On this day, 25 years ago, I graduated from high school.
Now there’s a statement that will stop you dead in your tracks and make you wonder where the time has gone.
What lends to my already surrealistic existence is the fact that I am back in my hometown 23 years after leaving and vowing never to return.
Yet here I am.
And even though I know I am not the same person who left for another life altering experience in 1983, I still feel as if I am a teenager.
Will this feeling that I am still 15 ever leave me?
I ran into a high school friend in the grocery store the other day, and for the first time since I’ve been back someone has actually recognized me.
This is a strange occurrence because even though I see people I recognize, I continue to believe that they will not recognize me.
I do look very different from when I left for South Carolina all those years ago.
It must be my nose job. (Yeah, that’s it.)
So I avoid everyone.
Well, I think they’re not recognizing me but I do realize that people are not as stupid as I make them out to be.
I’m anti-social and I can’t help it.
(Should we start a support group? We can meet in Ted Kaczynski’s cell.)
Anyway, this was the second time this weekend I was (forced into) talking to someone I knew from the past, so it added to my strange state of mind.
Let me add that the second person I saw has not done too well for himself.
Please note that this is a blue collar rural town in an area with a high rate of unemployment (thanks to Kodak, and again, Senator Clinton, how can we fix this?).
Because of this I know that the ones who excelled in high school really and truly excelled (Christopher Farley and Jeff Van Gundy, to name just two).
Those who did not excel stayed here and maintained (or acquired serious drug habits).
Said person that I saw on Sunday has not fared too well, and because I was unprepared to be approached I acted like an anti-social idiot (I’m not really, I was glad to see him, just unprepared).
When we came home I said to DN1, who was with me in the store, “I often wonder who or what I would have been if I had stayed here.”
She looked at me and gave me an honest answer.
She said, “I think you would have been kind of white trashy.”
I instantly agreed.
(Because of course I'm not now.)
So we’re back to the same question of why I’m back here and who I think that I am, 25 years after the life-altering experience of high school graduation.
Perhaps I am under the impression that I can remake who I am and alter my future.
I’m not quite sure.
Sometimes philosophical thoughts like this should be accompanied by a cold beer (Labatt’s, if you have one, thanks).
I do know, however, that this is the second time in a week I have referenced the lyrics to an Allman Brothers song.
I think today’s title is how we should all live our lives.
Don’t waste time.
And if you can, gather up the courage to say, “Hey, it’s good to see you again.”
I leave you with a picture of who I was 25 years ago.
I’m still the same.
Well, except for the nose.