Friends Reunited Apart
School reunions. No, no ,fuck no, no way, no thank you, maybe....actually let's not bother, and no. In any order you please.
Yes we did have one. Okay, ours involved charities fraud, sexual deviancy, assault, cock-teasing, narcotics, and the worst case of narcissism I have seen. Other than that, I would say it was different from usual reunions
See we had a classmate, he claimed to be doing something worthwhile for charity. We decided that we would donate our money to him. Seemed appropriate. Shame is he turned out to be a little bit of a tinker. Turned out he had no insurance, had defrauded investors, had left his wife and kids for one of the staff on his team, and made numerous truth-deterrent statements. Add to that, those in the know say what he was doing for charity was a preposterous ego-trip. Had we known any of this we would not have chosen him. While the tone of this blog is very light, I will underline how disgusting what this person did was. We were all photographed and named in his cause. Having, by sheer coincidence, befriended one of the investors the year later, I was afforded the chance to see how deep the rabbit-hole went. I will not mention it again as it is not funny or forgivable. For reasons of legal sorts, I am unable to mention his name or endeavour. So I will say this: I am not a lawyer and cannot swim through the big blue ocean of libel unaided.
Also I have to say, it is far from the only reason I advise against them. A friend who did not attend recently said to me: "If I want to see them, I already would be, if I don't they need to stay in the past" The guy is a prophet.
Now, what is your reason for being so vitriolic? Aside from natural ones. Let me answer that.
There is no great monster here, these were people just wanting a laugh and a piss-up, and to see old chums and dig on about the past. No big deal, right?
No, it is not, you are right. So I would suggest an off-licence, a comedy club, and a yearbook read. I lost mine when it was stolen. So maybe it was a sort of replacement therapy for me. My yearbook is/was way more precious to me than the memory of our reunion.
I had a bag of personal stuff, books, tapes, etc and it was robbed from a garage in Bristol. A real shame as I want
to remember the people from then, not now. That tells me something. It tells me that nostalgia should never be more than a concept. If you realise it, physically, it will disappoint, and be gone forever.
What is good, is seeing how people that used to be just themselves, turn into adult pastiches. What all this makes me wonder is, how would I see myself? I bet I would be the worst. Only fear of the obvious and a thin ego prevent me from doing so. Still, there were some enjoyable creations moulded from what used to be earnest:
"Wants to appear to be a bigger waster that they really are”
Dressed like a presenter from Playschool. Ostentatious grandstanding on the dance floor. "Owning it". Letting everyone know she is going to the bar/ordering a double/treble/absinthe. Looking up a lot to see if everyone is “digging” the vibes she is giving. Pulling silly faces and busting out such ca-razy dance moves and generally "bossin' the night". Weekend zanies are such a drag. Someone who subscribes to the idea that a personality is easily replaced with loud clothes/behavior/politics/opinions. Desperate for people to be saying: “She is just being herself”, and “At least she is not boring”. Two statements she will sadly know to be totally inaccurate.
A rather excitable and observant kinda guy. Always got an eye open for an opportunity for growth. Trust me, though, you really don’t want to know what kind of growth he is seeking. One of the ladies made the mistake of putting her arm around him as dancing etc sometimes dictates. Sadly, in every way, this led him to try and seek out a natural reason to do the same back at multiple opportunities. Like a slithering Anaconda. Reaching out for a clutch and a squeeze and maybe something else…..eeuuugh. It put me in mind of that scene from the Office where Gareth is mucking around with the recently-formed couple of Tim and Rachel. They are constantly embracing and engaging in close body-language as any new couple would and the sleazy Gareth tries with painful obviousness to surreptitiously engage a close physical coupling with the lovely Rachel. It is a hilarious scene. Now imagine it with a rapey smile and set to music and lasting for around ninety minutes, like some sort of stadium version of boundary-breaking. It may be hard to picture but I assure you his motives would have been only marginally less obvious had he been handing out business cards offering an online service that helps people avoid offender registers called 'carryonregardless.biz'. I know they say take pride in your hobbies but sometimes discretion may be the better part of valour.
“Guy in a bright green suit”
“Why are they here”
Generally girls, that are having a really uncomfortable time. They were sat as if in an overcrowded railway carriage. Then you have the ones that used to act like they were special, yet one could never figure out why. By year 10 they all seemed to wear those loose long skirts, had carpet bags from Phoenix or JJ’s, liked Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Carter USM, and would normally be found jostling off sixth-formers in a bus stop. I guess somehow that gave them social standing. Funny enough they still appear to be granting themselves said airs and graces, yet, two decades later, the reason is still no clearer.
After the drink had flowed we had a group photo done. A magnificent affair taken by someone with the photography skills of somewhere between Michael J Fox, Mr Soft, and Helen Keller.
Some balloons were released. For the two deaths in our year. Both good guys and both very sad so very much RIP to them.
Now these are not bad people. Let me rephrase, these are mostly not bad people.
They probably have things to say about me, I dig that. It's fine. My best friend and Godfather to my kid was there. There is a girl there who is one of my most valued friends and a person of true integrity, whom I love dearly. So, it was not like I went there snarling. Yet, as if to prove my point, someone made a very crass and ignorant comment to one friend of mine about her departed sibling. Before anyone says anything about drink, you are missing the point. If you would say something like that drunk, you must be a c**t to have it in your head in the first place.
There were some awful speeches, one was mine. Seriously, it sucked. I started it expecting to be like Abraham Lincoln, ended it like Abe Simpson.
So in conclusion, I guess it has to be an answer to the question: Should I do/go to a school reunion. That's up to you. Personally, if they did another one I would not go. Having said that, experience is a hell of a vantage point. Give it a try. If you ever do, let me know how it went. Go as a cowboy astronaut millionaire. See if it goes off.
One thing that stuck with me is that movie, Grosse Point Blank. Joan Cusack says of her reunion: “It was as just as if everyone had swelled” What a perfect summary. It was exactly that way. I am no exception.
Worth mentioning though, a nod to Denise, the girl that made a cake for the event. To be fair it was a magnificent effort and worthy of note.
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