I’m ready. The liposuction went well. The toupee fitting was hair-raising and, according to my doctor, my recovery from the tanning booth burns will be “splendid — if you don’t mind looking like a cross between Yoda and a pumpkin.”
My 40th high school reunion is today. Anxious, I asked my friends about their reunions. This is the most common observation they shared:
“I had no idea how old I was until I walked into the reunion and saw how old everyone else looked.”
With that in mind, I’m walking into the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel tonight prepared to see the cast of “On Golden Pond” sipping Maalox margaritas laced with statins.
And they’ll all be thinking the same thing when they look at me: Do I look that old? Yes, you do, Aunt Bea. Didn’t you learn anything from the movie “Gravity”? You can’t escape it. But Cher is on tour! And she’s 67! And Cher is 67 percent silicon. What’s next? Betty White twerking in a fishnet thong? Tell me Mick Jagger is 73 and I’ll remind you the only thing you have in common with Mick is you “can’t get no satisfaction” without a prescription and, sadly, your stones require ureteroscopic surgery.
Life’s exit ramp has not been kind to many of us. Like you I once was a hotshot Mustang. Today I’m a leaking Buick that needs his front end aligned. My suspension is shot, only three pistons are firing, and my gears are slipping. Last week my broken tailpipe was scraping out a trail of sparks behind me all the way to the emissions specialist.
And I’m not in hurry like I once was. My favorite song in high school was “Hold Your Head Up,” which today is impossible after a big lunch — particularly if a recliner is close by.
I don’t care. I like being 58 and finding joy in simple pleasures, like taking petty comfort in the fact that the Farah Fawcett clone who sat behind me in sophomore English has morphed into a county fair exhibit and Mr. Sixteen Candles has become Mr. Magoo. If the hems are short enough, I’ll see our school colors tonight. Varicose purple and white.
Here’s my advice to attendees: Practice lying. Here are the top three lies you should master:
1. “You haven’t changed a bit!”
2. “You look great!”
3. “Of course I remember you!”
Avoid loose talk. At my last reunion I turned to a vaguely familiar woman in the buffet line and whispered, “What ever happened to that tramp named Mary?”
“I’m talking about Mary the cheerleader. What a lame bunch of bimbos, right?”
“I was a cheerleader.”
“My bad. I was thinking of a redheaded bimbo from Santa Rita.”
“My sister went to Santa Rita.”
“What color was her hair?”
We both laughed. She stabbed me with a fork.
Seek out the losers. Blow off the winners. Face it. We all want to see who got a taste of karma-geddon after 40 years.
Just look at the Barbie Doll now. I wonder if my iPhone’s equipped to take a panorama shot. I hear she still works the end of Swan on Saturday nights for bus change. Pure bliss.
Get a load of him. Lord of the Lockers went far in life — about three blocks. I hear he’s still pushing a mop at Lucky Wishbone. Isn’t that sad? No, it’s not. It’s these gems that will secretly delight you. You couldn’t be happier.
Do not seek out your old flames. The big movie in ’73 was “The Exorcist,” a film about a girl possessed by the demon Pazuzu. I dated her in high school for five weeks. Our prom theme was “In the Mood.” Halfway into the evening with “Carrie” I was in the mood for a garlic boutonniere and a crucifix. At Scordato’s she ordered a steak. I ordered a stake, a priest and a hammer. After the prom we all went to see “The Godfather” at the drive-in on 22nd Street, a site so culturally significant to Tucson’s hormonally turgid teens it should have been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage site — alongside Shakey’s Pizza and Sambo’s diner.
If you’ve achieved international success and fame we don’t want to hear how happy and successful you’ve been. We don’t want to meet Tinkerbell, your trophy spouse, or see pictures of your wildly successful Nobel Prize-winning kids or your “gorgeous” grandkids who we’ll forget faster than we forget our pills and car keys. We want to have a good time. We want to hear how terrible your life turned out to be. Tell us about your arthritis, the morals charge, your cancer, the prison years, your divorces, your rehab and your plantar wart. Open up. You’ll feel better about yourself. And we’ll feel fabulous.
And be sure to thank the committee that organized the reunion. They’ll never do it again.