My 30th high school class reunion is tonight. It's hard to believe. Why, it seems like only yesterday I was dashing through the showers in PE hoping no one would see me or steal my towel.
Has it really been three decades since I fell and landed on one of the most popular senior boys, breaking his foot?(Seriously, you think I make this stuff up for this column, but it's painfully true.)
OK, so we all know the problem with reunions is everyone tries to impress everyone else. You worry your life won't be judged by your former classmates as "successful." So you plan a great makeover.
Gee, is there enough time to have plastic surgery? Can I rent a Corvette? Can I write a novel and get it published (yet this afternoon)?
On the invitation, the reunion committee asked what we've been up to the past 30 years.
"What is your biggest accomplishment?" read the questionnaire. Umm. I learned to like tomatoes? I chaperoned 20 Girl Scouts on a trip to Europe and survived? (Barely.)
Maybe I'll be like the girls in the movie, "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" and tell my former classmates I invented Post-It notes. Do you think anyone would suspect?
No, my claim to fame has to be better than that. It has to be something really impressive. Maybe I'll say I appeared on "Oprah." Now THAT would be something.
I could say I went to medical school and became a doctor, but someone might sprain an ankle on the dance floor and I'd be expected to administer treatment.
Or I could claim to be a hedge fund manager, but then people might wonder why I'm driving a used car. (It only had 18,000 miles on it when I bought it!)
I hope the reunion committee doesn't have us wear name tags with our high school senior pictures on it (like they did for our 20th reunion). Please, please, please no. My driver's license photo taken the morning after my 21st birthday looks better than my senior picture. It's awful. Bad hair. No makeup. On top of all that, I'm sitting in a tree. And we thought our senior photos were a big deal because they were in color in the yearbook.
Today's teenagers have it so much better. They have Facebook. Texting. iPads. We never had anything cool like that. OK, we had Sylvester Stallone, but by "Rocky V," even he got pretty boring.
Back when I went to high school, we had to work hard for our grades. If you wanted to plagiarize your English term paper, you had to copy the words from a real library book, by hand, with a dull No. 2 pencil! None of this sissy "cut and paste" from Wikipedia.
At least the class of 1981 knew how to write in cursive.
It was a different era. Most boys didn't wear earrings and girls didn't normally have tattoos. The closest thing to a tattoo was writing notes on the palm of your hand with a Bic pen.
Disco was on its way out, but it would be two more years before Michael Jackson did the Moonwalk for the first time. At parties, we danced and put our arms in the air to form the letters "YMCA."
Flash forward 30 years. The only parties I get invited to these days are for jewelry or basket sales. And I can't lift my arms to form the "Y" in "YMCA" because I have tendonitis in my right elbow.
Well, I didn't invent Post-It notes and I never appeared on "Oprah," but I'm still looking forward to tonight. As lyrics from a favorite song of my youth say, "Tonight, we're gonna party like it's 1999 ... "
Or at least 1981.
Contact Susan Hazlett at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to her in care of The Pantagraph, 301 W. Washington St., Bloomington, IL 61702-2907.