I don’t know if I should say which year. Well, if you must know, I graduated from high school in 1987. I was eleven. No, not really.
I am exactly in the same spot I was five years ago in every way, except that I think I am a little bit happier. I’m a little less stressed out, and that’s only because I’ve just figured out that there really isn’t that much to stress out over. We’re all going to die anyway. I don’t mean to be bleak, but the opposite. Let’s face it, sooner or later, your time’s going to run out. It doesn’t matter if you can run a sub-three-hour marathon. You’s gonna die. What’s the race?
Other than that one key observation, nothing’s changed. Same job, no marriage, no kids, none of that stuff that we were supposed to accomplish, apparently. It’s not too late, but does it have to be different? If I weren’t who I am, then I’d be someone else. Being me is hard enough.
I didn’t like school, starting in the first grade. By the time I was in high school, I was just counting the days ’til it was all over. I did like math, though, once we got away from balancing check books. The word Quicken meant nothing to our educators back then.
You don’t need to know how to balance a checkbook to be a perfectly happy human being. What you need is to learn how to read, so you can wade through instruction manuals.
You need to learn that you can’t use “I” as a direct or indirect object of a sentence, ever.
I think that if schools focused on math (beyond checkbook balancing) and reading and understanding basic grammar, our world would be a much better place.
I even wrote a thank you e-mail to my English teacher Ms. Bradley, once. I told her that thanks to her strict adherence to the laws of decent grammar and imposing these rules upon us, I was able to be employed as a technical writer.
She wrote back and told me that my e-mail brought tears to her eyes. I was thankful that she didn’t send back any corrections.
I wasn’t sure about going to this reunion. I went to the fifteen year reunion, which was a barbeque in a park near the finish of the Mt. Hamilton Road Race, and came to the sad realization that no one knew who I was. I should have figured this out at the five year reunion, when so many guys asked me whose date I was. It was so uncomfortable when I said, “Uh, you don’t remember? You used to throw rocks at me at the bus stop. Remember that? Ha ha! Good times!”
What didn’t like about school was that I didn’t know how to define who I was, and I resented that this was even expected of me. I think this is true for most kids. If not, I think there’s something terribly wrong with them. But what happens is, because you have no idea who you are, your “being” is defined by everyone else. And it’s the luck of the draw, really. People try, with hair color and make up, but it’s downright impossible to break out of the mold until you graduate and celebrate that you never have to spend another minute of your life with these people.
I’m going, with Miguel as my date, because something else I noticed at the fifteen year reunion was that I didn’t know anybody either. Not like I thought I did. I was so pleasantly surprised.