Once Upon A Time...
...there was an academically minded girl and a football playing boy and they met when the boy knocked the girl over while going around a corner at a high school that the girl had never set foot on before.
The boy helped pick the girl up, apologized profusely, and realized that he had met her the previous year at a school dance at the girl's old high school (which was merging with this one). She accepted the apology, explained that her rear end was probably not damaged for life, and watched the boy's face light up with a goofy smile. The only problem was that she couldn't see his eyes because they were hidden behind a pair of classic Ray-Ban sunglasses.
The girl should probably have taken that as a sign, since she didn't trust anyone until she looked them in the eye, but this one time she let that rule slide.
Classes started, they were in many honors classes together (only because the boy's father complained that his son *should* be in them instead of earning his way in as the girl had), she ran the yearbook and track; he played football and 'the field'. Eventually they got something resembling a relationship together.
And then it ended. And started again. And ended. And started again. And ended. Usually at the boy's hand. The girl was young and stupid and not versed in the complexities that make up high school relationships other than what she saw in movies. Eventually she saw the light and broke up with him, they graduated, they hooked up for an afternoon, they made plans, he broke them, and she wrote him off after some particularly messy incidents occured.
Fast forward about 17 years. For those still following the story, in case you hadn't figured it out, I'm the young stupid girl in the story, and the football playing boy is not anyone that I am friends with now or am married to.
I picked up the alumni newsletter that came in the mail last night and cruised through the Updates section to see if there was any interesting tidbits about the folks that I went to school with. I'd submitted my update at least 7 years ago, and should probably submit another one, but it's not high on my to-do list. You know the Updates, right? They are those one or two column inch, two or three sentence glimpses into what people are up to now. You've probably written one yourself - or taken a bunch of them and twisted them completely around and made fun of your classmates and fellow alumni, depending on your viewpoint of such.
Well, last night takes the cake. Two full columns worth of information written by one person. Roughly 21 column inches. You know, if this were someone who had actually done something like scale Everest or been elected President of the United States and was now living the life of a "private citizen" post-Office, I could see something like that. But we're talking someone who graduated from high school 17 years ago and never graduated from college as far as I know. And has decided to announce to the world that he has finally found his niche.
As a radio DJ. And sometime news reporter. Over 3/4 of one of the columns was dedicated to the people that he has met (and only mentioned some of them) and that started the name dropping of politicians and actors this individual has met. It was boisterous and completely unnecessary in the realm of an alumni update. Oh, and he threw a single line in at the end about having a 6 year old daughter and how much he was looking forward to the 2009 (20 year) reunion. Gee, I could write 21 column inches too - only I could make all of it about my daughters, and throw in one line about work. Heck, I write more than 21 column inches regularly if you laid out my blog entries in newspaper/newsletter fashion. I've read newspaper stories about murders that are shorter than what this guy wrote.
In case you're still here with me, and haven't figured it out, it's the football playing boy from earlier in the story that wrote all of this. And it read just like how he always was - playing it for all it was worth with as captive an audience as he could get, and trying to be more than he actually was. It was all ego (and if the sportswriter in the Pacific Northwest is reading this, he knows *exactly* what I'm talking about even if he doesn't get the newsletter) and screamed "It's All About Me", "Look At Me", "I'm Doing Fantastically in My Own Little World".
It's enough to make me want to not go to my 20 year reunion in a couple of years simply because I don't want to have to deal with the guy. The self-important ego was too much back then; I'd hate to experience it with 20 years more on it. It's also a matter of perspective about how someone has grown up - this is probably his whole world, this ambition, this namedropping; for the rest of us it's nothing because we have our own important things in life to conquer and crow about.
Then again, it might be good for a laugh but it's probably better for a head-shaking pity thought because when you're compelled to make a big deal out of something like *that* to an entire alumni community, you're clearly grasping at straws for something to feel important about...
...and everyone wants to feel important about something no matter how small it is.