A Hallmark Moment

Ah, the good ole’ class reunion. We’ve all tuned into the Hallmark channel a time or two just to find some sappy retelling of the classic “class reunion rekindles forgotten love” story. Just gag me already. I really don’t get what all the fuss is about. Maybe I’m just a bit too far removed from that scene. I mean really… do any of us actually care about the same shit we cared about back in high school? If I wanted to see all my classmates again, I would have kept in better contact over the years. All the personalities, the cliques, the stress, it’s not really something I care to revisit anytime soon. Could you imagine?

“Hey, Billy! Remember that time you pissed your pants on the bus during the dairy farm field trip and the entire class laughed?”

“Why no Jimmy. I’ve spent years in therapy and thousands of dollars on a psychiatrist trying to repress that memory, but how fun of you to bring it back up!”

Let’s see, we had the jocks who seemed to just cruise through their four years with that “too cool for school” mantra. There were the cheerleaders, which I tended to avoid. The rich kids who could do no wrong, probably because mommy and daddy were boosters for the local sports clubs, and then you had the rest of us. I guess you’d find me in the Freaks and Geeks section. If you don’t get the reference, check out the show here.   It was a short-lived one season masterpiece from the ’90s based around a unique group of kids in high school during the 80s. Great stuff!

Back at the reunion, you’re having more fun than you can safely stomach. At least, something is making you sick and it’s not the smell of gym socks left in a locker for two semesters.  Perhaps it’s the sheer awkwardness that comes with seeing your teenage crush who is now balding, on his third marriage, and running a failing used car dealership. Or better yet, you could reminiscence with some old high school bullies who completely gloss over ripping your schoolwork to shreds on the daily or shoving you in the aforementioned gym sock filled locker.  Or maybe it’s being asked to dance by that kid that smelled like milk and pulled on your hair in the middle of class every freakin’ day.  I mean, why wouldn’t we want to subject ourselves to such a blissful evening?

All sarcasm aside, I wouldn’t be completely against a walk down memory lane again, but it’s not at the top of my list. And yes, I’m completely aware that there are quite a few people out there that absolutely loved high school and would waste 1 of their 3 wishes from a genie on having the chance to relive the glory days that were those 4 fateful years. To say a lot of people peaked in high school would be an understatement. Okay, yeah, so that walk down memory lane may not be worth the calories after all.

I mean, what about the people who simply couldn’t wait to get out of high school? For these folks – and by these folks, I mean me – reunions are a whole different animal. And seriously, back to the Hallmark movie thing. Do those moments ever really happen? They’re always the same. Way back in high school, the jock is dared to ask out the ugly duckling girl, and she accepts just to have it blow up in her face. Then 20 years later she’s on the cover of Cosmo and he’s managing a Waffle House in small-town South Carolina. They meet up again at the famed reunion just to have him profess his true feelings. He was a victim of peer pressure back n the day, you see, and he’s pined after her all these years. She looks deep into his eyes as they dance and is hypnotized by the depth of his feelings and the beat of his heart, and well, the rest is Hallmark history with a wedding in the works before the weekend is out. I guess if you put it that way, I can kinda see the appeal of these reunions. I mean they’re just the conduit to one’s true love and a happily ever… nope, I’m sorry, just can’t say it with a straight face.

More likely that whole scenario would play out with her getting drunk and mocking the people who realized too late that in the “real world – adult version” they’re no longer the “in crowd” and she ends up going home with the bartender. To be fair though, he was awfully cute.

Child Neglect, Forgetfulness, or a Shift in Priorities?

Fall is almost here and I want to touch on a subject that I have been stewing over for most of the Summer. I’ve hemmed and hawed over doing an entry about this controversial subject because children are a subject that I get incredibly fired up about and I have a tendency to rant (and you guys hear me rant enough about animals on here already).  But — I decided to just jump in and the Devil be damned.

We’ve all had one of those days where we leave the house in a rush and forget something important. I know I’m guilty of it. Phone, keys, wallet, and the like; some little bauble that can have a major influence on how the rest of the day goes. Pretty understandable, right? Normally it only takes five or ten minutes before we notice it’s not there. We get busy, our minds get filled up with all sorts of tasks that we try to organize in our brains as we’re moving through our daily routine. It seems understandable and totally forgivable if someone arrives at lunch and says, “Oh shoot, do you mind spotting me? I forgot my cash.”

Babies, on the other hand, specifically a baby that belongs to you, I have trouble believing as one of these forgettable items on par with say…your Subway frequent buyer card. Yet, it happens. It’s actually quite shocking, but the number of babies forgotten by their parents in cars and dying from hyperthermia (extreme heat) is on the rise. Don’t believe me? Don’t believe that a mom or a dad absent-mindedly forgets that junior was in the back seat and left to bake for 10 hours happens? Just read the paper. It’s happening more and more lately.  There were several cases throughout the summer (another one just last week), and a while back, The Washington Post had a morbidly disheartening piece about this trending phenomenon.

Read it and weep. Literally. Then read it again, and if you’re like me, you’ll probably get a sense of anger, confusion, disbelief, and outright awe swirling around in your head as you try to find a way to rationalize such a horrendous (and apparently growing) act of memory lapse.

Humans are imperfect machines. This I know. Yes, mistakes do happen. But I just can’t wrap my head around a mistake of this magnitude. I forget my phone. I forget my umbrella. I forget my dentist appointments. Hell, I forget sooo many things. Admittedly my brain is a sieve. But I can’t think of a single distraction that is large enough to push out the regular mental check-ins I conduct on my own children. And the idea that I could forget them while they’re actually in my presence?  Uh, No.

I read an article recently that said there is an up and coming disorder called “forgotten baby syndrome.” Yes, the occurrences are so frequent now, certain media pundits and so-called parenting experts have given the “condition” a name. It’s certainly not what I’d call it. But I digress. Anyway, it’s specifically when people forget they have children. The article listed all kinds of reasons why people may forget their children — most were to do with work, mentally reminding oneself of chores such as picking up the dry-cleaning, thinking through the day, etc.  It suggested that you put your shoe, your lap-top, or your office keys with your child so that when you remembered that item, you’d retrieve it, and voilà there would be your child as well. So. You’ll remember your laptop before you remember your child. Hmmm.

The scary thought is, is this where our society is heading? Are conference calls getting top priority? Is the dry-cleaning really more important than the baby? Is Siri becoming more loved than little Susie? Is life really so hectic and our attention spans fragmented into such short spurts of linear thought that without an Outlook reminder to help us, we’re in danger of forgetting the existence of our children?

Have we become so selfish in our lifestyles that our priorities are no longer found in the car seat? I’m sorry, but in my opinion, kids are simply too important to forget; if you do get so distracted that you can’t remember you have a child, maybe, just maybe you shouldn’t have one.