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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

AUTHOR LOIS WINSTON ON THE DREADED HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

I have a monumental high school reunion coming up in a few months. Every few days I receive an email reminding me to register or suggesting I check out those graduates who have already RSVP’d that they’re planning to attend. I’ve never gone to a single reunion, and I probably won’t go to this one.

My graduating class consisted of 803 students. Don’t ask me how I know this. I’m terrible when it comes to remembering numbers. I don’t remember my own telephone number half the time. But for some reason, I’ve always remembered the number of students in my graduating class. Maybe it’s because of where I ranked, which is one of the few cool things that ever happened to me in high school, but I’m not going to mention that number. No one likes a braggart.

I’ve seen all of three former classmates in the (cough! cough!) years since I graduated. I reconnected with them a few years ago when we happened to run into each other by chance. I now occasionally get together with two of them once a month or so for lunch.

I was pretty much a self-imposed outcast throughout junior high and high school. I didn’t hang with the cool kids; I was the kid the cool kids bullied. Actually, I didn’t really hang with any kids at all. When you grow up in an extremely dysfunctional family, you tend to shy away from making friends for fear of having to reciprocate invitations. Every time I’d cave and bring a friend home, the results were pretty much disastrous. I’m talking on a nuclear meltdown level here, decimating any budding friendship.

So if I didn’t have any real friends way back in the day, why would I be compelled to spend several hundred dollars on an evening with virtual strangers? I’d be the wallflower hanging in the background as groups of old acquaintances formed to catch up with each other’s lives. I doubt anyone would even remember my name. I have only a vague recollection of most of the people who have said they plan to attend and no memory of the others.

Of course, I suppose I could attend the reunion, wearing a huge button that said, “Ask me what I do for a living.” When curiosity got the better of some of the attendees, I could smile sweetly and say, “I kill people.” How’s that for an icebreaker?

On second thought, I’ll save my money. After all, this is New Jersey. Someone might want to hire me. Then again, it might provide a great plot for Anastasia’s next adventure…

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