Thursday, July 29, 2010

Things I Would Say at My High School Reunion

First of all, my attendance at my high school reunion would be preceded by at least one of the following scenarios:
  • Being kidnapped, hog-tied, and driven there at gunpoint
  • Being tied to the leg of a team of wild horses who drug me there
  • Being abducted by aliens, frozen cryogenically, and left to thaw on the buffet table there
And secondly, my willingness to say anything at all would have to be preceded by a heavy dose of truth serum, injected intravenously, leaving a bitter metallic aftertaste in my mouth. Fifteen minutes after the injection, standing disheveled atop the poorly catered buffet table, I would have no physical capacity to do anything but look out over the crowd of my aging classmates and acknowledge a few of them as they stand and stare and wonder who I am. I would say:

"I didn't recognize you without your hair."

"I didn't recognize you without your flat chest."

"I didn't recognize you drunk."

"I didn't recognize you sober."

"Was it sad when you realize that you peaked in high school?"

"I saw you on the news. And not in the good way."

"Have you been visited in the night by three spirits yet or are we still waiting for that?"

"I always wanted to tell you that your sewing projects were terrible."

"Congratulations on your early prison release and those seven illegitimate children."

"They let you into medical school? Was it an online medical school?"

"If only you had applied the same ruthless ambition to your career as you did to ruin my life, you might have actually become somebody."

I would say those things because the first phase of truth serum is the revelation of petty truths. You know, all the little accurate jabs we keep locked behind clenched teeth. I don't condone spouting out petty truths. It isn't helpful or attractive. Stay away from truth serum, that's what I say. Especially in a crowd.

The next phase of truth serum reveals itself with sad truths. They are pathetic in nature. This is what they would sound like coming out of my pathetic mouth:

"I am jealous of people who loved high school."

"I feel robbed of a normal high school experience."

"I am constantly surprised when people refer to their 'dear high school friends'. It seems like such an oxymoron to me."

"What did I ever do to you?"

"High School Musical makes me feel bad about myself."

Helpful Hint: If you're going to take a forced dose of IV truth serum in front of your high school reunion, be sure and arrange some violin music to play in the background. 

Don't be nervous about what would happen next. The third and final phase of truth serum would not be as humiliating for me or my audience. The third phase is the actual truth, born of perspective, time and maturity. The actual truth is cleansing. It would climb out of my throat, stretch its arms in the light of day, marvel at its freedom and say:

"None of this matters anymore, actually. Even though I just said a bunch of petty things, I don't hate any of you or wish you ill will. When it comes right down to it, I actually wish you well. I hope, if you were one of the people who was cruel to me, that you have changed. For the sake of the people in your life, I hope you are a better person now. The world needs better people. I have decided to give you the benefit of the doubt. I can accept that you were young, without comprehension, believing that your actions were harmless. It's the plague of youth, I guess. And I can accept that I may have viewed some of you unfairly, interpreting your standing by as cowardly. Perhaps you truly didn't know.

"But maybe in the years since then, you've lived a little more and seen more of life's darker hallways. Maybe you've learned about disappointment and sorrow. Maybe you lost a job, a dream, a someone. Maybe one day you found a lump. Maybe one day you found God. Maybe you watched a lot of Dr. Phil."

"I don't know, and--I mean this in the nicest possible way--I don't care. Not at all. I have a good life. I have health and family and love. I make excellent chocolate chip cookies and chicken curry that's as warm and comforting as a mother's hug. I have a collection of red shoes. I like who I am. I wish you the same."

At this point, the kidnappers/wild horses/aliens would release me to return back to my life. I would climb off the table and slowly make my way to the double doors dimly lit by an exit sign. Before disappearing forever, I would use up the last of the truth juice flowing in my veins, turn around and simply say:

"But that doesn't mean I want to be your friend on facebook."

26 comments:

Soul-Fusion said...

Bravo!
I neither loved nor hated high school but there were some really, truly sucky parts of college (not to mention the horrors of junior high) so I get it. My dad always told me the best revenge was to live well. It doesn't feel very satisfying initially but it is certainly great when you realize you can shrug your shoulders and absolutely not care about the mean people.

Jennie said...

I just recently started following you. I'm a would-be writer as well. I've been in a writer's group for almost a year and I love it. So, thanks for inspiring me to keep writing.

You really captured HS well -- especially if it was a high school in Utah. (I went to Bountiful and wild horses will be involved if I ever go to a reunion).

