Monday, August 05, 2013

Twenty Years Later

When the movie 'The Breakfast Club' came out in 1985 I was in 5th grade.  I'm not sure how I was allowed to see it but I was.  At the end of the movie, Brian Johnson, played by Anthony Michael Hall, reads their essay as voice over. 

I always assumed high school would be like 'The Breakfast Club.'  People fit into simple categories and stayed within their clicks and if you had braces you were, well, screwed.  But then high school happened and that wasn't exactly the case. Sure we had people we called geeks and jocks and burnouts and just about any group mentioned in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off.'  We had the popular people and the not so popular people and, as a recently posted video taken by a classmate of mine on our last day of high school shows, we overused the word 'dork.'  But there weren't rigid walls that prevented a brain from talking to an athlete.  The athlete might not respond, but he wasn't likely to get jammed into a locker (although in 7th grade the basketball team did try to stick me a garbage can, which was weird because I was on the basketball team).  After four years of high school, we graduate and moved on.  We went to college, or we stayed home.  We moved out and moved away.  Then twenty years later, we got back together on a Saturday night at a bar close to our High school.  We were older, balder, fatter and slower, but we were still us.

Reunions are much different now.  With the Internet in general and with Facebook specifically, it's pretty easy to find out the basic information on just about anybody.  We didn't have Facebook at our ten year reunion, but we did for this one.  So, pretty much the whole first hour "where are you living, are you married, do you have kids" didn't have to happen since we all knew that already.   And while we all don't fit into John Hughes' five labels-- a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal—I ran into my own groups.  To protect the innocent (and the guilty) I'll leave out names, but if any of them are reading this, they will easily recognize themselves.

The first person you see that you didn't know was going to be there
This is a critical person because if you recognize them and they recognize you, the night is off to a good start.  If yoy don't know you and you don't know them, it could be a disater.  Walking in with your best friend from high school that you talk to all the time doesn't count (sorry to one of my best friends who I walked in with this year).  Luckily, the first person I saw recognized me and I recognized her.

The Couple who started dating in High school who are still together
Normally, this couple is the annoying couple who everybody hates or the couple that everyone loved who are now divorced.  Fortunately for my classmates, our couple is still together and they still rock.  I do wish the wife would have let her husband wear his old BGHS jacket.  The fact they were able to find each other in high school and are still together is incredible.

The Friends you still talk to but don't get to see much
Most of my close friends from high moved far away.  This was great when I was in my twenties and would just go visit them for a long weekend or over a holiday weekend (I spend years visiting different friends for Thanksgiving in Seattle and Boulder) but sucks now.  Many of them made it and it was awesome to talk to them.  At times, I felt not a second had passed since we were last playing spades on a Friday night or shouting "Penis," in the cafeteria (that's a long story).  So, from the guy who has lived in the same county his whole life, thanks for coming back to visit all of you down-staters and out-of-staters.

The girl who broke your heart
Everyone guy has one of these (and I'm sure every girl has a guy who broke her heart).  These are the ones you get nervous about, but if there is one thing high school teaches you it's that while it hurts, you eventually get over the girl (or the guy).  Mine was in attendance and just like more than twenty years ago, I got that same nervous stomach and shaky hands I felt in high school when I saw her.  We talked, it was brief but good.  Her smile reminded me of why I liked her from the moment I met her Freshman year.

The Athletes who are computer nerds now
This may sound like a stretch, but I couldn't believe how many people are IT nerds now.  I'm pretty nerdy.  I can tell you what an ERP is and let me tell you it is nothing fun or interesting to talk about unless you have survived implementing one.  By some small miracle, there was another person there who knew exactly what I was talking about and survived an ERP himself.  Was he the math geek who got a 5 on the AP Calc test?  Hell no.  He was an athlete who played basketball, football and baseball, the big three. Now he runs an IT department.  Nerds rule, even if they are just really athletic nerds who were smart even back then.

The Drunk Huggers
There were a lot more of these at our ten year reunion but we are older and smarter, so we didn't have an open bar event (I'm pretty sure I was one of the drunk huggers ten years ago).  Now, if my memory serves me correctly, most of the girls in our school were big huggers back then and what guy is going to pass up a hug in high school.  A girl wants to voluntarily touch us, instead of being force to, like during square dancing in gym glass?  Who could say no.  Clearly this was learned behavior.

The Shot Pusher
No, not the two guys who threw the heavy ball in Track and Field (our two shot putters were missing), but the guy who wanted to ensure everyone was having fun at the reunion.  And he wasn't pushing shots as much as he was sharing them.  In fact, he is probably responsible for the drunk huggers, so he should get extra credit for that.

The Guy you knew was going to be a doctor
This was the guy who kicked ass in every math and science class.  We had a lot of these in high school and a lot of them ended up being doctors.  One became an anesthesiologist (I totally had to look up how to spell that) which was funny to me because in our English class, he had a hard time pronouncing the word "ether."  He tells me they don't use that anymore, but if I ever need surgery, he could totally hook me up with the good stuff.

The people who look exactly the same twenty years later

I hate these people.  No, I'm kidding, I don't.  These are likely the people who are not married and have no kids.  Do you know why? Because getting married and having kids turns you grey and makes your hair fall out.

The Crush
Normally, this would have been about some girl I had a crush on that I never approached and it would have been titled "The Crushed."  You see, I wasn't good at the whole girl from age ten to twenty nine.  It's a miracle any girl wanted to marry me and looking back, if I were a girl, I would have never dated me either.  In a prior blog post, I mentioned how my popularity in school peaked in seventh grade.  But near the end of the night, a girl who I didn't recognize started talking to me.  I had to look at her name tag (thank you, name tag!) to remember her name, and in my defense, she had much bigger hair in high school.  We talked for a few minutes and then she told me she had a crush on me in 7th grade.   She even tried to sit close to me on the bus to cross county meets.  I was floored.  No, literally, I almost fell down.  This was news to me, something I didn't remember, something I was probably too dumb to notice in 7th grade.  I told her this would have been good to know twenty six years ago when we were in 7th grade.  But let's be honest, even if I did know back then, I still wouldn't have known what to do.  Most likely I would have done something horribly embarrassing, like ask her out then puke in front of her and she would have avoided me all of high school and at our reunion so it's probably good I didn’t know.  But man, I sure felt even worse not recognizing her right away.  So, thank you, secret crush.  It was flattering to hear that, even if someone sitting next to us said, "Wait, you had a crush on HIM?"

I wonder if there were ever plans for a Breakfast Club 2.  The gang likes hanging out in detention together so much they keep doing it one Saturday a year then fall out of touch, only to gather together for their twenty year reunion.  The five of them, the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess and the criminal, sneak out of the gymnasium where the reunion is held and meet up in the library around the statue, which, twenty years later still has a baloney stain.  They talk, they laugh, Brian takes Bender's bag of weed out of his pants, Andrew tries on his old tights and Claire passes around the sushi.  I know, without John Hughes the movie can't be made.


This is not what our logo looked like in 93
But the Buffalo Grove High School class of 1993,  we made ours and overall, it was a great reunion.  Time stood still, we forgot about everything else hard in life, working, raising kids, taking care of our parents as they age, feeling old as our hair grays and are bodies break down, everything the last twenty years dealt us and we just talked. We laughed.  We told the same stories to each other and they all started with "Remember when?"   I just hope we don’t have to wait ten more years to get together again.

Thanks BGHS Class of 93 and thanks for reading.


1 comment:

Nikki Golden said...

This actually made me really sad that I didn't attend.