As previously reported, last week I went to my Mars High all-class-years reunion. The reunion was originally to be held in St. Petersburg, Florida, on August 14th — the place and time, coincidently, someone had invited Hurricane Charley. We, along with the rest of the population of the Tampa bay region, were evacuated to Orlando. That's where Charley decided to go too. But enough about the weather. Let's talk cheerleaders.
Your Correspondent hadn't ever been to an reunion before, although he'd known for some time that ISB alumni organization held them periodically. I don't know anyone there, he said. I won't have anyone to talk to. I hated high school anyway, he remembers. He goes this time because people he did remember from school sent email, asking him to come. But because of the weather, for the first few days he's without them.
Vintage Jailbait One's high school reunion may be the only situation where a middle-age man can make salacious comments in public regarding pictures of 16 year-old girls without being arrested. Reunion attendees have a badge hanging around their necks with name, graduation year, and their yearbook picture. He approaches a nice lady the apparent age of his wife of 25+ years. He bends over and squints at the badge with photo. Suddenly, hunched-over, he realizes: this woman was once the blond big-breasted shiksa senior he fantasized over in his sophomore year. He drools a bit, he straightens-up. She doesn't mind! In fact, she appreciates the attention! He enjoys looking at these pictures very, very, very much. It's probably because when he's looking at them...just for a moment...the teenager inside stirs and looks at the picture too.
Bring Out Your Dead Some of the classmates who aren't there get discussed a lot. There's Steve, he was shot ("murdered") while robbing a liquor store — 20 years after high school, though. He was on PCP or something. Then the suicide — they tell the story about how Trey died. Somebody has new details on the story, they will work that into the narrative. Then a woman he doesn't know tells him a long story about how she saw Trey that day. If she had done this or that, she could have saved him. No you couldn't, he thinks, but I could have. Show of hands, everybody, who else thinks they killed Trey?
Whatever Happened To so-and-so, is a popular question, naturally. He has done some research on the matter. Three of the girls I hung out with, Barbara, Berry, and Eddie, are professors, he says. That's gotta be a record. And HKP, you have no idea how well he's doing, he practically runs Singapore. Charlie, he's a big time screenwriter, wrote K-Pax and The Mighty. Nobody responds in kind — they shame him for being so status-conscious. They tell him instead: what's-his-name became a missionary; so-and-so gave up his practice to treat AIDS in the Thai hill country, wasn't that just like him?
Instant Intimacy Which people you were buddies with isn't that relevant here. You can talk to anyone and get an immediate confession of some secret. I didn't menstruate until I was in college, one woman tells him. I've brought some Cialis with me, says some guy. He tells some of his secrets, too.
Cheerleader Coverage He keeps looking at these women, and the photos of young girls around their necks. He makes a point to talk to every one of the former cheerleaders. Of course, we remember you, Allan, they say. We watched you watching us, sitting on the bench when we practiced. We thought you were cute. And smart. Oh you were so pretty, he sighs. Then stutters: not that you're not pretty now, of course! And they discuss for a minute what they've both done in the intervening 34 years. Or ask what happened to her brother. You know, he says, we've just spoken more words to each other than we did in all of high school. Oh, they say, we were too shy to talk to you Allan, why would you want to talk to us? Sure, he says, that's your story.
Reunion Junkie His buddies finally show, complete with spouses, he follows them around like a puppy. He loses his voice; from singing Satisfaction at 3am, or from his logorrhea? He gets into two class photos, Zellig-like, thinks of trying for the other classes too. All those years, 34 years. When is the next reunion, he wonders, hope there's going to be a hurricane then too.