Jennie

Lindsay said...

You are inspiring, thank you for sharing.

Mia said...

It breaks my heart that anyone has to endure the kind of cruelty that you did. I worry about the meanness out there.

I had some really really hard times myself in high school. But now I too am in that place where I can truly say, "I actually wish you well." Now that I am there, I worry about any offense that might have occurred at my own hand, or words as it might be. I hope that if I did cause that kind of pain, that they can look at me and forgive me as well.

Kelly S. said...

I think Ryan is right. You have got to have the best mental health of anyone in the world. I think this may be my favorite post of yours, ever. You captured the essence of moving on so perfectly, it almost brought me to tears. Absolutely beautiful.

Ali said...

Sheesh, I was expecting funny and then you gave me gut wrenching and wise. And then that Facebook sucker punch... Bravo, great post.

Emily said...

Well done, Tiffany. Really well done. (And I love the Facebook jab at the end!)

Becky said...

Was that in some way satisfying for you to sort of live through a high school reunion and get to say/think some of those things? I hope so! You are darling and I can't believe there was ever anyone who didn't see what an amazing person you are! What was wrong with those people! You have such a magnetic personality- EVERYONE wants to be your friend (in life AND on Facebook).Such a great post!

Jesse C said...

Once again, brilliant.

Becky said...

I can TOTALLY relate to this. I have no idea what you went through but if it was anything like my own high school experience it involved some really mean people. Loved it. Happy Friday!

Jodi said...

Insightful and let me say that you're lucky you'd only be talking to people that were cruel to you . . . none that you'd need to apologize to.

I'd want to say that I was sorry for being judgemental, sorry for being so wrapped up in my loneliness that I couldn't see someone elses, sorry that at times I didn't stick up for people I should have, sorry that my insecurities made me prickly on occasion, sorry that I cheated, sorry that I let them cheat, sorry, sorry, sorry.

And sorry for being offish on facebook as well . . . but that one will unfortunately stick.

kami @ no biggie said...

I hate that you hated HS and that I peaked in HS. I took that one in the gut. ;)

No really, if they could see & read you now...

Annie said...

next time i don't think you should sugar coat it so much!

love it!

alex dumas said...

Yes!!

Leslie said...

I love you!

Angie said...

I still can't believe that anyone was ever mean to you.

I didn't go to my 20th, but if I had, I would have asked, "So have you stayed drunk all of the last 20 years?" They were usually drunk in high school, and the reunion was at a bar, so you know.

Miranda said...

Wow, this post was like a roller coaster for me. I was laughing, and then I was sad, and then I was proud of you...I loved it! I've missed you. Sorry about the Alzheimer's by the way.

buddens said...

This reminds me how much I like you. Not that I'd really forgotten, but still. I do enjoy you. And it makes me think of my sister - she had someone sabotage pretty much every one of her friendships from the second grade on so I'm totally forwarding this to her and letting her see what a fun, witty, beautiful person you are. She may find comfort in knowing that she wasn't the only one to have such a rotten teen experience. She too, I'm happy to say, has risen above and has a happy life.

Rachelle said...

i freaking loved this post! i laughed and said "amen sistah" soo many times. you nailed it. and then nailed it again. haha. loved this.

Omgirl said...

Very well written. And it fills me with nostalgia. not for my actual high school experience, but for the Peggy Sue Got Married version that I imagine I had sometimes.

Mine wasn't painful so much--no teasing or meanness. but I went to four different schools in four years, so I sat alone a lot and wished for good friends a lot.

Anyway, feeling a bit 'o' your pain. Thanks for writing about it.

Lindy-Lou said...

Actually, hold on to this version. It would still work 20-30 years from now. You're ahead of your time.

Mac and Dixie said...

You never cease you amaze me. How is that you can express exactly how I feel about most every subject!? I love you!

Kellybee said...

Amen. I feel the exact same way...I just wish I was as articulate as you...all I could come up with was, "kiss my ***!" But, I like yours better!

Kim said...

Well, if you don't want to kick this person in the face, you just let me know who & where & I'll do it for you. I'm serious. Loved the post.

James said...

Genious.

I do think that you should give them the bird as you walked out of the room.

Zaltana said...

Great post!
I don't know you - but it's as if you know me - or knew me in high school. Thanks for this delicious post! I love it. It has truly helped my see experiences (& people) from my past in a whole new light.
Thanks!
~Wendy~

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