Days of Auld Lang Syne
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I got dragged to the dreaded 25th high school reunion on Thanksgiving weekend. I didn't want to go, but my long-time friend and classmate (to whom I shall refer to as "Long-Time Friend and Classmate" to protect her privacy and spare her embarrassment) kept sending me emails riddled with guilt-infected innuendoes of friends who have passed before us and lost opportunities. So I figured it wouldn't kill me to go, and who knows, maybe I'd get some grist for the ol' writing mill.

The reunion was held in a hotel ballroom. The tickets were $60 each ($75 at the door), and according to my Long-Time Friend and Classmate, included a dinner of turkey, prime rib, pasta, salad and dessert. That gave me a little incentive – the prime rib. So we lined up at the buffet, and I took a little salad, a little potato and some vegetables and a roll, making sure to save room for the prime rib. But there was no prime rib. There wasn't any turkey either, and I didn't see any pasta anywhere. I'd been had. I had to settle for pork roast, chicken or salmon, no doubt left over from an earlier wedding. But the butter was displayed in decorative little balls, I suppose to distract us from the fact that there was no prime rib. I turned to my Long-Time Friend and Classmate, who sucked me in to this event with promises of prime rib, and eyed her suspiciously.

  
 
"Hey, you said there was going to be prime rib. There's no prime rib here."

"There isn't?" she asked, her eyes wide with feigned innocence, and quickly turned to the person behind her in the buffet line and started chatting.

Now I'm no tightwad, but no way was that dinner worth $60 ($75 at the door). Anyway, most notable were the bald men. Not just a bald pate; you know, leave a little on the sides? Apparently the thing to do now is to shave your entire head, like no one will be able to tell that the top of your head is shinier and smoother than the shadow around your head and that you, in fact, suffer from male pattern baldness. So there were guys running around the reunion trying to look like white versions of Montel Williams, but lacked the je ne sais quois.

Don't get me wrong. It's not like I ever won any contests in high school (or any other time). I had to lie down with an ice pack on my eyes a few hours before the event to get rid of the bags so I wouldn't look like the Queen Ant in "A Bug's Life." I recognize my own shortcomings. I was a good student; I wasn't popular with the boys, except during the odd final exam, when some who were failing scrambled to sit next to me. I was tall and flat-chested in high school, which nearly ruined my life by high school standards; I'm tall and flat-chested now, and I couldn't care less, and neither could anybody else.

My reluctance in making an appearance at this soirée was justified. I knew I wasn't going to see anyone there who had thought about me over the last 25 years and wondered how I was and what I was doing. I knew this because there wasn't anyone there that I thought about over the past 25 years and wondered how they were and what they were doing. I confirmed my suspicions by taking a poll. And I was right: Of those I spoke to, there, in fact, was no one who has been up nights wondering about me over the past 25 years. I had a great conversation with a guy I vaguely remembered who admitted he didn't talk to me in high school but was only talking to me at the reunion because he was drunk.

All in all it wasn't so bad. It was nice to see those people I knew who did come, and we had a few laughs. I muddled through, relying on my sparkling personality and quick wit (and a few glasses of wine). And it makes me happy that I made my Long-Time Friend and Classmate happy, despite the fact that she lied about the prime rib and thus lured me to somewhere I didn't want to go under false pretenses.

I know I probably sound cynical and maybe I over-analyze things. It's just that I don't see the point in going backwards -- to returning to where I've already been. Some people call them the glory days - the days of auld lang syne - and look back on them with wistful longing, but I don't. The past is past – we can't change it or relive it; we can only learn from it. Our mistakes, our accomplishments, our triumphs, joys and sorrows all make us who we are today, and today is what matters.

To my classmates: I wish you all the best. I hope your life experiences have taken you where you want to be, and if not, I hope you get there.

As for me, I'm living my glory days now.

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