“Da-aad?” called out my 3-year-old in a singsong, next-room voice as the Sunday sun crept up over the horizon, “This morning (pause) I didn’t pee in your bed.” I respond, same singsong and with a slight smile, “O-kay, thank you.” And while I was pleased to learn for at least one night my mattress went urine-free, I had to laugh a little. The night before, 4 hours away, and a state over, my 20-year high school reunion had taken place without me, and frankly I’m OK with that. But after waking up before the sun and seeing the ample Facebook posts from those in attendance I quickly wondered how many therein also woke up to a urine-free slumber and based upon the pics I wouldn’t say it was a lock. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves, maybe some more than others, and maybe others more than some. That said, I hope everyone made the effort enjoyed themselves responsibly, urine-free sleep and all.
Among the posts were queries of where was everyone, claims that those that didn’t attend surely missed out, and quotes from the Digital Underground’s The Humpty Dance, some with accompanying video. Remember this was my 20 year, right? MC Humpty graced the world in 1990 with this pop culture mainstay, when as I distinctly recall watching the video during my driver’s ed class in lieu of studying how to drive. This was well before YouTube on one’s smartphone, so imagine these viewings took place in full view of the class on a tube TV and perhaps via VCR. By 1992 when we graduated The Humpty Dance had changed the DNA in (y)our auditory canals and redefined the acceptability of prosthetic noses paired with coon skin hats. My sincere hope is that some one took the liberty to adorn themselves appropriately while this 90s nugget played, but alas, I doubt it.
I missed my 10 year reunion too, however a decade ago social media was but a baby. So I have no idea if an amazing celebratory event took place complete with MC Hammer pants or Vanilla Ice hair streaks. As those moments lost out on their tweet in time, at least in 2012 I can virtually attend having to forego all the formalities of greetings and reconnections, the yes I live in New Orleans before and after Katrina, and the no we don’t live on Bourbon St. Growing up in Southeast Texas the cool kids (read: not me) used to hop the state line and take advantage of the lax Louisiana drinking laws, usually hitting The Longhorn Club in Vinton. I offer this as an association to what the average Texan might perceive of our state and our daily below sea level lives. Yes, we drink, but shock of shocks we have families too so no, Bourbon St isn’t exactly my children’s playground yet; I know that day will come too, like any other rite of passage.
So why didn’t I go to my 20 year? I gave it a lot of consideration; I really did. But ultimately I didn’t see the point. My wife and I are crazy busy with 4 kids and other irons in the fire, and to squeak away for the weekend all the while with Facebook as a placebo just didn’t strike me as paramount or necessary. So the question becomes, will I go to my 30-year or any other event orbiting my 1992 classmates? And I look to my Magic 8 Ball. Honestly, I doubt it. I wasn’t that social back in the early 90s anyhow, and everyone that I’ve wanted to keep up with and those that wanted to keep up with me between all of our births, marriages, and other life events (like floods maybe), well, we have stayed connected. Even without Facebook. Also, forced and marked socialization has always struck me as odd, so maybe I never really had a chance in the notion of attending these reunions.
Parenting my brood and riding the waves of pee and any other bodily fluids that fly my way happen to be the season of my life now, and to be sure, I love it, but frankly like graduation day when it’s gone, it’s gone. Sure, if I had really wanted to I could have made a concerted effort to return to Beaumont over the weekend and awkwardly gone about reminiscing. Who dated whom, virginities lost and won, and all the drama that comes with pubescent journeys across sleepy outlying coastal Texas countryside. And then in all likelihood semi-boozey party pics of me dancing to Dee-Lite would invariably crop up online, and other absentee attendees like the real me might see them, and to quote The Breeders “Oh come on, nobody wants that.” Not even a little. That, my friends, is why there are yearbooks.
Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and Du Mois Gallery on Freret Street and a married father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at UptownMessenger.com, he also shares his family’s adventures sometimes via pedicab or bicycle on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.