Monday, September 3, 2012

High school writing

I was just looking for a really old email, and in doing so, I found this, which I sent myself back in high school when I was about 16. I remember constantly thinking up scenarios like this in my head; I did stuff like write about elevator rides and make fun of human behavior in situations like that. I still think about typical human actions and reactions in mundane situations all the time, and I try to defy those expected interactions by doing something "unusual," but I know, fully, that despite my resistance to our conditioned, socially sculpted norms, I do all the things that I don't want to admit that I do.
Anyway, here's an exaggerated example of people at family reunions; by far not my best writing or humor, but it's something. It was kinda cool to find something  from more than 10 years ago.

Family reunions are interesting functions. While each one varies, there are a few common, standard types.

In some families, the reunions are polite, civilized, and predictable, where just about every conversation goes somewhat like this:
Person 1: Hello, my name is Tom, and may I ask what yours is?
Person 2: Well good afternoon, Tom! I’m Dora. Nice to meet you.
P1: The pleasure is certainly all mine, Dora. Hmm, so I wonder how we’re related.
P2: I will just take a look here… what is your last name? My maiden name is Smith.
P1: Oh, you brought your family tree, how glorious! My surname is Jones. . . Ah, I see. Our great-great-grandmothers were second cousins. And that would make our great-great-great-grandmothers or grandfathers first cousins!
P2: Yes, I suppose so. I don’t have that many generations written on here yet - this is all I’ve written down so far – I’ve really got to do some more research on the genealogy.
P1: Oh, I do too – I have been meaning to get to that as well! Oh, listen, I am collecting the relatives’ addresses, and if I may have yours, you can expect a Christmas letter from my family next December!
P2: That would be simply marvelous. Do you happen to have a writing utensil? I normally carry my handy-dandy black ballpoint pen in my purse, but I seem to have taken it out earlier.
P1: That happened to me once. It was awful, let me tell you. Fortunately I now have a utensil with which to write, and my address book… Well, thank you very much for your address! I see you live in Houston. I had a friend in my college days from Dallas! What an amazing coincidence that is, huh?
P2: My, that sure is something!
P1: Perhaps you know him – John Smith?
P2: Hmm, not off the top of my head, no.
P1: Shame. Very nice fellow. Well, it was great meeting you, Doris.
P2: Actually it’s Dora – Doris is very close though - good memory!
P1: Oh, yes – Dora. What was I thinking? I apologize profusely. I’m not too good with names.
P2: No problem at all – I am not good with names either. We seem to have many things in common! Anyhow, again, it was wonderfully fantastic to meet you… Timothy, was it? I must go and see who that fellow there is. Goodbye!

Then there are the loud, hugs-and-kisses kind of reunion – among the older generations, anyway. However, those under, say, twenty-five, seem to feel the need to be “cool” around cousins around their age. A typical conversation at one of these reunions might go something like:

Person 1: OH MY GOODNESS!! Little Samuel?! I remember you from when you were THIS LITTLE! I have received several pictures of you from your parents but it has been ages since I last saw you! Give me a smooch, honey! How old are you now? Sixteen?
Person 2: Seventeen.
P1: Seventeen already?! Unbelievable! I met you when you were just two months old! Do you remember?
P2: Hmm, actually I can’t quite remember back that far… sorry.
P1: I am your dad’s first cousin, silly Sam! Surely you remember! My name’s Christina but just call me Auntie Chris! Here, let me get a picture of you and my daughter Lisa – she’s fifteen, almost your age! You two will get along great! Woops, I’m out of my fifth roll of film; you just wait right there while I get more from my car! Lisa, why don’t you two get to know each other while I go do that?
P2: Uh…‘Sup?
P3: Huh? I had my headphones turned up.
P2: Whatever. So, what band is that?
P3: Metallica.
P2: Heavy metal’s tight. You listen to Korn?
P3: Who doesn’t?
P2: Yup.
P3: Yeah…
P2: There’s your mom.
P3: ‘Kay. Well after this picture, I’m gonna jet.
P2: Aight.
P1: Well I’m baa-aack! Lisa, are you listening to that polka music again? Take off your headphones so people can talk to you!
P3: I-I… um… what’re you talking about, Mom?! It’s Metallica!
P1: What a teaser! She’s just a teaser, Sam! She can’t get enough of that polka CD that her grandma gave her! Anyway, get close for a picture! Say cheese!
P3: (blushing still from her secret love for polka having been devulged) I’m so not saying cheese. Saying cheese was sooo yesterday.
P1: You silly goose! Well you two just look so adorable! This is going to be framed!

And of course, you can’t forget the World War 3 family reunions – the kind where people compare their kids so much that they end up despising each other before even learning one another’s name:

Person 1 (Smiling ingenuinely): Hiiiiiiiii. Have you met my son Jason?
Person 2 (Also flashing a fake smile): I don’t believe I have. And THIS is my son Matthew.
P1: Hi Matthew. Well Jason here has just started college at Princeton. He has so many scholarships, we’ve lost count! Ha-ha. Isn’t that just a riot?
P2: Well MATT here is at Harvard and he graduated high school with so many
Advanced Placement classes that he will only need to be in college for three years! He is majoring in business management and communications.
P1: That’s great. That’s great. Did I mention Jason’s scholarships?
P2: You did, you did. Good job, Jason. You are probably almost as smart as my
P1: Did you just say almost? How rude!
P2: I am just speaking the truth. My son is extraordinarily bright. It must run in the family! I, too, was a star student.
P1: It was very nice meeting you. But I’d like to go and talk to somebody who
will actually appreciate my Jason’s wonderful gifts and talents!
P2: You are just a funny one, aren’t you? You know, I don’t even care to know how we are related now. You are very rude and are a conceited show-off. My poor Matthew should not have to be treated this way after all the hard work he has gone through to reach the success he has now – have a nice time at the reunion. Bye-bye.

Of course, by no means am I saying that ALL family reunions consist of exchanges such as the examples above. But perhaps some of you have experienced conversations similar to these… or not. Either way, it is easy to see that family reunions are unique experiences, quite unlike any other function, no matter what sort of family is involved!

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