Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/6/2014 (900 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I suspect, what with the World Cup madness in Brazil and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, you are champing at the bit to hear how I made out at my 40-year high school class reunion.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anything more exciting than a bunch of khaki-pants-wearing guys in their late 50s getting together to reminisce about their glory days, squint as they try to read the name tags attached to the sports jackets of former classmates and complain about how kids today do not understand the value of a dollar and do not have to walk 65 kilometres to school every day in deep snow while being stalked by hungry wolves.
As you can imagine, it was a deeply emotional time for me, largely because it was the first time I had walked through the hallowed halls of St. Paul’s High School since I graduated back in 1974, even though the school is located at the end of my street.
Words are not sufficient to describe the nostalgia gripping my soul as I stared up at our class photo and was forced to confront the horrific hairstyles popular the year I graduated. As bad as our hairstyles were, however, they were not nearly as humiliating as those sported by the graduating classes of the early 1980s, all of whom modelled their personal grooming after the new-wave band Flock of Seagulls, whose photos you should look up on Google as soon as possible.
And if that is offensive to anyone who graduated from St. Paul’s in the early 1980s and went on to become a high-priced lawyer, allow me to point out I remain a big fan of Flock of Seagulls and, if I recall correctly, we played their hit Space Age Love Song at my wedding.
I was also moved when I strolled into the old cafeteria at the school and looked up at the stucco ceiling, which, in my day, was festooned with thousands of razor-sharp soup-can lids, flung there by students who had bought soup from a vending machine. During school assemblies, an embedded lid would work its way free, then waft down and slice off the ear of a student who wasn’t smart enough to keep one eye on the ceiling at all times.
But the real highlight of the reunion came when the guys in my class gathered at the home of one of our ex-classmates and spent a heartfelt evening being entertained by one of our host’s dogs.
For you to fully appreciate how remarkable this dog was, I first need to tell you about the shocking behaviour of one of my own dogs, Mr. X, a small, white ball of hair with a brain the size of a cashew.
On the morning of the reunion dinner, there I was, floating in the bathtub, casually reading the newspaper, when Mr. X strolled in, gave me a defiant look and — in broad daylight — flung his leg in the air and peed directly on the bath towel lying on the floor beside the tub.
"CURSE YOU, MR. X!!!" I shrieked, although I am paraphrasing here because the exact words I used are not suitable to appear in a family newspaper.
Now we will compare and contrast Mr. X’s antics with Zumi, a dog owned by my reunion-party host and former classmate, Felix Sandron. Zumi is a 2.5-kilogram Yorkie-Poo, which is what you get if you cross a small dog with a throw pillow or a makeup applicator.
States the website PetGuide: "Active and energetic, the Yorkie-Poo is truly a clown in disguise. He will cheer up the saddest person and light up the room with his funny little antics."
Which is exactly what happened, because instead of sitting around and swapping stories and becoming misty-eyed about the fact we are mere shadows of our former selves, the rapidly aging Class of 1974 spent the evening watching Felix’s Yorkie-Poo perform an amazing stunt.
(Out of journalistic fairness, I will mention alcohol was served at this event.)
"Watch this," is what Felix ordered us middle-aged guys before taking a red balloon out of a cupboard, blowing it up, then tossing it in the air in his TV room.
What happened next was, whenever the balloon floated anywhere near the floor, Zumi, barely the size of a healthy hamster, would leap into the air and bat it skyward with his nose in a manner befitting a professional beach volleyball player.
For a good 20 minutes, my intensely wrinkled, moderately balding graduating class sat there and cackled with manly glee as a 2.5-kg ball of fur kept the balloon aloft, much the way people used to do during Beach Boys concerts. (Note to younger readers: The Beach Boys were a band that used to sing about surfing, cars and a girl named Rhonda.)
So the reunion was a wonderful chance to reconnect with a bunch of great guys and their dogs. I’d tell you more, but I have another event to attend, so I need to clean up. I’d appreciate it if someone could lend me a clean bath towel.