This year my high school class, 1975, held its 30th reunion. My friends wanted me to go, but I refused for two reasons.
First, vanity. I look like shit right now. I’m overweight and I’m going through periodontal surgery. I’ve had several teeth extracted. I’m missing a front upper tooth and two front lower teeth. With these gaps in my mouth, I look like a character from Deliverance. You know, the one who asks, “Can you squeal like a pig?” When I go to the store, I try not to smile so no one will see the gaps.
Second, seeing friends from my youth has limited appeal to me. It’s not that high school was the living hell it is supposed to be for anyone with any intelligence. Actually, I had a blast. I remember well the day I was sober. (That last sentence was a slight exaggeration in the interest of humor.)
The thing is, I’m not proud of my youth. I was stupid and I drank too much. I knew things had to change and I struggled to escape the partying scene. Since then I’ve been running away from all that. Today I’m happier and a lot smarter.
For some people, high school is their “glory days” and subsequent life is all downhill. I pity those people. I look at that period as at best a cocoon; today I’m a butterfly. (Oh, that sounds really gay. I’m not a butterfly, I’m a… a… I’m a moth! No, that’s lame. Okay, forget the cocoon metaphor.)
Just received from amazon.com The Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer Through Frost, selected and with Commentary by Harold Bloom. It’s quite a tome at 972 pp. It’s not the kind of book I would read through from cover to cover, but dip in here and there. Maybe someday, after enough dips, I’ll have the whole thing read -- just in time for my 60th high school reunion.