By BOB WIRE
I’m getting increasing pressure to attend my 35th high school reunion.
The persistent sleuths from High Desert High School have pinpointed my location. This, despite 18 different address changes, seven states’ worth of driver’s licenses, two years in the L.A. underground as a member of the A-Team (jujitsu expert), and some light plastic surgery.
Modern-day reunion organizers are relentless. They have at their disposal many sophisticated tools for tracking down those of us on the “missing” list from the class roles. Private detectives, law enforcement insiders, IRS records, all of these resources can be employed to locate an individual, not matter how well hidden he thinks he is.
But they simply Googled me. No one escapes the Google.
The first invitations were fairly mundane. “Bob, we would love for you to join us for the Reunion Weekend this summer in Greasewood, California. The high school has been razed to make way for a rehab clinic, but we’ll be gathering at the Greasewood Holiday Inn Express to celebrate.”
When I didn’t respond, the queries became more insistent.
“Bob, don’t you want to catch up with old pals, rekindle friendships, and spend some time reliving memories with the rest of the Class of ’77?” implored the organizer, Marianne Pluck-Worthington.
In high school, she was just Marianne Pluck, and her doting manner and pathological organizing skills in high school resulted in the unfortunate nickname of Mother Pluck. No surprise she was put in charge of the reunion. (Or perhaps there was a bloodless coup.)
I continued to ignore Marianne’s pleas, and her emails took on a bit of an edge: “Bob, I know you’re getting these emails. Please send the $150 deposit today, and I’ll stop spreading rumors about your cleft asshole.”
I blew her off. The emails continued.
“Hey, pencil-dick, do you think you’re too good for us? Well, you’re not. I know you remember I kicked your ass in the lunchroom that time you tried to sell me a dime bag of oregano, and I will come out there to Sheep Dip, Montana, and kick it again. Don’t think I won’t, you hillbilly moron. So please reconsider—we’d love to see you!”
It’s not that I don’t want to see my old classmates. It’s just that I don’t remember who any of them are. I wasn’t a big joiner in school, but moved among several cliques like an invisible presence. At 5’2” and 140 pounds, I practically was invisible.
I did have a few friends on the track squad. The Fightin’ Horned Toads were a formidable force in track and field, and my specialty was the broad jump. As a senior, I took a bronze medal at state by jumping over six broads. I also competed in the pole vault, but I sucked. I was regularly bested by the high jumpers.
But swapping memories of getting high behind the tennis courts, discovering the art teacher’s secret stash of pornographic Christmas cards, and not having sex ever, are beside the point. From what I hear, every high school reunion is focused on two things: What kind of car do you drive? How much money are you making?
I fronted a regionally successful band for the better part of ten years. I’ve recorded and released several CDs, and shared the stage with some pretty major names in the music world. Published a book under a pseudonym. Got a thriving freelance design business, and I am not entirely shunned in my community. I finally found a wife I can live with, and she and I have two kids who are amazing people. I’ve never been convicted of a felony. Never convicted.
But all that I’ve accomplished in my life pales in the shadow of what kind of car I drive.
That’s so high school.
I should go. I’ll borrow my sister’s AMC Pacer, grow a big Fu Manchu mustache, and shave a big ass bald spot into my head. I’ll slather myself in Brut, fit the ol’ Billy Bob teeth into my piehole, and affect a lisp. I’ll borrow a Century 21 gold polyester jacket and wear it over the salmon colored, ruffled tuxedo shirt I wore to my prom. (No wonder I never had sex.) I’ll have a nice sauerkraut-and-sardine sandwich before I go, to ensure eye-crossing bad breath. I’ll stuff my pockets with dime bags of oregano.
Once I get there, I’ll proceed to get sloppy drunk, and claim to have slept with everyone in the room at some point during my senior year. Even the vice-principal, and he wasn’t that good-looking.
Then, when I’m on the verge of being given the bum’s rush, I’ll casually mention my current career as a movie producer in Sherman Oaks. The Fightin’ Horned Toads will unhand me, dollar signs in their eyes, and all will be forgiven. In Southern Cal, whether the high desert or the Malibu coast, it’s all about dinero.
Instead of an obnoxious loser shit heel, I’ll be dubbed “eccentric.” People will be thrusting screenplays and poon tang at me so fast that I’ll have to make my getaway before anyone uses their phone to Google the real me. I hope that Pacer still has some get up and go.
I’ll offer up this prayer as I drive away with my dignity, a pocketful of business cards, and crappy movie treatments:
“Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don’t fail me now!”
Check out all of Bob Wire’s posts in his blog archive.
Think of it as Gonzo meets Hee Haw: Missoula honky tonker Bob Wire holds forth on a unique life filled with music, parenthood, drinking, sports, working, marriage, drinking, and just navigating the twisted wreckage of American culture. Plus occasional grooming tips. Like the best humor, it’s not for everyone. Sometimes silly, sometimes surreal, sometimes savage, Bob Wire demands that you possess a good sense of humor and an open mind.
Bob Wire has written more than 500 humor columns for a regional website over the last five years, and his writing has appeared in the Missoulian, the Missoula Independent, Montana Magazine, and his own Bob Wire Has a Point Blog. He is a prolific songwriter, and has recorded three CDs of original material with his Montana band, the Magnificent Bastards. His previous band, the Fencemenders, was a popular fixture at area clubs. They were voted Best Local Band twice by the Missoula Independent readers poll. Bob was voted the Trail 103.3/Missoulian Entertainer of the Year in 2007.