Reunions and Old Roles

On page 575 of Stephen King’s IT, Richie Tozer reflects on how people fall back into their old roles at reunions:

“The others saw him as the Klass Klown, the Krazy Kut-up, and he had fallen neatly and easily into that role again.  Ah, we all fell neatly and easily back into our old roles again, didn’t you notice?  But was there anything very unusual about that?  He thought you would probably see much the same thing at any tenth or twentieth high school reunion—the class comedian who had discovered a vocation for the priesthood in college would, after two drinks, revert almost automatically to the wiseacre he had been; the Great English Brain who had wound up with a GM truck dealership would suddenly begin spouting off about John Irving or John Cheever; the guy who had played with the Moondogs on Saturday nights and who had gone on to become a mathematics professor at Cornell would suddenly find himself on stage with a band, a Fender guitar strapped over his shoulder, whopping out ‘Gloria’ or ‘Surfin’ Bird’ with gleeful drunken ferocity.”

I haven’t gone to any of my high school reunions, but I have reconnected with high school acquaintances online.  I have had at least one experience that resembles what Richie Tozer is talking about.  I posted something about reading David Stockman’s Triumph of Politics when I was in the sixth grade, and how I noticed that Stockman was a deficit-hawk, in a sea of non-deficit hawks.  (I doubt that I thought in that vocabulary when I was in the sixth grade, but I could pick up in the book that Stockman wanted the government to cut spending and to raise taxes to redress the deficit, and most governmental people inside and outside of the Reagan Administration were unwilling to go along with his proposals.)  One of my high school classmates then posted that I was smart and should become a Senator.

Contrary to appearances, she was not being condescending.  There were people in my high school class who expected me to do great things when I became an adult.  I was voted “Most likely to succeed” and “Most likely to become a politician”.  I can understand people back then thinking that way, since I actually had political opinions, whereas many of my classmates did not (although some did).  That made me look smart.  Nowadays, most of my classmates as adults have reached decisions about where they should stand politically.  I probably still come across to them as the same opinionated person that I was back in high school, even though, nowadays, my opinions are different, in that I’m currently more liberal politically and religiously than I was back then.  But I can still appear opinionated.  I guess some roles never change!  I doubt that I come across as smart to many of my acquaintances from high school, however, for, nowadays, we all hold political opinions.  I’m not one of the precious few who thinks about current events.

That’s why that one person’s comment took me aback.  I can understand people thinking I would one day become a great politician back when we were in high school.  But now?   Heck, there’s no indication that I’ll even have a political career!  I haven’t run for anything yet.  Also, my Asperger’s pretty much prevents me from making a bunch of contacts that are necessary for a career in politics.  I could dream big back in my high school days, and others could have high expectations of me.  Now that I’m an adult, however, I don’t dream big.

But, to that one person, I have the same role today that I had in high school.  Reading her comment was like going back in time, if that makes any sense.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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