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Who Are These Old People at My Class Reunion?


Nowhere in science is the "survivorship bias" as well demonstrated as the class reunion.

Where are the people who failed economically, professionally, socially, romantically and bodily? They don't show up! And that's not counting the people who really can't show up who are listed in the In Memoriam section of class handbook.

Remember how they said at the graduation ceremony, in the next decade four of you will be gone? Well, it wasn't you--this year.

class reunion oldies
Oldies At Class Reunion
Of course you don't remember most of your classmates and they don't remember you. Not only was there nothing memorable about them, who looks like they did? Who has the same waistline or hairline? Who has the same last name? No wonder we are wearing name tags with our old yearbook pictures.

This must be the "post success" year. So many people were so successful in business or banking or marketing, they are on second careers. Having fed their bank accounts (and the coffers of the colleges they sent their children to) they are now feeding their souls.

There are an undue amount of Fibre Artists (not Fiber) and Life Coaches and Dog Whisperers and Clutter Counselors and Crafters. Many people who have become "their own brands," as the books counsel.

This leaves those of us still trying to make a living as Group Vice President, Leases or Intermodal Coordinator, Domestic Branch very defensive. Not only have we not cracked the make-a-living code, and in some cases not fully ruled out living in Mom's basement, some of us also forgot to have children.

Worse than that, some of us, instead of raising children, raised 18-year-old monkeys on our backs called drugs and alcohol instead. Just as expensive and thankless a job; not as amenable to small talk.

Of course, many in the student body have remained the same. The folksingers are still folksingers, the goths are still goths, the ecowarriors are still ecowarriors. The guy that ran Cross Country is still a reed; the politicos are still leafleting, even at the reunion.

But there are some surprises. Many hotties from the in crowd peaked early and now look and act like Dina Lohan. And not in a good way. Many of the in guys now have a tincture of the sad sack Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Others, who you never noticed, orbited, like the guy who sat next to you in geometry who's now a surgeon. How did that happen? And the dweeb from chem lab who's now a Hollywood producer. How come he's not handing out his business cards?

Still, no one who's showed up is really a mess--or they wouldn't have shown up. But that doesn't mean they aren't embellishing their resume a little--about their Groupon-like business or son at Yale. The only thing people can't lie about at the class reunion is their age.

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist, who writes about public health

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