Friday, August 07, 2009

20 Years? Not Enough

Believe it or not, my 20 year high school reunion is tomorrow. I know, I know, I don’t look that old. What’s my secret? I’ll never tell. I still look reasonably fresh faced and bepimpled for my age judging by the regularity for which I get carded buying my weekly inebriants despite being 17 years past the legal limit. I think the Ex-Lax should give it away but the cashier probably just thinks I’ve found a new accelerant to enhance my next rave experience.

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.

Happy trails.

* 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.

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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!

28 comments:

Katie D. said...

If the reunion is where I'm thinking it must be at, I'm a little shocked. Maybe they are trying to discourage attendance?

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I certainly don't blame you for not wanting to go. I went to my somethingth reunion and will never go to another. Boring evening with a bunch of strangers that I have nothing in common with anymore...

Xenia said...

All I can see in that photo is hair. Lots and lots of hair. And the thousands of gallons of AquaNet needed to keep it all in its flared out glory.

Betsy said...

I had my 15 year reunion last summer (read: I am way younger than you, old man), and even though high school and I were not friends, I went... and I was glad I did. I hadn't seen most of those people in those 15 years, and that time really equalized us all. I felt like we were meeting for the first time, and people I would have had nothing to do with back then ended up being really cool.

Also, I was able to work into conversation several times that I'd run 20 miles that morning, and yes, I DO look just like I did in high school, only hotter.

B.o.B. said...

I am so with you on the reunion thing. Well, except that you are old. JK, My 10 year was last year and it definitely has not been long enough for me to go back.

My post today is also about Mr. Hughes. May he rest in peace.

"No more yanky my wanky, the Donger need food!" 16 Candles

Marlene said...

I'd be all over a marathon reunion! The nice thing is, there's already an unofficial reunion planned EVERY SINGLE YEAR... you know, each time the marathon is run!

If I'm still running marathons in 20 years, that'll be worth celebrating.

Have a great weekend!

The Sean said...

Huey Lewis is well known for his ability to automatically add 3 minutes to 5k finishing times. This is generally referred to as the 'Huey Factor'

Roisin said...

I really was going to guess the guy with his arms in the air. Oh well.

Vanilla said...

My class had an 11 year reunion that I went to and it wasn't bad. I guess my class wasn't organized enough to get it all done for the standard 10 year reunion.

Mike G said...

There was a family guy episode that spoofed high school where the evil little baby intoned very ominously "high school is the most important part of your life - nothing will ever be as significant - it's all downhill from here" or something to that effect. Cracked me up. People take high school too damn seriously in this country.

6:46 over 6.5 miles seems quite good - must be all that 5k speed training. A 10k in the near future?

Cindy said...

i don't think i;ll be going to any reunions either, even though i do believe in the 'revenge of the nerds' life phenomenon, i.e. that the geeks hold up quite well through the ages

Vava said...

Man, that class is bigger than my entire High School (grades 9 - 12). Although we only had about 50 in my graduating class, I barely remember any of them since, like you, I moved around a lot growing up. I still keep in touch with a couple, and we make fun of a few despite not having seen them in seventeen years...

And that's one hell of a run. (Read: envious)

BrianFlash said...

My 25th high school reunion will be next spring. There were only 27people in my graduating class and I went to school with many of them from grade one, but somehow I mirror your feelings about the people in my class. I haven't kept in touch with anyone.

I was much faster in high school then I am now though...

RazZDoodle said...

So, it's like a Where's Nitmos? My daughter loves those books!

You're old.

Mike said...

You went to high school?

mr loser said...

Stop in, have a beer, rap with some people, you may enjoy yourself. Or you can always search for a goat for a "friend's" room. like we did at our last reunion. We found one, but, alas, the pet store wouldn't sell it to us. We settled for a dozen goldfish, a bird and fifty crickets. Always pay with cash in these situations, of course.

Laura said...

Meh, I think you should go and wear every medal from every race you've ever done. I'm sure it wouldn't look like you were trying to show off or anything...

X-Country2 said...

Heeeeeello 80s!

Irene said...

Oh, come on, go... It's a good way to gain some perspective.

Kristina said...

I can't believe you're missing an opportunity to wear ALL of your marathon medals at once to show how far you've come (pun not intended). I hear people at reunions are really impressed by that.

joyRuN said...

Lovely negative splits in your limbo run - don't you want to work THAT into a high school reunion conversation?

Rural Runner E said...

As a military kid, I feel your pain....11 schools in 12 years. have not been to a reunion yet.

theloosemoose said...

I shunned my 20 year reunion, but had a BLAST checking out the pics that they posted later. Not a person in that crowd could finish a 10K, I'm sure of it.

Jess said...

Holy crap you had a big class! I think my graduating class was maybe half of that. I can't blame you for not going back. My five year one is coming up and I'm not much looking forward to it.

Ted said...

Spill the beans dude? You probably have been using Grecian formula ??

Lauren said...

I figure your secret is all that honey.

I accidentally stumbled into a reunion of the grade above me last year. I was just going to a bar, walked in, took a look around and immediately thought 'Oh f*ck!' I exited as quickly as possible.

Al's CL Reviews said...

Since Facebook, I don't see the point of reunions. Eh! I look at people I wasn't friends with in HS and am pretty sure that I wouldn't be friends with them now.

You probably aren't missing anything.

Adam said...

Until I hear otherwise, I'm going to assume that you are the dude in the front row about 1/3 of the way from the left. You know, the guy in the leather jacket with the sunglasses on channeling the fonze? *thumbs up* Heyyyyyyy