Just the other day Hepcat received an invitation to his 30th college reunion. It left him feeling mighty old, but you can bet that Hepcat wants to be at Bard College to celebrate that milestone.
“The Hudson Valley in spring? What’s not to like?” Hepcat said nostalgically when Smartmom asked if he plans to attend.
Still, it’s hard to believe that Hepcat is old enough to have been out of college for 30 years.
Smartmom should talk. This June, it will be 28 years since the day the great I.F. Stone, that iconoclastic journalist and critic of the Cold War, McCarthyism, and the Vietnam War, spoke to her class of 1980 at SUNY Binghamton.
She can’t remember a word he said, but she does remember that his commencement speech was quite long and characteristically controversial, as it elicited boos from some parents in the audience. Their reaction disgusted and embarrassed her.
Smartmom isn’t sure whether she will be attending her 30th reunion in 2010. She keeps in touch with most of the college friends she wants to be in touch with.
Still, it would be interesting to see how the campus has changed and to say hello to some of her professors (if they’re still there), to have a cup of coffee at the Argo coffee shop and to visit the Salvation Army on the south side of town.
One thing’s for sure: Smartmom never wants to fill out one of those “So, what have you been doing since graduation?” questionnaires.
Smartmom thinks that those kinds of questionnaires are such a horrendous exercise in personal reductiveness.
A friend of Smartmom’s actually decided not to attend an important college reunion recently because she took one look at the questionnaire and knew that she was incapable of filling it out.
“I’m having a mid-life crisis,” she told Smartmom. “I wasn’t going to sit there and do it.”
Those kinds of reunion questionnaires invite boasting — about your career, your children and all your creature comforts. People feel like they’ve really got to impress all those people they went to college with.
So what has Smartmom been doing since that day in the Broome County Arena? What fabulous resume can she whip out to impress her peers, what personal biographical detail will just wow them all....
Seriously, how does one honestly characterize more than a quarter century of one’s life? Is it all really just a list of degrees, courses, jobs, projects, addresses, and names?
Are we nothing more than our resumes?
What about the interstitial life — the life that goes on between the lines of all the other stuff? The little discoveries we make about ourselves; the conversations we have with our friends and family on the phone; the surprising moments we have with our children on the way to the store; an inside joke told over and over; the words of a wise therapist; getting proposed to at Two Boots Restaurant on Avenue A; an epiphanic walk across the Brooklyn Bridge; stopping at the National Poultry Museum while driving through Kansas; hearing Caetano Veloso at Lincoln Center and Patti Smith at CBGB; a memorable meal in a small Tuscan town or at Al Di La; Teen Spirit and the Oh So Feisty One’s birth and their first words; OSFO practicing the piano, or Teen Spirit’s show last October at the Bowery Poetry Club; the day Hepcat made latkes (or the day he cleaned out the basement).
What of the life we live concurrent to the resume life? The life of our hearts, our minds? Our sensations? Our love and our pain?
Hepcat is actually looking forward to his 30th graduation. And he’s not afraid of those stupid questionnaires.
“Me intimidated? If someone asks me what I’ve been doing for the last 30 years, I’ll just say, ‘Funny you should ask…’”
Louise Crawford also writes “Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn” and is keeper of the Park Slope 100, that handy list of local celebrity.
©2007 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.