Of all the things that I cannot believe — starting with how it’s possible to send this blog around the world using electricity — the thing I cannot believe the most is that I will attend my 40th high school reunion in two weeks.
That means it’s been four decades since I was a senior at Norman High School in 1974. And I’ve never been back for a reunion. Not even once.
I did think about attending the 10-year reunion in 1984, mainly to leverage my major celebrity status of being a hotshot Singapore journalist and, thus, able to jump the bones of girls I never had the courage to jump back in high school.
But, by 1984, I had already met the missus-to-be in Singapore, so that killed the reunion “bone jumping” scenario.
I also figured there were still one or two (okay, maybe 10 or 20) people who wanted to punch me in the nose. Why? Let’s just say that I spent a great deal of the time at NHS (as they so quaintly put it here in New Zealand) “being a dick”.
Since there was to be no jumping of female bones, and there was the likelihood of getting punched out, I decided against making the 19,000-mile Singapore-Norman-Singapore journey.
Time ticked on. Decades passed.
At the time of the 20th, 25th and 30th reunions, I was still in New Zealand, working stupid hours in the stupid field of P.R. (Motto: Yesterday you hosted the Prime Minister; today you write about butthole cancer). To quote Jack Bauer, there simply was “NO TIME DAMMIT”!
The clock kept ticking. Another decade passed.
Now it’s 2014 and time to go home.
Facebook convinced me. It did this by reconnecting me with several of the world-class, smart alecks that I used to *hang out with in high school. They still make me laugh, and laughter is something I need way more of.
One of these people, who I will not name because he is probably wanted by the FBI, just yesterday asked me the following:
Loaded Question Alert!
“Do you remember our friend “Heartbeat” that entertained us in Dallas the night before an OU/Texas game?”
Now, it’s important to stress that I have NO MEMORY involving any entertainer at an alleged topless bar in Dallas, who may or may not have had the most eye-catching heart tattoo that you will ever see in your whole life. Therefore, I have no comment, other than to say what goes on tour, stays on tour, especially if it involves OU-Texas weekends in the Seventies.
The Norman High Class of ’74 was pretty unique. I’ve heard that we had the highest test scores ever recorded and were the only graduating class in NHS history that did not leave the school a gift. Not a bench. Not a plaque. Not a brass razoo. I guess that’s understandable, since we graduated the year before the Vietnam War ended. Showing respect for authority was not the thing you did, back then.
So far as I know, none of my classmates grew up to save the world. I’ve heard that one one guy “invented Apple”, or so he hints at, while smirking in a way that makes people want to thump him. Another guy won an Emmy in sports journalism (I know, right?). And one gal had quite a career in the Dallas entertainment industry — something to do with cardiac or heartbeats or something. **Ahem.
I’m not sure what to expect from the two-day NHS reunion, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m also really looking forward to hugging on my family, including two-and-eight-nineths grandnieces who only know me as a Cyber Uncle, which just sounds creepy.
Getting back for the reunion and seeing my family are enormously important. But, come to find out recently, they are not the main driver for this trip home. That came from above.
The real reason I am going home is to be with a felluh who is integral to my life, and who’s in a time of great distress right now.
You see, I love his guy. He is the only person on the planet that I can go 10 years without seeing, and the instant we are back together, it is like old times again.
The fabric of our lives is entwined. Our fates are linked.
If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have gone to Singapore, which means I wouldn’t have met my Missus or had my amazing son. And were it not for me, I’m not sure whether he and his high school sweetheart would have become man and wife, and had kids, who had kids.
Just recently, my buddy’s eldest son was diagnosed as having a tumor the size of an egg embedded in the left side of his brain. The initial medical advice has not been particularly great.
As I write this, we are awaiting news from the Big Boys at M.D. Anderson. We are ***praying. And we are optimistic. Whatever happens while I am home in June, I will be there with my Buddy and his family, doing my job, which is being a smart-ass and a shoulder to lean on.
Because that’s what you do. The rest of all this stuff is just eye wash.
If I don’t blog for awhile, ya’ll feel free to talk among yourselves. Or better yet, go see an old friend who you’ve lost touch with.
Do it now. Because the clock keeps on ticking.
*e.g. drinking and being obnoxious
** This is a big, fat lie, almost certainly
*** Your prayer support would be greatly appreciated
UPDATE — Less than 48 hours after having a baseball-sized tumor removed from his brain, this young man walked out of M.D. Anderson on his own. Everything went perfectly. Can you say “miracle”?