Chief Jack Performing With Friends     Ah, yes, the class reunion.  The very thought of a reunion makes us wax nostalgic and think about “old times”.  That expression, come to think of it, sometimes dates us, but we don’t usually seem to mind, referring to the past as “the good old days”. 

Were they really that good, or is our memory suffering from premature Alzheimer’s disease?  For some of us, the “old days” were indeed good, as we may think back about that first car, a huge, chrome plated, brightly painted hulk with a V8 engine the size of an atomic reactor tucked under a hood that could easily house a small town.  Did we care that it only got 8 1/2 miles per gallon?  Of course not!  In those days, gas was 27 cents a gallon, and the best memory of all regarding that car is the night you got Sandra Wilson to take her blouse off at the drive in theater and she wasn’t wearing…. 

Oops!  Did I go too far back with that?  I see some hands up in the back. What was that question?  “What’s a drive-in?”  Hold that thought.   Yes?  “Sandra Wilson told you YOU were the only one she’d ever shown her breasts to?”  No, I don’t know her personally, so you can put that knife away. 

A drive-in, of course, was a place where you drove your car to a big field to watch a movie on a huge screen while sitting in your car.  You would grab a speaker off a post, hang it on your window and watch, sometimes, as many as four movies through the night.  Of course, drive-ins were always built on cheap land, usually a former toxic dump that was home to mosquitoes large enough to make off with a small cow, so the theater’s management would give you these little discs called “Pic Repellent” that you lit up so their smoke would keep mosquitoes away.  “Pic coils”, however, were not a deterrent to the flying bloodsuckers.  In fact, I believe they were attracted to the smell of “Pics”, eventually figuring out that where there’s smoke, there’s a free lunch. 

Remember how when we were in high school we couldn’t wait to get out?  Now, here it is, some 30 years later, and your old classmates are trying to get everyone together for a reunion. Naturally, you find out about it through some Website because you’re still as unpopular now as you were back then, and you wouldn’t be invited if you were the only graduate of that class left alive. 

Class reunions do strange things to people.  Women find out to their chagrin that they really no longer fit in that slinky prom dress of theirs.  Guys discover all of a sudden what their mirror has been hinting at for years.  When you got out of high school, you needed just one mirror to check yourself out, but now you find that you’d need to see your reflection in a bay window to see the total package. 

Ladies take hours to get themselves ready for one of these evenings, just in case they should run into their old flame, and in order to try to look better than all the other would-be prom queens who’ll be there.  The hair, nails, and makeup have to be perfect, because women know they have to look perfect for guys to even give them a glance. 

The men, though, really take the cake.  Even though they have only seven strands of hair left that must be strategically placed to simulate a full coiffure, and their stomach will get into the reunion hall 45 seconds before the rest of their body, they still think they look great.  They’ll put on that yellow and green plaid jacket and orange pants they wore at the prom, even though it means that they’ll have to buckle their size 32 belt under that size 48 stomach. 

Instead of talking about old times, many people who attend class reunions spend all their time either bragging about what they achieved, or make something up about how they work in the movie industry, if you consider polishing the stars on the sidewalks in Hollywood working in the movies. 

The music at these reunions is always what was popular at graduation, and it doesn’t help our self-consciousness to know that some of the bands back then are still around today, like the Stones, KC and the Sunshine Band, and even Paul Anka.  Paul, by the way, just like Frankie Avalon, still looks great, and this means that the women will use them as a yardstick to rate you.  That’s OK, though, guys—if they start on that particular line, we can remind them of how terrific Sophia Loren and Raquel Welch still look. 

Let’s talk food.  I’ve never attended a class reunion, but people I know have, and they invariably say that the food is not what you’d opt for if you were catering the affair, with such delicacies as caviar and little colored bits of sealing caulk on oddly-shaped crackers, chased down with the same spiked punch from the prom in 1977 that somebody brought out of cryogenic freeze for the occasion. 

Yes, nostalgia runs deep in our lives, and we spend a lot of time, the older we get, trying to recapture our youth by refusing to listen to new music and in extreme cases even dying our hair to hide the gray (yes, men do it too–just ask Mike Wallace) and spending a small fortune on a sporty convertible to try to look cool for the ladies. 

That will never be a problem with me. Even if I wanted to dye my hair, there’s wasn’t enough left on top for anyone to notice, so I now shave my head (and friends tell me I look much younger).  I no longer have a need to impress any ladies, and if I did, it certainly wouldn’t be my car that impresses them.  The only way my car would attract women is if it suddenly became a magnet and all women had metal plates in their heads. 

I have no need or desire to attend a class reunion.  I laughed off invites for the 20 year and 25-year meeting, and now that the 30-year mark is behind me, I still sincerely hope that none of my old classmates will ask me to go to one.  If I did, I would be a crashing bore.  When I graduated high school, back in the days when people used papyrus and carrier pigeons, I was doing my radio show and working in an automotive parts department.  Today, the only difference is that my radio show is on a hiatus, but I am still in automotive parts. 

Guess that’s why I’m not the reunion sort of guy.  When you look up “excitement” in the dictionary, my name is listed as an antonym.  For you, however, a class reunion may be just what you need to spice up your life.  I understand there’s a new color for that sealing caulk on the crackers this year.



  1. 1 thebarefoot November 20, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    Steely Dan said it best, “I’m never going back to my old school.”

  2. 2 chiefjack November 20, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Steely Dan—yes, they had a lot of good music that’s grossly underplayed these days. Thanks for the comment.

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