Thirty five years ago, we went to my husband’s 15th graduate school reunion. Most of those who returned were, naturally, still quite full of themselves. They were ambitious, testosterone-driven, titans-in-training. I understood that. They’d paid good money for their education and they were going to milk it every for every cent it was worth.
That’s not to say that many of them were any fun.
As a result, I promised myself I’d never attend another reunion. But then, promises are made to be broken.
We just returned from his 50th graduate school reunion. I agreed to go back, thinking that, at this point in our lives, people would have stopped talking about their possessions, acquisitions, status, homes (second and third), titles, positions,….in other words, their stuff, their things, their accomplishments, their resume material.
And that perhaps, just perhaps, they would enjoy laughing, even at themselves, at the foibles and mistakes we’ve all encountered, and, hopefully, learned from. That the joys of a simpler life might be in evidence. I hoped that would be the case.
I was wrong. Really, really wrong.
During the cocktail hour, I asked one of the gentlemen if he’d ever had any “bumps in the road” during his long and obviously successful career. He said that, yes, indeed he had and he’d made mega-bucks on each one of them. Hmmmm….not exactly the fodder for conversation I’d been seeking.
After we’d been seated, my dinner partner inquired a bit about our time during the school years. I told him I’d worked and had, in some small way, supported my husband’s education. He asked where I’d been employed. I told him. He said he’d consulted with them over the years and they paid their employees very poorly. Well, it hardly took an advanced degree to know that. First hand experience is a great teacher. And a lot less expensive.
Later on, the dinner table conversation got even more stilted and pretentious. I was reminded of an old song. It’s from Annie Get Your Gun. You know it, too. “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.”
So to bring things down to my level, I decided to tell a joke. I’ll share it with you. It goes like this:
“A man walks into a…..”
Oops. I’ve just run out of space. Next week I’ll tell you the joke.
In the meantime, we’re home, gently, softly, on the river. The neighbor’s dog has joyfully bounded up to the porch for her share of our Cheezits, some paddle-boarders have given us high-fives and there’s a cool breeze. All is well.