Monday, May 08, 2006

Portraits


My 30th high school reunion is coming up this summer. It doesn't seem that long ago that I went to the 10 year reunion and discovered that nothing much had changed in the first decade since I'd graduated. Oh sure, lots of my classmates had gotten married and had children. Some had even divorced in that short time. But for the most part, everyone was still young and attached to the personae's they had forged in high school.

Ten years later, I went the first night event of my 20-year reunion and realized I didn't recognize anyone (even the ones I sort of knew in high school). I did notice there were a lot less attendees, a lot less hair, a lot more bellies and a lot more water under the bridge. But after awhile, I began to pick up the same vibes I'd felt in high school. The popular people were clustered in groups and the fringe people were on the fringes beginning to feel inadequate in the same way they'd felt in high school. I left quickly and blew off the rest of the reunion activities.

So last week, I received an e-mail telling me about the 30th high school reunion and directing me to a Web site for it. I surfed through it and was startled to see a photo of me from the 20th year reunion. Someone from my class mentioned they'd seen the photo and it appeared that I had "aged well."

Aged well? And that photo was taken 10 years ago. What would they think now? I'm well-preserved? Wines are aged well. Mummies are well preserved. Sigh.


Wouldn't it be nice to have one of those portraits like in Oscar Wilde's Portrait of Dorian Grey that aged for you? Ironically, it's just the opposite. Our portraits remain young while we age and remind us that, although we don't feel any different, we definitely look different.

I think I'll skip my 30th reunion and send an old photo instead.
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