I guess this is the time I should be nostalgic: Homecoming, Prom, t.p.ing the mean ole vice principal’s house. I would be nostalgic, I guess, but I never did any of those things. I spent my high school years James Deaning it. Had you played along back then and asked me, “What are you rebelling against, Nitmos?” I’d have said, “Whaddya got?” Of course, I’m not comparing myself to James Dean (I’ll let him do that.) He had a Porsche Spyder; I drove a Mercury Zephyr (sans power steering and requiring a foot out of the car to rock it back and forth when moving out of Park on any incline.) Tomatoes, to-mah-toes.
I attribute this non-participatory attitude to the nomadic, serial moving we did as a family. A couple of different homes prior to kindergarten, several more during elementary school, a couple of middle schools (junior high), before finally landing on one final stop at one high school. By then, the whole ‘whipping up a new posse’ thing had gotten a bit tired so I shrugged my shoulders, yawned, ruffled my mopish hair and counted the days until college. And then read lots and lots of books while dreaming of all the keg beer I’d drink. (Ed. note: Dream fulfilled!)
So, I don’t really know the people I graduated with. Here we are in all of our shaggy haired, John Hughes (born in Lansing, MI by the way) character imitating, Guns-N-Roses lovin’ glory. I’m in there somewhere but I have no idea where. Probably the dude with hair draped over his eyebrows looking disinterested and mildly annoyed. I vaguely recall being on the right hand side of the picture but my memory may be a mirror so who knows? Can you find me? If so, please let me know.* Seriously.
Click to enlarge
It’s a fairly large graduating class. At the time, we were one of the largest classes in the state as this district in northern Michigan - besides the local “city” kids – seemingly bussed in every farm boy from two counties over. Imagine my surprise then when the invitation for the reunion provides the locale as a local, medium sized Irish restaurant. Really? You’re going to get that class (look above) into that restaurant (think Applebees.)
I must not be the only one not going. Twenty years later, I’m only about 5 lbs heavier than my graduation weight. Young Nitmos, from that photo, had never even considered running a marathon. He was busy cultivating a Revolver era Beatles look and wondering why the roll on anti-perspirant couldn’t hold back the flood of underarm sweat that saturated his shirts by second period every day.
It’s kinda fitting, I think, for me to be anonymous and lost in that photo. Everyone in it seems like a stranger anyhow. I don’t think I’d recognize myself if I’d see me. A lot can happen in twenty years. Almost all of it for the better. Certainly my pace per mile kicks greater ass today. You try being a non-participatory, self described "rebel" with a daily uniform of week ripe jeans, non-moisture wicking t-shirts, loafers (no socks) and a horrible taste for hair metal bands (and Huey Lewis) and see what that does to your 5k time.
As fate would have it, I happen to be traveling back up to my home town tomorrow. The kids are staying at their grandparents and need retrieving. Even though I’ll be in town and even though I know when/where the event will take place and have nothing else to do, I won’t be going. I feel more nostalgic towards the 35,000 strangers I ran my first marathon with rather than my graduating class. Twenty years is a long time but, for me, not long enough.
I’ll just assume that everyone is 20-50lbs heavier, growing hair in spots other than the top of the head, lying about their career, and beaten down by stress from kids, marriage, career, retirement plans, the death of John Hughes and the recent flopped release of Chinese Democracy and save myself $80. Sound good?
I wonder if the 2006 Chicago Marathon runners will want to meet at an Irish pub in twenty years to celebrate and run the 2026 Chicago Marathon?
Now that would be a reunion I wouldn’t miss.
* I’m telling you right now that I am not the exuberant fellow on the far right that is jumping up with arms extended as if he just had his name called on The Price Is Right. Also, as a curious side note, in this photo somewhere – and my graduating class – is the young man who would make national news by dying from heart failure at the infamous heat stroked 2007 Chicago Marathon. R.I.P. There is a memorial race in his honor.
Behold the majesty of a well executed Limbo Run:
6.5 miles @ 6:46 pace
Miles: 7:09, 7:03, 7:00, 6:51, 6:37, 6:19, 2:59 (@5:57 pace)! Limbo!