My 20-year high-school reunion is coming up in a few months. No matter how captivating it might be to hear my former classmates discuss their past two decades of disappointments, I have little intention of going. In my mind, there's a quota on how many times a person can hear the song "Lady in Red" without having an aneurysm, and I'm pretty sure I'm reaching my limit.
I know of the upcoming reunion because -- for reasons even I don't truly comprehend -- I registered at Classmates.com at some point in my life. From what I can tell, Classmates.com is a fabulous resource if you're looking for people you don't really want to find. I can never locate the interesting people with whom I went to school on Classmates.com. I can only presume that's because Internet access can be difficult from prison.
Now that the reunion is right around the corner, I'm getting Classmates.com e-mails far more frequently than I'd prefer. Most of them come from a guy named Dave Spears, who is apparently serving as the event's coordinator. I don't envy Dave Spears at all. It's a thankless job, really, and he's not earning a penny for doing it. Dave Spears is organizing this reunion and coordinating it from beginning to end, solely out of dedication and passion. That's how much love Dave Spears has for Mount Eden High School's Class of 1987. Dave Spears kicks ass.
There's only one problem. I spent four typical, non-descript years at Mount Eden, just like your average run-of-the-mill high-school student, yet I never went to school with Dave Spears.
At first, I figured I just didn't recognize the name. After all, it was 20 years ago; I'd have a tough time remembering what I had for dinner last night. It's certainly reasonable to think I may have simply forgotten about Dave Spears. Also, we were a pretty big class. It's entirely possible, although not all that likely, that I made it through four years of high school without ever encountering the guy or even hearing him mentioned. Either way, I had to get to the bottom of this.
Not surprisingly, Dave Spears has a profile on Classmates.com. I went straight to his page and found the following:
Although I did not finish my years at Mt Eden, I did finish, and then some. I will always be a Monarch at heart. Many people I speak with said they thought that I would end up either in jail or dead. Well, I am here.
I should take a moment to point out that Mount Eden's mascot was the Monarch. Not the butterfly, but a lion -- think "monarch of the jungle." While Dave Spears might have peasants who work on his land in exchange for the right to live there, I don't think that's what he means when he refers to himself as "a Monarch at heart."
That aside, we know that Dave Spears "did finish, and then some." I've played this comment around in my head a number of times, and I still can't figure out what it means. When I finished high school, they gave me an empty blue folder that they pretended had a diploma in it; they'd mail the real one later, I was told. Did Dave Spears get something more? Did his "then some" include cash and prizes? Were there unexpected benefits of finishing elsewhere? I need to know this.
I thought I might have discovered a clue about Dave Spears when he brought up the part about people thinking he'd wind up dead or in jail. Maybe Dave Spears changed his identity to hide from the authorities. I'm confident he wouldn't be the first person from the class of '87 to do that. Apparently, I wasn't the only Monarch who considered this possibility, since I also discovered this post from Dave Spears as well:
Hey all, I just spoke with some that had stated they thought this was a scam. I assure you it is not. We are seriously planning and moving forward with this Reunion.
I never really considered any of this to be a scam. At no point has Dave Spears asked me for my social security number or my bank account details. I'm not sure what angle people think Dave Spears is trying to play. I can think of far more effective scams than luring 200 38-year-olds to the Pleasanton Hilton in anticipation of a high-school reunion. Me, I'm just concerned that a person who attended Mount Eden for maybe two weeks is hell-bent on organizing a 20-year reunion. It creeps me out a little bit. On the other hand, some people really dig weddings, and others get a kick out of funerals. Maybe Dave Spears lives his life from reunion to reunion, and that's what keeps him ticking. It probably beats either being in jail or being dead.
Have a wonderful time at the reunion, Dave Spears, as those balding, fat men and the women who pity them try to walk like Egyptians across the crowded dance floor without putting someone's eye out. You've earned your moment in the sun.