I feel philosophical today. I think it may have been something I ate, but, reunions are on my mind.

Thinking about reunions to me is akin to thinking about taking a trip to the zoo. Why would I waste any time — even thinking time — on either one? And I don’t think I can charge this one off to having cancer — even though looking into the past should be added to the list of anyone’s cancer symptoms.

Reunions strike me as odd things to be involved in. Basically, it seems as if we’re saying: “Hey! This event was great. We had soooo much fun, and we are all closing our time together on a fabulous high. I love you. You love me. We all love each other. It’s a veritable luvapolooza.

“I’ve got a great idea. Let’s get back together for a reunion in a few years, after we’ve had the chance to really burnish this memory into something special, taking it from a truly wonderful and fun time together and making it legendary.”

We mess with it so much, that, in the end, what was once a wonderful memory becomes just another oh-so-close, but not quite, fabulous spot on the Circle Lines Cruise of the island that is our life.

Now, as someone who has struggled with weight issues most of my adult life, any thought of any reunion must first be assigned a weight age. Like the Mesozoic, Neanderthal and Cro-magnon eras, I must account for my chubby, the almost-near-the-right-weight and wow-I-don’t-remember-ever-being-that-big eras.

If you think about the chart showing the evolution of man, and, instead of it showing how upright you walked as the eons went by, it revealed how your stomach looked from the side, you might get some idea of what I’m talking about.

So, what seemed like a good idea at the time — Let’s get together in five years — morphs. Even when you get the reunion invitation in the mail or email, you spend the first few seconds remembering the fun and the rest of the day (or eternity) remembering all the other bits. Time to hit the old excuse book.

Or maybe that’s just me.

From what I’ve said, you’ve probably guessed that I don’t like high school reunions. OK, but that wouldn’t really be right unless you put at least seven reallys in front of “don’t.” You’d also have to entertain the thought that other people might enjoy going to their high school reunion. No way, man. There is no good reason for going back to high school … for anyone.

If you’re like me, you surely have a list of people you’ve always wanted to see having had some terrible thing happen to them. There’s a couple you might still want to serve a glass of punch that you’ve spit in (sorry, but it could be true), and, more to the point, a much larger number you want to grill on why making your life so unhappy was such an integral part of making their life happy.

It used to be that I wanted to be sure I measured up, that I was at least less of a failure — if I couldn’t be more successful — than my classmates.

But here’s the thing: You cannot go back.

I might want to be 16 again and experience wonderful success, whatever that might have looked like back then, against a whole bunch of mean people. But I can’t. The best I could do would be a 66-year-old guy laying some petty revenge on some poophead who wouldn’t remember what he did or why I would still be so mad about it almost five decades later.

Besides, having cancer took away whatever minimal pleasure there might have been in that. The person I didn’t care for could have had any number of completely random bad things happen to them. I wouldn’t want to add to a person’s upset for even a second.

I did go to one high school reunion. It was my ex-wife Janice’s fifth reunion, I think. My ex-wife and her sister Jeanne are twins. So, being in some manner joined to the twins made it very easy to put people out of their misery when they tried to figure out if I had been in Mr. Walker’s sixth-period trig class with them. I just said, “I didn’t go to your school. I’m with one of the twins,” and that was more than enough.

Jim Arnold is a former copy editor for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. To read more about his journey through cancer, visit his blog, findingthepony.blogspot.com.


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