisiting that part of your life, i.e., is it worth the plane ticket to discover how your life turned out compared to others from that period? Or perhaps to feel the personal vindication that comes from imagined headlines like "Local Fuckup Makes Good"?

I agree with you, you are not the same person now who you were then. Heh, in effect that means you would be crashing the reunion. "Yeah, sorry, Chris couldn't make it. Something about working through a particularly nasty STD in a Tijuana jail. He asked me to stand in for him. What? No D.B. Sweeney was unavailable. What the hell do you mean 'Who am I wearing?'"
Left by MrPikes on May 30, 2008 5:07 AM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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Problem is, I place little value on that part of my life. I hated High School and impressing redneck jock assholes is a) impossible and b) not worth the price of a plane ticket.

High school reunions suck because you can never find your friends, just the people they turned into and they only focus on one class, when most of my friends were older or younger than me.
Left by Blogus Maximus on May 30, 2008 8:41 AM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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I just returned from my 20 yr high school reunion on sunday. i wasn't going to go, changed my mind at the last minute, and have to say i didn't anticipate how much it was going to affect me. i went to the 5 and 10 year and things were all pretty much the same as high school. 20 was really something though. there has been a big enough dose of real life in most people's lives to mellow out even the biggest jackasses. people who seemed invincible back then have dealt with major illnesses, loss of a loved one, nasty divorces etc. for me it showed how human we all are and how slings and arrows of life aren't just saved for an unlucky few. all in all i found that people were mellower, more grounded and a lot less rough around the edges than i remembered. there was less posturing. and it gave me a lot of insight into what shaped my life now. i'm glad i went.
Left by stacy on Jun 25, 2008 1:03 PM

# re: 20 Year High School reunion
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I have never gone to a high school reunion, nor do I ever plan to. My glory days were not 32 years ago on an athletic field/dance floor/stage nor the Principal's list. Due to a scheduling screw up I took the second last semester off and worked for 4 months in the real world. I purchased my first car and showed up for work each and every day for four months. I interacted with adults. This experience really drove home the value of high school to me. The things the other kids were so concerned about which all boiled down to what other children though of them so insignificant. I had a real life lesson on what subjects were relevant and worker not relevant in the real world.

I drove away on th last day and did not look back. It was done and relegated to the trash heap of history.

The guys I hung with all went their separate ways I found some on Facebook and some on an alumni site. I have not bothered to contact any of them. What we had in common 32 years ago is not what I am interested in, nor am I interested in buying whatever they have to sell, or their problems.

I am surprised to see. How many of the stars/beautiful/jocks wound up marrying classmates, and how many of them still regularly socialize with the same.

High school was an experience. It is son superseded by what real adult life teaches and what we need to learn in order to succeed in real life. The whole experience quickly became insignificant and continues to loose significance as time goes on.
Left by Ron on Aug 14, 2012 5:35 PM

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