I think everything you need to know about my 40th high school reunion last weekend can be summed up in this scene from its final moments, when I was invited to judge the quality of my oldest friend’s boob job with a friendly squeeze.
Also, this: The boob job was a restoration following a double mastectomy, which itself followed a second bout of the big C in a decade. Because of the previous treatment, the restoration was no simple matter, requiring skin stretchers and all sorts of gruesome-sounding shit. But my friend, Cindy, and her husband Mark, are amazingly upbeat about it all. I think the reason I was invited to handle the goods was because, she said, they didn’t really feel like breasts anymore, with all their sensitivity and tingliness, which I guess stands to reason.
Reader, I cannot deny it: I honked the horns. They felt fine.
“Now all we have to do is shop for nipples!” Mark reported. Evidently that’s the final step.
So that’s life in the late 50s, I guess: Boob jobs, but not for the typical reasons. Grandchildren. Older but wiser. There was a memorial video for the ones who are permanently off the mailing list, so to speak. One word: AIDS. A little more kindness all around. The head cheerleader, apparently the only member of the class with a child younger than mine, explained the circumstances of his debut — 40s, no man on the horizon, sperm bank. A guy I’d always assumed was a drug casualty was finally revealed as an obvious psychiatric case. The funny pot dealers were there, still funny, still probably holding. (I didn’t ask.) At least one pill refused to wear the event T-shirt because the theme was “Forty Shades of Gray” and wearing that on your chest would be counter to God’s law. If he’d said, “Because God disapproves of lousy fiction,” I could get behind that, but I don’t think that’s what he meant.
My class reunites every five years, which always struck me as way too often. It was also a group of nearly 800 souls, which is way too big. You’re lucky to have known a quarter of them, and if 10 percent of them show up at a reunion, you’re lucky. I went to the five, 10, 15, 20 and 25-year events, and said after the last one that I was done forever. So did Cindy; she said that after battling cancer she was in no mood to waste time with vague acquaintances. But this year they roped her onto the committee, and she roped me into going.
Another thing that happened as I was making my way to the door, after the boob squeeze: I was drafted to work on the next committee. There’s a price for everything, I guess.
And that was most of my holiday weekend. How was yours? I’m writing this a few hours before leaving for a backyard barbecue. I was kind of thinking I’d see “Magic Mike XXL” today, but give it a few more days and another all-day rain will roll in, and that’ll be much better weather for it. Barbecue while you can, because you can’t do that via Netflix.
Not much bloggage today, but there’s this:
BASTROP, Texas — The office of the Bastrop County Republican Party is in an old lumber mill on Main Street, with peeling brown paint and a sign out front that captures the party’s feelings about the Obama administration: “WISE UP AMERICA!”
Inside, county Chairman Albert Ellison pulled out a yellow legal pad on which he had written page after page of reasons why many Texans distrust President Obama, including the fact that, “in the minds of some, he was raised by communists and mentored by terrorists.”
So it should come as no surprise, Ellison said, that as the U.S. military prepares to launch one of the largest training exercises in history later this month, many Bastrop residents might suspect a secret Obama plot to spy on them, confiscate their guns and ultimately establish martial law in one of America’s proudly free conservative states.
I wouldn’t live in Texas for all the money in the world.
Also this, Neil Sternberg’s valedictory for the open-outcry system at the Chicago Board of Trade, which I’m glad I got to see before it went away, because it was something to see.
And finally this, Frank Bruni’s backhand to the Kennedy spawn spreading vaccine alarmism:
If you had told me a while back that I’d someday dread, dodge and elect not to return phone calls from a prominent member of the Kennedy dynasty, I would have said you were nuts.
Then Robert Kennedy Jr. started reaching out.
Not just reaching out, mind you, but volunteering to educate me. To illuminate me. That was his tone of voice, somewhat pitying and vaguely patronizing, the one time we talked at length, after he’d left messages and before he left more.
Midsummer starts now.