In what may prove to be a monumental lapse in judgment, I have agreed to attend my 40-year high-school class reunion at the end of this week.
It's being held at St. Paul's High School, where I attended Grade 12 after moving to Winnipeg from Vancouver back during the paleolithic period when the first primitive stone tools were invented.
I enrolled in the all-boys, Jesuit-run school partly because of its prestigious academic reputation and the sense of spiritual community it provides to students, but mostly because (a) it was just down the street from my house and (b) was the only school in the neighbourhood with a football team.
I have never been big on reunions, but decided to attend the 40th on the grounds one of my old high-school buddies is flying in from the West Coast and, in a sincere humanitarian gesture, informed me he was going to stay in my basement instead of some overpriced hotel.
You would think I'd be mildly nervous to get together with a bunch of guys I have not seen in the last 40 years, but I am not. This is mainly because, as I may have already mentioned, I am a guy, and guys do not become overly stressed by social events of this nature.
This is because guys, especially middle-aged guys, do not judge other guys based on their physical appearance, even if the guy in question has packed on so many pounds since high school he now exerts the same gravitational pull as the sun.
Guys are just not that shallow. No, we base our opinions of other men on their God-given ability to carry out complex masculine tasks, such as making farting noises using only their hands or driving a golf cart into water hazard while blindfolded.
One thing we guys do not care about is whether a former classmate is now the premier of the province or the head of a major corporation. Your standard guy is more likely to envy someone who spends his day shagging balls at the local driving range than a dweeb who is forced to wear a suit and sit through PowerPoint presentations on the consumer price index.
I expect the main activity at Friday's reunion will involve hunching over, squinting and attempting to read the name tags attached to the sports jackets of fellow grey-haired classmates, which, given our eyeballs are now 40 years older, will prove extremely difficult unless the names are printed in letters the size of recreational vehicles.
It is a different story when women attend a high-school reunion. I base this statement on my wife, who is a woman and informs me getting together with former classmates can cause a great deal of stress for any woman who has been foolish enough to eat solid food since graduating.
The goal, according to my wife, is to prove to the mean girls you have not seen in four decades you are not only a successful, self-assured modern woman, but also the exact same size you were back in (bad word) high school.
The point is, there is a certain amount of anxiety involved, which is probably why a Los Angeles-area woman, terrified at the notion of attending her 10-year high-school reunion, decided to send a stripper to impersonate her at the gathering.
An ABC News story I just read online said a woman named Andrea Wachner hired a scantily dressed pole dancer named Cricket to take her place at the Palos Verdes reunion, then made a documentary film, I Remember Andrea, about the prank.
The story explains, on the day of the reunion, Cricket, accompanied by a film crew, showed up in fishnets, a tight dress resembling a slip, and spike-heeled boots. She used an earpiece to communicate with Wachner, who was armed with a yearbook to help ID former classmates.
The dramatic climax came when the bogus Wachner stripped to her underwear on the dance floor, causing the reunion attendees to clap, laugh and scratch their heads in sheer confusion. In the end, the story notes, hotel security intervened because they didn't think the film footage would be good for the hotel's image.
Which is why I want to reassure all the guys in my graduating class, when they see me at our 40th reunion Friday night, it will, in fact, be the real me they are seeing.
I'd hate to think my ex-classmates will be suspicious just because I've lost more than 100 pounds and am now able to perform totally awesome pole-dancing moves.
The truth is, I'm still the same down-to-earth guy I was back in Grade 12. If anyone wants a lap dance, that is definitely going to cost extra.