Eleven years ago, like most teenagers, I made a decision that I clearly did not understand the long-term consequences of. Earlier this week, I received a stark reminder of one of the choices I made in the form of a Facebook message. “Hey John,” the note began friendly enough, “I know we have not spoken in a while, but I wanted to reach out in regard to the planning of your upcoming 10-year high school reunion…” That was it. That was all I could get through before my eyes became unfocused and a sharp pain developed in my cerebral cortex.
The next few seconds were, what I can only describe based off what I have seen in movies, as an acid flashback. My friends and I sitting around a lunchroom table during junior year of high school, an announcement of class elections coming over the intercom and then, as seamless as stealing booze from a parents liquor cabinet, an idea. I can’t say for sure which one of my compatriots blurted it out first, but either way, the idea was born.
“Dude, you should run for Class President!” I jokingly obliged them, speaking of a platform based on cheaper lunches and more revealing cheerleader uniforms. However, at some point in the next few days, the idea consumed me. I was going to run and I was going to win. I went on to sweep the election both junior and senior year. Of course, the topic of coordinating a reunion surfaced here and there, but that was a “future” me situation. A “ten years in the future” me situation.
With the blink of an eye, a decade has passed. Bringing together the graduating class of 2007 has fallen solely on my shoulders. I understand what a lot of you are thinking. “Hey dumbass, planning a reunion isn’t too difficult. Shoot out a few Facebook messages, book a place and order some food. Boom, done.” However, both fortunately and unfortunately, I didn’t attend some podunk secondary school.
My public high school was class 8A in the south suburbs of Chicago. Ballpark number of students I graduated with? 1,000 plus. Go ahead and let that sink in. A number of individuals I attended college with didn’t have half of that in their entire school. With a class that size, the crusade to bring the masses together must begin early. Trying to bridge the venue gap between those who moved to downtown Chicago and those who never left the burbs. Figuring out every food preference for our increasingly particular millennial pallets. Booking entertainment that satiates both club heads and housewives alike. All while knowing that total attendance will be about 10 percent of the class.
I leave you with this. As you think about the high school reunion you did/did not attend or as you begin to receive your invitations over the next few years, I’d like you to think of me. I know you’ll start that group text with your high school pals, remembering the good old days. Reminiscing on how much of a smoke show Miss Williams was, how bad you feel about stuffing that little bitch Chad into a locker and how creepy Zach turned out to be a registered sex offender. Understand that I will be there every step of the way. Serving punch to creepy Zach. Thinking about, but not actually apologizing to that little bitch Chad. And most importantly, trying to put in some work with, hopefully still, Miss Williams. .
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