Thursday, May 16, 2013

In Order to Form a More Perfect Union

It is, in the venerated lyrics of a song from “Camelot,” the “lusty month of May.” 
Spring.  That time when the thoughts of old women lightly turn to thoughts of…reunions.
Planning reunions is daunting.  Ergo, in order to form a more perfect reunion, I devised a survey so everyone could weigh in on the event.

But as I was engineering questions for input, I grew rather contemptuous of my lack of imagination.  True, it was about midnight, and any muse I had was deep in propofol slumber. Still, tedious, stale, insipid queries are BBBOOORRRIIINNNGGG!!!

So since it was late at night, and my discretionary filters had been effectively stuporous, I began to pose questions I thought much more fun, if a little risky.  However, that which seems comical in the wee hours does not always stand up in the withering glare of the morning light.

Nevertheless, I submitted the following questionnaire as a prototype for consideration in eliciting personal information from fellow alumni with the possibility of vilification and/or  future extortion.



CELL #  (Having graduated from West High, it becomes imperative to clarify that this 
refers to phones)


Do you recall the year we graduated and why we’re having this reunion?  Yes___ 
No___Don’t give a d.__

LOCATION:  fancy restaurant, hamburger joint, holding cell, rehab facility, psych ward, 
hospice center, etc.

PROGRAM:  i.e. prizes for the most grandchildren, greatest nostril re-forestration, bluest varicose veins, most distinguished moustache created entirely of nasal hair, greatest number of joint replacements (may include hips, knees, nose and hammer toes), organ removals, most dramatic comb-over with least amount of strands,  deepest hairline recession with male-pattern baldness, ( Sadly, this is not necessarily restricted to the men), most dermatological procedures (you may count wart removal along with geographical location, skin tags, and fleshy out-growths of dubious origin not intended in the Creator’s original engineering blueprint, the greatest bat-wing spread from excessive arm flab, (ladies only), and the most embarrassing body issues.

BIOGRAPHICAL BOOK?  Including catalogue of surgeries and tooth extractions, list of current medications, number of daily naps required before bedtime, number of hearing aids, dentures, bifocals, and weekly doctor appointments.  This information may include, but is not restricted to, self-incrimination, assumed identities, stints in the witness protection program, crimes and misdemeanors, etc.

MEMORY PROMPTORS:  Do you recall Don Carlos, Mednick’s, Auerbach’s, Kress hot dogs, Luigi’s pizza, Fendall’s ice cream, West High Bakery, Paul’s Perky Panther, and the seasonal rumbles in the parking lot after football games and athletic events?
Would you be willing to search for class mates who have successfully slipped through the dragnet of the Reunion Mafia?  Yes___ No___ I’d rather gag myself on old pom poms____
Do you have any classic (antique) items you would consider providing for a memorabilia table, such as old dance cards, photo albums, pep club pit pads, letter jackets, mug shots, treasures of truth, brass knuckles, vintage arrest warrants, former or current rap sheets, handbook of harsh language, etc.?
Would you be willing to share your favorite recipes concocted with fermaldahyde and pablum as the main ingredients?  Geriatric dating sites?  Plastic surgeons?  Orthopedic specialists?  Best places to purchase “Depends” in bulk?

1.      Do you have hopes Elvis is still alive somewhere?
2.     What do you know now that you didn’t know then?  (Caution.  Deploy filters now!)
3.     What did you know then that you don’t know now?
4.     How often do you have to tweeze your face before going out into polite society?
5.     Can you define “pud?”
Due to early on-set dementia and aggravated memory loss, what happens at the reunion, stays at the reunion.  So feel free to spill your guts or whatever else that might leak from any orifice.  It ain’t goin’ nowhere!
Getting together with old friends is so fun.  Getting together with a daughter is even better. 

Saturday night I went with Brodi to the Whitney Awards Gala.  It was held in Provo.  It is named in honor of Orson F. Whitney, an early Utah leader who proclaimed “we will yet raise Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.”  The awards celebrate the literary talents and contributions of LDS writers who represent  creative authenticity and personal integrity. 

Brodi was one of five nominated for book of the year. 

Of course, I was thrilled.   And since I had just been to a luncheon, I was already decked out in my favorite jeans and flip-flops when she came to pick me up.
Brodi did not appear to have any delusions about winning the award, but was well aware what an honor this nomination was.

When we arrived, I saw a ballroom full of people in tuxes, fancy dresses and spanx.  I stood there in levis, mortified. It was a code one moment. I said, “Brodi!  Why didn’t you tell me this was a formal affair?”  She said, “What part of ‘gala’ didn’t you understand?”
Oh suuurrrre.  Blame the victim!  It’s always MY fault!  But she didn’t seem embarrassed, and assured me that the chances of her winning were slim.  She suggested that if I just slid my lower quadrant under the table cloth and draped a napkin across my lap, perhaps other guests would simply assume I had a fettish for formal attire that resembled tablecloths monogrammed with the Marriott Hotel logo.  Nobody gets hurt.
Well, that worked for me.  I shrouded myself in the linen burqa and began eating dinner, in spite of my flagrant fashion faux pas.

Soon the awards ceremony commenced.  And when they announced the winner of her category, Brodi’s name was called.  Someone from our table gave a squeal muffled by her mummy wrap.  She went to the microphone, charmingly disheveled, and spoke extemporaneously and eloquently.

Brodi proclaimed that if she thought she would be at the podium, she would have put on more deodorant! Her colleagues laughed. So did I. I thought that was a great beginning.  I wasn’t exactly sure where she would go from there.

But then Brodi asked me to stand, which required untangling quivering thigh cellulite from layers of hotel linen.  She held up the beautiful, engraved crystal award and said, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!”  And then she did something quite remarkable.  She dedicated this honor “to someone who is present, but not in attendance – my Dad.”  She received quite an ovation. 

My eyes began to sweat profusely.

I learned so much this day.  First of all, it’s not about the jeans.  Dishevelment has its privileges.   But I’ll never again attend a “gala” without bringing along plenty of deodorant.

 I have heard it said, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘WOW!’”

Old Friends, Orson Whitney, and being with Brodi…that formed the most perfect union.