Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Planning a high school reunion—oy.


So I am in charge of planning Mahopac High School’s Class of 1990 20th reunion.

I have no idea how I wound up in this position, but … wait—scrap that. I do know how: Nobody else was stepping up, and I’m a sucker for reunions. Maybe it’s a little bit of the journalist of me. Dating back to college, I’ve always dug the WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO? features. I sorta looked at this as one giant WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO? feature.

Bad call.

While I don’t actually mind reunion planning as a whole, the little things get annoying. Particularly, old issues and new insecurities and the such. So-and-so won’t attend because he’s overweight and insecure. This person won’t attend because she just got divorced. These two didn’t really like high school, so they’re gonna go to Burger King and get high instead. On and on and on and on and on.

The worst, however, came a few days ago. Someone from my class contacted me and asked, “Why’d you use [the photo at the top of this invite] as an image with the online reunion invitation?”

Uh, why?

“Some people were upset. They had issues with one of those girls back in high school, and …”

Ugh. I felt like yelling. Like screaming. Like yanking my hair out. You know why I used the photo? Because it’s funny—huge hair, ugly 80s-esque cheerleader uniforms, brick school as a cardboard-esque background. I was far from popular in high school. Veeeeeery far from popular. I dressed poorly, I was gangly, I had a big ol’ mole protruding from under my nose, my jeans were too short and I worked at the student newspaper. I’d never kissed a girl, drank a beer, smoked a joint or did anything that would have been even remotely cool. I was a zit-faced geek, times 100,000.

That being said, I wouldn’t miss a reunion for the world. To me, it’s the merging of a science experiment and an odd reality show (take 200 people from 20 years ago and lock them in a room). It’s scary, exciting, weird, awesome, terrible—all rolled into one.

Yeah, I was picked on in 1988 … 89 … 90 (I’m top row, center, below. Who wouldn’t have picked on me?). But that was another lifetime ago—for the bully, and for myself.

I’m long over it.