Monday, July 26, 2004

Manhunt in the African Jungles

I bound my weeping poison ivy in gauze, and like a lurching b-movie mummy stumbled off to my 20th class reunion on Saturday night.  As I had hoped, I was not the fattest, nor the baldest, though a candidate for either, and had the prettiest wife.  I graduated with about 250 people from a very stratified school of haves and have-nots and was surprised to see much of that intact after all of these years.  Our most famous classmate, Cynda Williams was not in attendance, leaving me and a guy who used to be a stuntman, I believe, to represent the Hollywood glitterati.  Like in high school, my cluster of friends did not belong in any of the major groups (as described in most Hollywood movies, natch) so we made a point of circling the wide room and speaking to every single person, with the various results that we might have expected two decades past.  Funny how the world goes 'round.

I did get back in touch with my old playwriting partner from high school, who is now a doctor in San Diego surfing on weekends while I toil away at a basement office in our hometown.  But it reminded me about what I loved about writing, all those long years ago.  We wrote one-acts for the Melissa Ellis Playwriting Contest, a statewide high school contest which very happily was headquartered at our school, and judged by Ball State professors, making it convenient to attend and bask in the glory of our peers.  We won second place one year, first the next year.  I also won two honorable mentions for plays I wrote solo.  Five plays in three years, and four of them placed.  I remember delivering one by bicycle at the last minute, after typing it on my manual typewriter, much the same way I would deliver my David Letterman scholarship project a few years later.  I think I've been chugging away in some form or another ever since. 

The funny thing is that they were all written on typewriters, and gone to the dustbins of time.  We couldn't even remember the names of two of them, even with some of the very thespians who trod the boards in these performances right there (For younger readers, this was in the days before PCs made all of this easier).  I remember composing our creative endeavors to "Dark Side of the Moon" playing over and over on my partner's record player (again, before CDs) until his father came in and said that he did escape Hungary by crawling under barbed wire with machine guns at his back to come over here and listen to this kind of music.  And, in hindsight, he was probably right.

So the reunion was okay, probably hindered by the lack of connectivity one feels when their elementary school, middle school, and high school are all closed, and all of the school newspapers you edited, playbills you appeared in, yearbook photos, and on and on, are probably all in a big landfill out in New Jersey somewhere. 

I also have had the distinction of walking to every school I ever went to, including college, never riding the bus.

For the curious, the play that had them rolling in the aisles back in 1983 was "How To Get Mixed Up In International Intrigue by Just Plotting A Simple Murder."

Until next time, go Titans, and give me a shout at

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