Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ten years later, who's laughing now?

There was a time in my life when I wasn't all that cool, (I know, shocking to think of isn't it?) and that time was for a brief, crazy period that occurs in everybody's lives called high school. (You can already smell the hallways and disgusting cafeteria in your head can't you?)

In two years my high school reunion will take place. I have been training for this event forever! People talk about athletes being dedicated and training hard? But none of them have been as dedicated as I have over the last eight years to make sure I can show up the majority of my former classmates when the time comes!

I'm like Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption, minus the anal-rapings. He had but one goal for the 20 or so years he was locked up in that prison, and everything he did, no matter how inconsequential was to further that goal. While all of his chums were having fun playing Who Dropped the Soap? He was making moves! Planning! Plotting! Digging a big ass tunnel with a spoon! Now that's dedication.

I feel that I have operated in a very similar manner to the character in that movie. See, when you're a kid you pretty much forced to go to high school, (you're not forced to stay there though, those places were like revolving doors!) and when you graduate, or drop out, or get kicked out, (or all of the above, but not in that order) you're not surrounded by so many people again for the rest of your life. It can be kind of weird. Your social circle can get much smaller and youve got less people to compare yourself with. Because, as we all know, thats the only way to know how successful you are in life.

Back in the day you could have been the biggest loser in your peer group, but at least you weren't as messed up as that one ESL kid who ate thumbtacks for lunch. In high school there was always somebody worse off than you, (unless youre William Hung or a guy named Francis) and you could always take comfort in that.

Now fast forward ten years; many changes have occurred in the last decade. Remember that really popular group of kids? The ones that had cars when they were, like, 13 years old, and ass loads of money without actually having jobs? Remember how you envied them because they had discovered sex, alcohol, drugs and skipping school light-years ahead of you? Remember how they always seemed to have the nicest, most in-style clothes and no problems with oily skin, while you had so many pimples people didn't even know what your natural skin color was? (Do I sound bitter?)

Well, all those kids have gained ridiculous amounts of weight, live about five blocks from their moms' houses and sell shoes at the mall for low-income people. Either that, or they're servers at your local kitchy-family-themed-nausea-inducing restaurant, (would you like to try our stuffed potato zingers tonight? Theyre starchriffic!).

And all those nerdy kids that used to get beat up all the time, wore pants about four inches too short, had haircuts from the seventies and didn't know their reproductive organs could be used for anything besides urine evacuation; are now nerdy adults with pants about four inches too short, haircuts from the seventies and more money then they know what to do with.

And, of course, a bunch of people are dead. Sad, but it happens. Those of us who are more cold-hearted than the rest can clean up by placing bets on wholl be worm food by then. The worst is when kids die while youre still in high school and everybody is pretty apathetic about it. I remember, (and those of you who went to high school with me might remember this) one morning there was an announcement that a student had died in his sleep the previous Saturday morning after being out of school for three weeks with some kind of illness. That's when we all looked around and realized that none of us had seen the kid in weeks and what worse is that none of us seemed to notice he was gone. At least he didn't have to deal with cafeteria food anymore.

What about me? Well, I wasn't in the popular group, (as stated by the first paragraph) nor was I a nerd (as my 1.3 GPA can attest to) I was just that guy. I was there, I went to class most of the time, I did my homework when more important things werent going on, (i.e. cartoons) and I graduated just like the other 600 people in my grade.

But when this reunion comes around, I won't be that goofy, teenaged version of myself. I will be an experienced, interesting, conversation-stealing, mouth-watering, high-octane, fat-pocket-having, collar-popping Dynamo! People who shunned me back in the day will grovel at my feet. People who were smarter than me and proved it by consistently getting straight As (and crying if they got a B; remember those people?) will bow down before my globe-trotting high-stepping lifestyle. I'll be unstoppable!

I'm going to play it cool at first. I'll show up dressed like a bum or something, maybe arrive in a beat up old pickup truck. I'll look unkempt and pitiful, like I did absolutely nothing worthwhile with myself for the last ten years, (which is pretty close to the truth) I might even smell of B.O. and excrement. Then, when I see that everybody is shaking their heads ruefully at me, and wondering what the hell happened to me, I'll drop the facade and be revealed in my true splendor. Women will swoon, men will loose control of their bladders, babies will weep and old people will, umm, I dont know, have heart attacks or something. It will be magnificent!

Don't worry about missing it, I'm going to bring a camera crew.

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