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Another Portland Blog

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Magic moments, filled with...gin

A postcard for my 10 year high school reunion landed in my mailbox back in February. This was disconcerting for two reason:

1. I'm a decade removed from high school and I have yet to write a New York Times bestseller, inherit a substantial amount of wealth, graduate from an Ivy League school with a PhD in anything and/or jump over fifteen helicopters on a moped.

2. According to a form I signed sometime in 1996, prior to spending a year as my class' Senior Class President, I was supposed to spearhead the organization of the reunion.

But my rights and authority had somehow been seized by our Student Body President and his cabinet. They, along with a local company that plans class reunions, had decided to set the event at a nightclub in NW Portland, charge $90 a head to get in and not even give me a cut of the action. What would that $90 eventually net 100 or so of my former classmates? A lukewarm chicken dinner, a lousy DJ and a night spent picking at decade-old emotional wounds.

Not willing to settle for that, I emailed a few fellow alumni suggesting that we host our own rival reunion. The invite would be extended to anyone who wanted to show up, whether they graduated from our high school or not. The proposed venue? The Acropolis, of course. Really, can you think of a better place to hold something like this? This absolutely brilliant idea eventually petered out when we realized that no female among us would set foot near the place.

So where did we wind up? A certain NW dive bar that rhymes with "Moe's Teller," conveniently located 10 blocks from the official event. Since several of our colleagues from back in the day weren't willing to fly cross-country for a class reunion, real or otherwise, we settled for a low-key night of heavy drinking.

Of course, that was all thwarted when the bar began coincidentally filling with former classmates, all fleeing the real reunion. Word about the Acropolis plan had spread over the course of the summer and I was asked no less than a million times (ok, more like three times) why we hadn't set up shop across town. I still don't know how many people went over there on Saturday looking for a rival reunion.

While we had tried to avoid the reunion it had come to us. Did I see and talk to people I couldn't remember who still remembered me? Yup. Did I chat with a guy I got into a fistfight with in the 5th grade after he jumped on my desk and started poking me on the head? Yup. Did I brag about my "great" career or kill a rival assassin before hooking up with a lost love? Nope.

And, really, isn't that why people go to these things in the first place? To gloat about how fantastic their lives have become in front of their former rivals or to go hunting for someone they still secretly pine for? Everyone else stays away. Or at least that's my theory. Those who attend hope for the Grosse Point Blank experience or the Don Simpson experience (the now dead Hollywood producer allegedly showed up at his 20-year reunion in a helicopter with two Penthouse Pets in tow. He talked to his old friends and ignored the people who once picked on him before flying off to spend the rest of the night presumably engaged in carnal bliss at a fairly high altitude).

Even though none of us really attended our class reunion, we may as well have. The wife of a friend felt she witnessed and experienced enough awkward encounters to warrant avoiding her own class reunion, coming up this weekend. If I'm still living in the area in 2017 I'll be spending the night at the Acropolis, assuming that it won't have been replaced with a hydrogen car dealership or a Clone Gap.

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