New Jack City: Why High School Reunions Totally Suck (Like Mine Just Did)

They say you can’t go back home…

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I did this past weekend. I went to my millionth high school reunion in Grand Island, Nebraska. And let me just tell you up front, this three-day affair was two days too long.

The nightmare unfolded with a Friday, ‘Let’s Get Reacquainted ‘ cocktail bash and finger food fandango. Followed by a Saturday morning walkthrough of the old high school and either an optional golf game or sipping-of-the-grapes luncheon at a nearby Nebraska winery.

See what I mean?

Then came the big event, a Saturday night sitdown dinner and dance with an obligatory oldies band. And finally – blessedly – a Sunday morning see-you-next-lifetime breakfast.

Overkill? You bet! Like I said, one night would’ve been plenty.

Now allow me to count the many ways these sort of reunion rituals suck so badly.

First off, you tell and hear the same lame stories over-and-over-and-over all day and all evening long. Where do you live? What do you do? How many kids do you have? Then you find that your high school dream girl and/or smoking hot cheerleader looks more like somebody’s grandmother on a really bad hair day. And that the school’s hot shot jock is now bald, has a giant beer belly and works as a Wal-Mart greeter. Yeesh!

Then there are the name tags. A fat guy races up with big, shit-eater smile and outstretched arms. You should know him but you don’t have a clue. So there you are – trying your damnedest to decipher his name tag – without him seeing you looking at it. Which he does.

Then there’s the dude who walks up to you acts like your long lost friend and not only don’t you recognize his face, his name is completely foreign to you. What do you say to that guy without looking like an asshole?

The final depressing ritual was our class "banquet," attended by around 200 people. During which a nauseatingly depressing count of the ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’ classmates was entered into the record. That’s right, the class president read off the list of the dead people who somehow couldn’t make it.

No less than 54 former classmates were either celebrating up by the Pearly Gates or down below in you-know-where.

Speaking of helI, I must admit I still have a warm spot in my heart for many ex (Grand) Islanders.

After all, I came into their school system directly from East Germany unable to speak a word of English. And a number of them took me under their wings and helped me out. Especially the girls at the Catholic school across town.

And I’ll never forget how in junior high, the principal had me moved around to different classes – not by grade level but based on which teacher could speak a little German. So there I was, going from 7th to 9th grade and ending in an 8th grade class—all the same day.

I digress.

Back to the reunion which would’ve been liveable had it been just one day. So what did I do? I pulled the old getaway as mastered by KCFX FM afternoon host Skid Roadie.

I got up from the table, pretended to head for the bathroom and then vamoosed out the door and back to my motel room.

So can you go home again? I suppose so, but it’s far from easy and can be very depressing.
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10 Responses to New Jack City: Why High School Reunions Totally Suck (Like Mine Just Did)

  1. jen says:

    Geez. Mine’s coming up next summer. I may have to reconsider going but curiosity may win out.

  2. Hearne Christopher says:

    How many lives you got left?

  3. Craig Glazer says:

    Mine Was Great At Indian Hills Country Club
    Yes we all fear the reunion, but remember most of these people don’t know each other anymore either. Almost none of the “cool” kids come, they are all dead, drunk or broke….its the ones who did well, stayed in shape. Mine was like that. I had a great time, course I brought a 27 year old hottie as a date that caused a stir, but all in good fun, so I think they are worth doing too.

  4. Hearne Christopher says:

    Last one I went to eight or so years back, I was the only one in my class (13) that showed. And after the opening night festivities, I did a Skid.

    I did crash one on the way to the first New Music Seminar in NYC with Ann DiCarlo. We wore gosh-knows-who’s name tags. We easily 10 years younger than the actual grads and departed without a mark on us

  5. jon says:

    Still Sticking together
    We had our 30 year reunion in July and hated to see how the same group of yuppies still hung together for the entire night. It wasn’t that bad with the gals but every 5 years for these reunions gets old fast.

  6. kcfred says:

    Class reunion
    Went to my ____th about two years ago. Found out the people I hung with then didn’t bother to show up and I was ignored by the same people who ignored me back then. But, one person, her name was Marti in high school and she was such a non looker. She was pretty much the gal with the goofy glasses, acne, braces and bad hair then. We were pals in journalism class and while I never thought anything sexual, she was a nice person and we hung out a bit and talked a lot in high school. Her name is now Martha, and she looks like she’s 30. Wowee! She came up to me and asked me if I remembered her. No, I don’t, I said. then she told me who she was. I swear my reaction was like a looney tunes cartoon where the eyes bug out like Volkswagens. “I just wanted to thank you for being such a nice person to me back then, a lot of people weren’t.” We ended up hanging out most ofthe evening and then we spent the next two days together rolling and tumbling. One of the finest times I’ve had and she was magnificent. Even at that age, what a beautiful body and man she knew what to do with it. Oh wait, I’m starting to sound like Glazer. So, the moral is…never discount anyone, you just never know…

  7. jack says:

    No such luck here!
    Hey kcfred,
    Your story brought tears to my eyes. Well almost. Sorry to say I wasn’t that lucky last weekend in Grand Island. The girl I r e a l l y looked forward to seeing again had blossomed in the wrong direction and even a good dose of little blue pills could not have helped that situation…if you know what I mean.

  8. Hearne Christopher says:


  9. Rick says:

    U would of had a better time
    if u brought Hearne as your date.

  10. grownupclown says:

    In general I like class reunions. I really enjoy seeing and fellowshipping with old friends, life’s short, who knows when (if ever) we’ll see them again? One thing that still frosts my pumpkin though is the “put us in a box of the past,” timewarp mentality shit where some people (especially ones that may be stuck in that timewarp), put is in and see is like we were…20, 30, 40 years ago. And “of course,” we don’t grow at all of change at all, over all those years, do we? The social stratification and that of the old neighborhoods that we “used to live in” and were judged by back then, kind of suck, too. If I didn’t love some people I’d shitcan the whole agenda, but if you care for some it is reason enough to go.

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