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Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion


Reunion High

By Traci Vogel

TURNING 28 IS supposedly an important astrological event, when one of those life cycles that astrologists are always talking about turns over like a ripe happy birthday pancake. How unfair if not downright karmically abusive is it, then, that most peoples' 28th birthdays also coincide with their 10-year high school reunions?

Astrologists might counter that the 10-year class reunion is a perfect catalyst for life-cycle change, but these would also be the people who urge us to stop watching television. If it weren't for television, however, I would never have known how to prepare for my own recent high school reunion. Thankfully, I was well fortified with shows like Friends and Ed, not to mention the entire oeuvre of the WB--and I knew exactly what to do.

First, I hurried out and bought a new pair of Fluevog boots--oxblood red, with lumberjack soles that rendered me 2 inches taller. Then, me and my new height went and got a haircut. Really short. Bleached nearly blonde ...

But I should back up a little.

Like many people, my survival strategy in high school mixed mild manners, brand-name assimilation and eye-contact avoidance. I maintained a strict B-average. I inhabited third-chair clarinet. I claimed not to have a name when people challenged me on it. All of this was especially necessary because I was that most potentially pathetic of peer species: a teacher's kid.

Not that my dad was a bad teacher. He was great, really--he wasn't strict, he wore Dockers. He told jokes. But as any teacher's kid can tell you, even if your teacher/parent is mystically able to grant extra days off or shows movies in class, you, as a teacher's kid, are doomed to a life in the half light. You can never be cool, because you can never be anonymous. And forget about rebelling, especially if you're a girl--every adult figure knows your face, and every one of them has heard faculty lounge stories about the time you shoved peas up your nose when you were 5 years old and how you used to think that Santa Claus delivered your little brother and you wrote a letter asking him to take said brother back.

Anyway, that was me in high school. I was a good kid and thus invisible. I never partied. I went to dances with the less-fluent exchange students. I made signs asking people to donate to the SPCA.

And then came college.

In short, college gave me a real education. I--and thousands of other recovering geeks--discovered that thrift stores could be a powerful means of self-expression and that alcohol could be a powerful means to party invitations.

So, when, 10 years later, my mother handed over the reunion invite (it had been delivered to her address; I guess my high school peers thought I still lived at home), I put up my hands. "No. There's no way I'm going to voluntarily place myself in a room with the same people who called me 'What's her name' for four years."

My mother--who was, in a perhaps unrelated note, a cheerleader in high school--protested, "But honey, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Look how much you've changed. Don't you think you'll regret it if you don't go?"

I didn't, but the possibility nagged at me (darn those motherly powers), and when the RSVP date approached, I found myself walking to the mailbox, checking "salmon" and dropping the invite in.

Several months later, I stood eye to eye with Carla Bronson, a girl who had once bloodied my mouth with her three-ring binder without even noticing. Carla's pen was poised over a name tag. She looked pretty much the same, perhaps a smidgen heavier (ha!), and she gazed at me with a familiar brand of unrecognition.

"Hi, Carla," I said. "My name is Traci, and I always hated you."

OK, so I didn't say that. I was nice, and I had a good time, and some of the people I thought were horrible turned out to be fine. If only life was like the WB, I could have gotten away with it.

Lex van den Berghe

Lex Hex

No one begrudges a Survivor survivor his due amount of fame, but a certain local runner-up with the same first name as Superman's nemesis is starting to wear out his welcome. Could it be that Lex van den Berghe is accidentally missing the warning signs of Media Hype Burnout? Just in case, we present the following questionnaire to help him out:

Symptoms of Media Hype Burnout

In the past six months, have you ...

a) Filled more than one guest slot on the Ronn Owens show?

b) Written a weekly column in the Santa Cruz Sentinel rehashing Survivor in excruciating detail?

c) Pretended to be a hip Dear Abby in The Wave?

d) Recycled at least three lame-ass Survivor puns as co-host on Bay Area Evening Magazine?

e) Posed for an ePostcard on survivorhunks.com?

If you can answer more than three of these questions in the affirmative, and your name is Lex, it may be time to lie low, before you find the ghost of Andy Warhol hovering by your shoulder.

Celebrity Makeover

The Rock

The Rock

Sure, The Scorpion King set weekend box office records and sent Sandra Bullock straight to rehab, but this is the second time the beefy thespian has played the same part. Talk about typecasting. The Rock better branch out--and quick--or he'll never win an Oscar.

Rock as Rick

Rock as Rick

In order to appeal to older moviegoers, the Rock should consider a remake of Casablanca. As Rick Blaine, the ultimate romantic cynic, the Rock could tell Penelope Cruz (in the Ingrid Bergman role) that they'll always have Smackdown in Paris.

Woody Rock

Woody Rock

We've seen the Rock go postal; now he needs to reveal his sensitive side. He could get in touch with his inner nebbish by picking up the mantle of Woody Allen (who's frankly too old to be Woody Allen anymore) in such potential hits as Sleeper Hold and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion King.

Saddam Rock

Saddam Rock

Can you smell what Iraq is cookin'? If we're going to war against the Axis of Evil, we need a photogenic villain you love to hate. How about casting the Rock as Western Civilization's bête noire--Saddam Hussein--in the hilarious new buddy film The Road to Baghdad, starring Bob Hopeless (George W. Bush) and Bang Crosby (Dick Cheney).

I Saw You

I saw you in downtown Mountain View on a sunny day, around lunchtime--a frat-boy-looking dude with sandy hair and gray sweater, standing next to me on the corner waiting to cross Castro Street. Before the light turned, you looked at a news rack, where a front-page headline trumpeted the latest news of carnage in the Holy Land, and, pronouncing it like a woman's name, with no apparent sense of irony, asked your buddy: "Dude, who's Sharon?"

SEND us your anonymous rants, love notes, or diatribes about your co-workers, bosses, enemies, secret crushes, or any badly behaving citizen who gets your dander up. Send to: I SAW YOU, Metro, 550 South First, San Jose CA 95113, or .

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From the April 25-May 1, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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