Email Heart Attack

Opening my inbox this morning, I was greeted with the following subject line in a message from our good friendsthe annoying pests at Classmates.com:
Time for the West High School Class of 1980 25-Year Reunion, Lance!
Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck godammit fuck shit hell fuck piss fuck crap fuck-fuck fuck!


Yes, that’s how old I am. Yes, I actually have friends who were born after I graduated from High School. And, finally, yes, I really do feel that old.
I’m over the hill, and lately I’ve been reminded of that fact again and again. I took the Death Test at OKCupid.com which is probably about as scientifically accurate as anything else on the Web, but according to the results I’m going to be dead in about another 20 years or so, most likely from cancer, so I better start having a lot more sex or I’m going to be really pissed when it comes time to kick it.
Getting older isn’t turning out the way I thought it would at all. I was watching Brat Camp the other night (Man, I hate Jada’s parents. I mean, she hates them, too, and she’s such a whiney little loser bitch, but at 15 years old it’s mostly their fault and not hers, and please don’t even say it’s the fault of society or television or MTV, because it is so not) and thinking to myself, “Lance, you’re in therapy now and it took you, what, forty years to decide to finally seek some professional help and find out why you’re, like, you know, you? And these kids are a third of your age and they’re realizing things about themselves you didn’t even know you had to get.”
Yes, I actually address myself like that in my head as if there is another person entirely talking to me, and no I haven’t brought that up in therapy, yet. Baby steps, people!
Anyway, there they were, those “troubled teens,” put in a desert in Oregon in the middle of winter because their parents could no longer handle them. What was I doing when I was their age? Easy. I was being a pussy. I was living deep inside a sexual closet, I was hating myself in quiet solitude, I was trying to avoid being noticed by everyone, but especially by my mother’s alcoholic and abusive boyfriend, and wishing as hard as I could that the bright future ahead of such a telented young man such as I would find me and whisk me away from there, and I would never look back.
I was not dating anyone at all, not drinking, not doing drugs, performing well in school, eating too much, hating sports and anyone associated with sports, listening to Barry Manilow, collecting Star Wars paraphernalia and, I guess, pretending as hard as I could that none of it was real.
According to my therapist, I should actually be somewhat suicidal or homicidal or some sort of cidal right now, destructive and disheveled and pissing myself on street corners. Instead, I’m relatively well off, holding down a full-time job, learning how to love, finding that I’m fairly well adjusted and actually offering advice to other people about how they should live their lives.
How the fuck that happened is so far a mystery. I am defying the odds with every day I awake. I should at least be addicted to something and attending meetings where I tell everyone else what a loser I was but not anymore as long as I keep attending those meetings. But I’m not. I don’t take any drugs, mostly because they don’t seem to have the same effect on me that they do on others (Grass makes me tired, Coke has no discernable effect at all, if I drink more than three glasses of anything I feel nauseous and need to stop before I throw it all back up, I’m too scared of needles to shoot anything into my bloodstream and I rarely finish the entire bottle of any prescriptions I’m given because I don’t like feeling loagy) and frankly, my control issues won’t allow me to lose it even if it seems like a very attractive alternative to reality from time to time.
I’m a reverse mess. I’m tightly wound but no one knows it. I’m both content and highly disatisfied with life.
And now… I’m old.
I have toyed with attending the reunion if only so I can show up looking better than I ever did in High School, where I was a fat, pimple-faced choirmember drama dork with a helmet of hair, small, ugly glasses and the bent, shy, self-loathing demeanor of your average homosexual male stuck in the backwater faux-hillbilly wasteland of Bakersfield, California. If I could also show up with some young, strapping, six-packed boyfriend, so much the better, but the chances that I’ll be able to wrangle one of them up in time are exceedingly slim. I could probably hire one, but that’s so Romy and Michelle. What’s the good of showing up to piss everyone off if you’re not even impressing yourself?
I have never attended a single class reunion and I’m not about to start now. I absolutely hated High School. While I was in it, I only slightly hated every moment of it like everyone else does except those who peak early and whose best years were spent as captain of the football team or getting wasted in the parking lot when it was still fun instead of addiction. I bet they’ll show up at the reunion, with all kinds of talk about their kids and 9/11 and wasn’t that a shitty day and who could have guessed and what are you up to now and San Francisco, I hear that’s expensive, and you’re gay, huh, yeah everybody knew that back then only no one said it because, you know, gay and everything plus, hey, what are you up to now, and I think we need to support the President and my kids are in college now and the mortgage and the wife and remember that band director and have you been back to the campus and I wonder where so and so is!
Whee.
Throwing things in reverse for a moment, I have to wonder: Does anyone actually use Classmates.com? You see their ads all over the fucking Web and I imagine that someone must spend a lot of time there but I can’t think of who that would be, given all the other community type venues set up everywhere now. Are there people logging on to their Classmates page after that first general, “Hey, I actually do wonder whatever happened to Ed Alonzo and Michele Titus and, God, I had weird friends.” I am one of the only people I know who still owns their High School yearbooks and, more than that, I actually know where they are! And I have looked at them in the last 10 years, and about the only thing I can say about that is that no one actually cares about what you write in a yearbook because it all sounds the same and you can’t remember who anyone was just by their first names because I knew about 4 Brians and 3 Michelles and 17 Mikes.
“Hey, Lance! Your a cool dud(e)! Ha ha! Have a cool summer and I’ll see you next year! Later dude, Mike”
“Hey Lance I really enjoyed having you in social studies class this year. You’re a really nice guy and I hope we have some classes next year. Vicki”
“Lance – I’ll never forget your talent and sweetness. Thanks for all the good times and stay cool this summer. Cindy”
“Lance, your a great friend and I hope we see each other over this summer. (Smiley face) Matt”
Actually, that would be the best reunion ever. I’d want to walk into that hall and meet up with everyone from back then and they’re all unchanged, still covered with acne and wearing terry cloth shirts and Member’s Only jackets and parachute pants, hairs carefully combed and carrying around PeeChee folders covered with KISS ARMY scribbles and I (heart) Starsky.
Come to think of it, not much has changed at all.

August 18, 2005

One response to Email Heart Attack

  1. Jeff said:

    OK… so I thought *I* was old when I got notice for my 15th. (Sorry, didn’t mean to rub it in.)
    But actually, I went to the 10th. And while it was pretty much as I expected, there are a few nuggets of great material there if you give it the chance.
    First, only those people who are doing “ok” show up. The ones you really WANT to see never actually attend – either they’re doing WAY too well to have time for a reunion, or, more likely, they’re not doing as well as people expected of them and don’t want to be seen (ie: peaked too soon). So, resign yourself to knowing that the folks you see will be the folks you’d expect to see.
    Second, if you don’t go, you’ll be discussed more than if you DO go. Sure, they might comment on what you used to be, or who they thought you were. But heck, at least you’re there to show them who/what you are now. Much better than the alternative.
    Third, if you DO go, don’t bring proof of how cool you are now. A guy from my class walked around all night with a picture of himself standing next to Mel Gibson from when he was an extra in the movie Braveheart. Of course no one actually SAW him in the movie – but the picture SHOWED that he was there. 🙂
    Finally, just go and enjoy it. You’re obviously introspective enough to know the value of these types of events … and the phonyness of much of what you’ll see there. But it’s cool to go if for no other reason than to tell people “Professional Killer” when someone asks what you do for a living (sorry, couldn’t avoid the John Cusak reference on a bright sunny Monday). 😉
    ~Jeff