Giving back to a school that gave me so little

I just got an invitation to my high school class reunion that give me the impression the reunion would be a boring disaster if I didn’t show up. This is kind of a shock, since they never seemed to care that much for me when I was there. They wouldn’t let me on the football team or the basketball team or give me very good grades, so I always thought they didn’t care for me.

But it seems I was wrong. Not only do they like me, but they like me so much that at the end of the invitation, they wanted to know whether I would mention them in my will. That’s so different from the way they treated me when I went there.

It’s as if they were saying, “Remember that time we expelled you for smoking in the boy’s room? Our bad. We’ve taken it off your permanent record. Remember all those hours you spent in detention? Just teasing. Remember that piece of rolled-up blank paper that we gave you instead of a diploma? It’s all in the past. Come home, give us a hug.” They love me! They really, really love me!



I appreciate the fact that they think someone they voted “Least Likely to Succeed” might have done well enough to leave them some money. But I always thought if I had any money, I’d leave it to someone a little closer to me than my high school – perhaps the guy who delivers our heating oil or a third cousin twice removed or a stranger who gave me a seat on the bus.

I will consider mentioning them in my will, but I wonder, “Just how close to death do they think I am?” I graduated in 1968, not 1908. I’m not even collecting Social Security yet, and they want me to put them in my will? Do they know something about my health that I don’t? Or are they still using the New Math they taught me to figure out my life expectancy? I know life’s a crapshoot, but honestly, I’m not planning a trip to Club Dead anytime soon.

When I do start to feel my age, I plan to spend the first 10 or 20 years in one of those “active” retirement communities, one of those places where they play golf, tennis and bowl all day then go out dancing to the score of “Viva Viagra.” Sue and I don’t have the energy to golf, play tennis and bowl every day, now. But I’m sure as we get older, we’ll get more energy. They make it look like so much fun in those commercials. We can’t wait to become elderly.

After 10 or so years of that, we plan to move into a not-so-active retirement community like Hip Replacement Village, then we plan to linger in nursing homes for five or six years, eating up any money we may have had left over. So I don’t really see the point of remembering my high school in my will, except for the sheer fun of leaving them things I don’t have.

“And to Mr. Crankwell, our history teacher, I bequeath my collection of mint condition, rare and valuable comic books, which must be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars now.” I can’t tell you how many comic books Mr. Crankwell destroyed during his teaching career, but I would guess he got several hundred of mine – even the Classics Illustrated.

“To Mr. Twitterby, the principal who had it in for me, I leave all my shares in Enron stock to go toward raising his salary.”

Actually, they should ask all the guys in my class who are millionaires for money instead of me. I know there are a lot of millionaires in our class, because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Sue say, “And to think I could have just as easily married a millionaire.”

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at jim_mullen@myway.com

Copyright 2008, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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