Here I sit in my worn slippers and tattered bathrobe, bewitched, bewhiskered, and bewrinkled—a 74-year-old man wondering who among my former high school classmates remembers me as “crush-worthy?” “Well-dressed?” “Sweet?” In order to find out, I will have to renew my membership in Classmates.com—an on-line social network dedicated to the proposition that high school was something other than a medium-security prison. Until I do renew, said admirers will remain nothing more than fuzzy names and faces composed of pixels the size of watermelons.
Why did I ever join in the first place? Well, I had just published a book, and I figured Classmates.com might be a good way to publicize the fact that I had finally become a success thanks to the only thing I was good at in high school. Also, I was aiming to exorcise certain demons endemic to those of “whose names were never called/when choosing sides for basketball.”
I’m pretty sure that my online fan club doesn’t include any former cheerleaders or jocks. Then again, “dorky,” isn’t one of the available adjectives on the site’s pull-down menu. Likewise, I doubt that any schoolyard bully would remember me as “crush-worthy,” except in comparison to an empty beer can.
Still, I am tempted to renew. Why? Because down deep inside I have always thought of myself as the sort of person that someone at Carbon High School might have found attractive—if only she could have seen past my geeky, pimpled façade. If such a person is out there, please feel free to respond privately. Send me a picture, and I’ll send you a current, low-res pixelated photo of myself!