I got a phone call during the summer of 2008 from a former classmate at Bishop Lynch High School letting me know the class of 1988 would be holding its 20th reunion in late August. I wasn’t that excited.
Given that I was one week away from being laid off and I still hadn’t heard from the job I interviewed for the month before, the last thing I wanted to do was listen to former classmates’ success stories. I didn’t want to see pictures of their kids and listen to them boast about the six-figure salaries their significant others made let alone take a one-night stroll down memory lane.
To quote TV mobster Tony Soprano, “Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation.”
My attitude about reminiscing is equivalent to the attitudes of some of the characters in “The Big Chill” (1983), including Alex whose off-screen suicide brought the college friends together and who audiences learned about through recollections.
I equate my not wanting to reminisce with what Harold (played by Kevin Kline) said about his friends over dinner in the film.
“Getting away from you people was the best thing that ever happened to me. I mean how much sex, fun, friendship can one man take?” he said.
OK, there was no sex but there were moments of fun and friendship.
The truth is that I haven’t seen two of my three closest friends from high school since 2006. One I haven’t seen since his wedding reception in the 1990s. I have three of them on my Facebook page but, despite suggesting we get together for lunch, it has yet to happen. When your friends are married and have kids, your interests change and you drift apart.
Personally, I’m much more interested in finding out what happened to the people I knew in grade school from 1976 to 1984, which is where social media comes in.
Although I have only connected with seven former classmates from high school on Face- book, prompted by the “People You May Know” listing, I have been able to locate almost everyone from grade school. Even though I had no desire to friend a major- ity of them, I have been able to learn every- thing I wanted to know just by looking at their personal portraits or pictures of their kids and seeing where they live or what company they work for, provided they made that informa- tion public.
The same applies to the friends I’ve connected with on social media that I knew in high school. All the information I’ve learned about various people is what I would learn by attending an alumni party where you are served the best food from some of the top restaurants, free alcohol and a band that actu- ally knows how to play dance music.
To quote Jeff Goldblum’s character in “The Big Chill,” “They throw a great party for you on the one day they know you can’t come.”
I’m not denying it was good to see a couple of former classmates in person when I attended the alumni party in 2015 at a homecoming game. I have since received a few friend requests from other classmates I had not seen in two decades. The question remains, will I see them again when the 30th reunion comes up in 2018? Will I, just for the hell of it, attend another homecoming game to see who I run into to play catch up with? Will I even go to the 30th reunion or just wait until the big 50 comes around? I’m not think- ing that far ahead.
Now that we have social media, I don’t think a day goes by for anyone that they don’t see a post from so-and-so letting everyone know what their relationship status is, wishing friends happy birthday, letting people know where they’re working, posting pictures of their kids, family get-togethers and places they go on vacation.
People can now click on the “like” option if they approve of the comment, meme or opinion so-and-so posted, or they can engage in arguments about politics, gun control, free health care or terrorism, or at the very worst, unfollow or delete them because they don’t agree with their left-wing/right-wing politics.
With the technology we have now, why do we need high school reunions? We can find out all we ever wanted to about someone through social media.
Although we might miss the free food and never-ending supply of alcoholic beverages.
- Joe Stumpo