A high school reunion and the struggle to fit in

I haven’t been to a high school reunion in 39 years. It was my class’ 6th anniversary reunion; we just didn’t have the organization to have a 5th. That’s the way it was with the Fitchburg High School Class of ’72.

The 45th is in October and it seems like a good time to show up, if only to brush up on my small-talk ability to avoid actually saying, “man, you got old.”

The other day on Facebook, a classmate posted that she’s not going. “I wasn’t very popular anyway,” she said.

It was a reminder of the imprint three or four years of our teenage lives make on the next 65 or so. And how we still believe that the “popular” classmates weren’t also quivering masses of insecurity and self-loathing.

We can carry the pain of high school to our graves, or at least to our 45th reunions.

NPR’s Rachel Martin gave voice to this fact today with her story about a classmate who felt like an outsider at their school in Idaho.

And he was one of the popular kids, because he was the class president.

“Why in the world would you want to relive that?” she asked.

Why, indeed?

It’s part of a great series she’s doing exploring our need and struggle to fit in.

“High school is like surgery,” Lance said. “In a lot of ways necessary, but in the past and you’re better off having survived it.”

And then there was slow dancing.

“The worst,” Martin opined.

What else can a person do at a high school reunion? Apologize.