Tuesday, August 31, 2010

20 Years Later

Over the weekend, I attended my 20 year high school reunion. I'm not gonna once again ramble on about how fucking old I am. Instead, maybe I'll ramble on about how fucking old my peers looked.

Nah, I don't want to be mean.

Although, at the reunion, some of my former classmates looked like they'd eaten their former selves. And, some of the girls looked like they'd become Magda in Something About Mary (we did grow up in Miami, after all). And, some of the guys looked like they'd become their mothers (moobs and gunts and all). And, there were more hairless heads than at the NBA draft. And, there were more wrinkled eyes than in the gallery of before pictures at the top AARP-recommended botox clinic.

But as I said before, I don't want to be mean. So...

Even though we went to North Miami Beach High School, our reunion was held in Fort Lauderdale, a good half hour hour from our alma mater. NMB's neighborhood is now surrounded by rough Hatians and even rougher Hasidic Jews. Therefore, it was probably a good idea to move the locale. Unlike in the movies where reunions are held in the school's gym or cafeteria, ours was held at a hotel. It would have been a nicer hotel, but many of my classmates are cheap Jews (not rough Hasidic Jews, who probably would have sprung for a 5-star joint).

Most high school graduates have a twentieth reunion. Whether you attend or not is the question. Most of those that do attend seemingly don't have much to hide. They're the ones who have, or at least can pretend to have, good jobs, stable home lives, and no overtly apparent major flaws. The cross-dressers, the amputees, the psychopaths, and the criminals stay at home.

We've actually been out of high school longer than we were alive when we were in high school. Nostalgia abounded. All of sudden, it was the late eighties all over again.

It was a time before grunge, before Snoop Dogg, before Tarantino and The Big Lebowski, before Saved By The Bell and reality television. Before Milli Vanilli was disgraced. Before Frances Bean Cobain (now 18) and JonBenet Ramsey (dead, but would be 20) were born.

This was a time when NKOTB and Wilson Phillips ruled the charts. Paula Abdul wasn't crazy and Bret Michaels wasn't hemorrhaging in his brain. Mel Gibson wasn't racist. Doogie Howser wasn't gay. Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't anything more than a muscle-headed immigrant. It was a time when sexting and spam didn't exist. It was a time when it wasn't a pain in the ass to get on an airplane.

Ah, the memories!

Believe it or not, I was kind of an asshole in high school. Not the jock/bully/douche kind of asshole. More the short, big-mouthed, wise-ass kind of asshole. Everyone expected I would revert back to my old ways. I did.

I purposely mispronounced the names of people I've known my whole life. I stole drink tickets from the tables of people who were dancing. I taunted the class retard. I gave people nicknames based on their newfound foibles (Horseshoe Head for one of my follically-challenged buddies, Limpy McLimperson for another kid who developed Human Hip Dysplasia).

I referred to several duos of nerdy girls that stuck together tightly as "our Romy and Michelle". I walked up to other girls who were obviously not pregnant, patted their bellies, and said, "Congratulations!". I made lots of senior citizen jokes. And I occasionally threw in a racist joke or two. I was sort of like Tracy Jordan would be at his reunion, especially when I took off my shirt and sang Funky Cold Medina on the stage.

At our tenth reunion, one of my friends pissed me off. To get back at him, I told everyone he's a transitioning pre-op transexual (he's not). He punched me. This time, he didn't go (probably because of me). Subsequently, I told everyone he was in prison after being busted on To Catch a Predator (he wasn't). Best part - he couldn't punch me.

All the married girls were so proud of their hyphenated names and their kids. When I told them I was divorced, I got that look, like I had cancer. So, I texted the random girl that I picked up at a random bar the night before and had her come meet me. When she arrived, I gave her a name tag emblazoned with "CoCo Gellman" and introduced her as my wife. Believe me, she was so much more well-behaved than my ex-wife would have been.

Later, I motorboated a female classmate who somehow still had some wonderfully luscious breasts. She let me motborboat her because we had a bond, like siblings (not that I would motorboat my sister). That bond was noticeable throughout the reunion with all my former classmates.

The thing is, at our tenth, we were still young, we hadn't lived, we hadn't yet been broken. This time, we had the break-ups and the illnesses and the addictions and the tragedies under our belts. We earned our wrinkles and our gray hairs and that brought us together. Overall, everyone was a helluva lot nicer and less annoying than I'd remembered them being. It was so unlike high school.

Plus, I live in this crunchy cow town at the foot of the Rockies. Culturally, it's as far from the East Coast (yes, Miami is East Coast) as you can get. As much as I like my fellow Denverites, they're not my people, my tribe. While I would never move back to South Florida, specifically because of the people, I enjoy being around those people once or twice in 7300 days. We relate in an unspoken manner that I don't have in Colorado.

Also, I've been spending so much time with young girls lately that it was nice to be around people that actually understand the cultural significance of Small Wonder and Private Resort. It was comforting to be around people that actually understand the difficulties of chronic back pain, deteriorating muscle mass, and increasing cholesterol levels.

In other words, it was a pleasurable experience.

The 20 year high school reunion is one of the few remaining touchstones in our short lives. Nobody goes to the 30th or 40th. And at the 50th, we'll really be old and look really shitty or, like me, we'll be dead. So, if you have the opportunity to go to your 20th, I'd highly recommend it, especially if you don't have any flaws that would make you the butt of the jokes of that short, big-mouthed, wise-ass asshole that went to your school.


Anonymous said...

you went just to have something to write about. What is "motorboat" is that the same as "numbing it up"?

Unknown said...

I'm so glad you're back, you've just helped me laugh through 45 minutes of work. Thank you! I'm not buying your book however, if I have to see you naked. And bound.

Chris McGuire said...

Nice work, Mike. CoCo is a lovely girl. It was nice to meet her at our reunion.

Unknown said...

You should have been a bit more vocal at the reunion. Maybe giving a toast for the class of 1990? Something like what you did at Neff's wedding. The reunion was lame.