I did something today.
Something I didn’t think I would do as recently as one month ago. Something I told myself would be a waste of time, a waste of money, and a waste of a Saturday evening better spent getting hammered off a shitty bottle of red wine while singing the Friends theme song into my seventh slice of pizza. (Clearly, my Saturday nights are lit AF)
I bought a ticket to my ten year high school reunion.
I’m not entirely sure why I did it. Maybe it’s because somewhere in the back of my mind I have an urge to talk to the people I saw almost everyday for the better part of four years.
Or maybe it’s because the reunion is being held at a brewery and I’m a raging alcoholic.
Who knows, could be either one.
What I can say for certain is that if it’s an open bar, there’s a solid chance that by the end of the night I’ll end up either dancing like buffoon, (a lot like prom night) or naked (nothing like prom night).
I can also say that I’m kind of excited. I mean, generally speaking, I like the people I went to high school with.
There are some exceptions, naturally. I won’t name any names… and I certainly won’t do anything super childish if those particular ass-hats decide to make an appearance. (And If they find a steamy, hot pile of shit on the hood of their car, I wanna say now that I have no idea how that got there….)
like most tolerate some of the people I went to high school with, I’m unconvinced that a big ole’ catching up party is necessary.
It’s 2016, things are different now. We live in an age where everyone has self publishing tools, and the ability to update the world about their lives whenever they want. Sadly, however, very few have the ability to string together more than two sentences without it looking like their dog typed it for them, but the point remains…
I already know you’re married.
I’ve already seen pictures of your kids.
I already know how much you hate Obama.
And, no, for the last fucking time, I’m not interested in buying a body wrap.
What I’m saying is you don’t actually need to meet up since everyone you’ve ever known is either on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Shit, even that one girl who ran away sophomore year to become an actress wound up on Pornhub.
Back in the day, ten year reunions were about seeing where other people stood after a decade and, more or less, using them as a measuring stick for your own accomplishments. (Or if you’re the Pornhub girl, lack thereof.)
Granted, for some people, ten year reunions are kind of like going to Walmart and realizing that your life could be way worse. That you could be two-hundred pounds overweight, and have a handful of annoying kids who all suck at sports.
For other people, ten year reunions are kind of like going to Nordstrom and realizing that your life is in shambles. That you’re a total failure, and you’ll never be able to afford a piece of clothing without a picture Dale Earnhardt Jr. printed on the front of it.
But now the dynamic has changed, and ten year reunions are no longer about measuring yourself against other people.
It’s about measuring your past self against your current self.
When it comes to where I stand now versus where I stood a decade ago, there’s a vast difference. I mean, my past self had no clue what he wanted to do after high school…
but, he had some ideas.
First, he tried pursuing a career as a videographer. Why? he had no fucking idea. The pay was low, the work was hard, and the highest level of success he could probably achieve was filming that same Pornhub girl getting “serviced” by a “pizza delivery guy”. Given his general distaste for sweaty genitals and suppressed shame, he opted out of that career path.
Next, he briefly considered firefighting, then just as quickly unconsidered it. He was just too much of pussy, and couldn’t even face down a bee without collapsing into hysterics, let alone face down an entire building that was on fucking fire.
A few other ideas came and went, but he ultimately decided that school was what he needed in order to avoid a life long career of turning tricks behind a Big Lots in exchange for tacos.
Which is where he finds himself now. Law school student by day, dick and fart joke writer by night.
It’s not a bad spot to end up ten years later, but I still wish I could tell that eighteen year old version of me some things about his future. A few precautionary warnings that would help make his life then, and in proceeding decade a little easier.
Not just about his career path, but about life and aging in general.
If I could, I’d first warn him about how much his diet is going to change. I’d tell him that by his nineteenth birthday he’ll no longer be able to annihilate multiple dollar menu cheeseburgers in one sitting without consequence. The decline of his tolerance for shitty junk food will closely mirror the incline of his monthly toilet paper budget.
I would tell him that at some point in his mid-twenties, his metabolism and self-restraint will carry out an apparent murder-suicide pact.
He will get fat.
And then, he will get fatter.
He’ll stop buying tubes of Pringles, and instead buy tubes of Preparation H.
I’d feel obligated to apologize for the cruelty of the universe, but know that won’t soften the emotional blow he’ll get from learning that, eventually, we all get hemorrhoids.
They will hurt.
They will itch.
Prepare your anus.
I would also like to talk to him about his education.Take that eighteen year old dope by the shoulders and implore him to go straight to college. Don’t wait four years after high school like a fucking idiot. He doesn’t want to be the creep who flirts with girls too young to know about Helga Pataki’s incredibly rape-y fixation with Arnold.
“Nickelodeon: Teaching kids that being a total fucking creep is completely normal since 1995.”
I’d feel compelled to warn him about the other pitfalls he’ll face in his future.
About his joints that will start to ache.
About his cynicism that will blossom.
And about this new thing called EDM music that will make him want to slam his face down on the business end of a fireplace poker.
Next, I’d tell him about all the lessons he’ll have to learn the hard way.
That no matter how hard he tries, not everyone will like him.
That no matter how hard he works, not everyone is going to think he’s funny.
And no matter how hard he tries to make sense of it, he’ll never understand why it’s perfectly normal for a toddler to walk around with no pants on, but when he does it he’s, “Scaring the children.” and “Needs to leave Chipotle”.
Stupid double standards.
Anyway. I would save the best piece of advice for last.
I’d tell him that his twenties will be fraught with obstacles that will sour his disposition. He’ll meet some people who will make him question his faith in humanity, but then he’ll meet some people who will restore it. There will be old friendships that will sputter and fade. There will be old friendships that will remain as strong as ever despite not seeing each other as much as you used to, or like to.
He’ll grow, and then he’ll learn, and despite the fact that, eventually, ten years will come to separate him from high school, he’ll never forget the great times he had…
Or that girl who laughed in his face when he asked her out freshman year.
How’s that third divorce and job at Arby’s working out for you?
Written by Daniel Oliver