Why the 30-Year Reunion Is Way Better Than the 10-Year One

by Larry Brantley
Originally Published: 
A high school class photograph taken 30 years ago.

So, yeah, I’m going to my 30-year high school reunion.

The idea isn’t nearly as paralyzing as it might have been before social media. When I went to my 10-year reunion, there was no Facebook. I had no idea who was going to show, or what they were going to look like. I was newly married, and the TV show I’d spent the better part of a year working on was still a few months away from airing. So when I introduced people to my wife, and told them I was working in television, they smiled politely, and said, Wow, that’s really great. But their faces were saying, He’s unemployed. And that attractive woman is probably a prostitute he hired for the weekend.

Ten years isn’t long enough removed from high school, I think, to get the band back together. It was an uncomfortable weekend; we all needed to be perceived by one another as successful, even though not one of us was out of our twenties yet. Every conversation had a tinge of desperation to it, a tiny fear that everybody was going to be doing way better than we were, and that coming to the reunion had been a disastrous idea, because we had been found out. We weren’t really doing great at all; we were just doing OK. After that experience, I vowed never to go to another damn high school reunion.

But then I got drunk and pushed a button.

Thirty years is better, I think. I’ll be attending as a divorced man, and the guy whose TV show has been off the air for more than a decade. I’ve had awesome success and abysmal failures, and I have, at long last, reached The Place Of Not Giving A Fuck What You Think About Me. My sphincter has relaxed (no, that’s not an adult diaper joke), and thanks to social media, neither I nor any of my friends from high school is frozen in time; we’re all older, and we can see each other getting older, and it’s OK.

I’m not the class clown anymore. I don’t need to be. The cheerleader we all fell in love with back in the day doesn’t need that old identity, either. She’s doing just fine as a beautiful, middle-aged woman with grown kids. The jock isn’t interested in reliving the glory days of Texas high school football; he’s a modest but successful small business owner. Ditto the dweeb. We all have adult identities now. We’ve had lots of time to try them on, wear them in (or out), and get some goddamn mileage out of them. At the 10-year mark, none of us still had any idea who the fuck we were.

But 30 years? I’m good now. Bring on the reunion. I mean, just as soon as I hit the gym. Extra hard. No way am I showing up with a spare tire. Which means now I have to give away all my Easter candy.


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