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I recently received a message about my upcoming high school reunion. The message suggested that my high school class of 1961 would celebrate its 50 year reunion in 2011.  I’ve spawned a family of mathematicians, so I wouldn’t dream of challenging the arithmetic here, but I do feel instinctively that a mistake has been made.  It simply cannot be possible that I can have been out of high school for nearly fifty years.  Thirty, perhaps.  I’d wear that, but fifty is just unreasonable.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m thrilled to have been contacted about this event, whatever it might be heralding.  I especially enjoy the opportunity to re-connect with former classmates on the reunion website.  Mind you, I don’t think all that many of them are likely to remember me.  I wasn’t very memorable; a little on the nerdy side, back in the days when it wasn’t widely known that nerdy people could be okay too.  I confess, I don’t look back on my high school days as the halcyon days of my youth.  I remember it as a time of unrequited crushes, homework never done, running to catch the school bus every day, unrequited crushes, pimples, being the clumsiest dork at school, ridiculous hairdos, unrequited crushes.  And so it goes. 

There are good memories, of course.  I did have a lot of fun in the orchestra (playing double bass), and in the a capella choir in my senior year, where I sang baritone.  That was an indication of Norman Clouse’s sense of humor:  he enjoyed the fact that I sang lower than most of the boys, even if I couldn’t carry a tune. 

Debate tournaments were high on the list of fun things.  As I was not inclined to study, I had to be adept at bluffing.  I was, in fact, very good at bullshitting.  That skill won a lot of debates.  Still does.  Life has a way of closing circles, doesn’t it?  I had two sons, both of whom were/are academically gifted; neither of whom ever did any homework in high school.  Okay, so it’s payback.  I get it!  I don’t have to have this 50 year thing to remind me! 

But in spite of everything, I do hope to go back to the US to attend the reunion, whichever one it is.  I hope to see (and recognize!) many old friends, and some new ones who have forgotten that I was a bit of a nerd.  I really am looking forward to it.

Now where did I put my calculator?                         MM