Just wanted to share a little story about the weekend with you (The Monster tried desperately to prevent an epic evening).

I just had to share this story with you from this past weekend.

*Video referenced in the story can be viewed at the bottom…

This is from a Facebook post on my personal page on Monday:

I’m a bit of a tortured soul.

I live with a voice in my head (the Monster) that attempts to keep me small, inside my comfort zone, on the sidelines, as a spectator to life.

The Monster doesn’t do this insidiously, he does it to protect me, to keep me safe. He does a great job and has a diabolical weapon at his disposal. He discovered long ago that I’m an introvert.

He uses my introversion against me.

But he doesn’t always win…

A year ago at Popcorn Fest, Aimee Biggs and Colleen Hyde told me they were organizing our 30th high school reunion. 

“Hot dog!” I thought. “I’ll be there with bells on!” I told them.

The Monster was undefeated in preventing me from attending ANY of our previous class reunions. 

He would remind me of what I was convinced of,

“Nobody wants to see you.”

“Nobody will even remember you and your pale skin and funny freckled face.”

But this time was gonna be different I told myself. I’M GOING!

As the reunion approached I tried and I tried to convince myself to go. Unfortunately I failed. This past Saturday was the reunion. The Monster flicked the readily available “on” switch to the Introvert and even deployed the proven power of Procrastination.

“Whew! Missed the deadline to buy tickets… now I can’t go.”

So while the amazing Portage High School Class of 89 partied like rockstars at the Moose Lodge in Chesterton – I enjoyed a nice dinner with dear friends and my bodacious bride at a local restaurant.

Missing… yet another… class reunion.

And then it happened.

Without my knowledge (or written permission) Lady Lovelips (Stacey) posted a picture of us with Casey and Jeff at the cidery we were at (still not sure what a cidery even is).

Which triggered this response from my ole friend Tommy Tuna:

“Let me get this straight… you are 2 seconds away from Bart’s reunion and you don’t show up?”

Stacey responded, “you aren’t there!”

Which prompted Tommy Tuna to post a selfie from the party.

Keep in mind my beautiful bride has been dealing with my psychological shortcomings for over two decades. She was telling me the entire time that I really needed to attend the reunion.

“Tommy’s there! You can still go!” she says to me.

I grabbed Hunny Bunny’s phone and stabbed my fingers at the keys and smashed send, “We’re on our way!!!”

It must’ve been divine intervention. Because the very first people I see are Dawn Bliss and Billy Nevers. They actually had to let me in because the front door to Moose Lodge is rigged up with some sort of Mission Impossible security system.

Dawn Bliss is maybe the sweetest person this side of Mississippi and a human being that I am SO proud to call my friend. (And she makes me feel tall because she only stands a foot or two off the ground).

Billy Nevers. I don’t know where to even start. The first words out of my mouth were, “Billy mf’n Nevers!” 

He’s obviously been lifting very heavy things since I last saw him 25 YEARS AGO! He’s built like a Mack truck. So he wraps his meathooks around me lifts me off the ground like a feather (I don’t weigh much more than that) and hugs me and swings me around like were partners on Dancing with the Stars. (we would’ve scored a 10!)

Let me put it to ya this way. Billy is a legend in my house… and my wife and kids have never met him or even seen a picture of him. The stories we have from the tomfoolery filled times we had at his house when his parents were out of town (and they were always out of town, right Jerry?) – if told would lead each of us to a sentence of 25 to life.

Seeing Billy Nevers is like seeing a real life unicorn. The next day all I kept saying was, “Billy mf’n Nevers!”

From there we made our way into the party. Hit the dance floor and proceeded to have an absolute blast!

Soon after, the amazing DJ Kirt announced, “Last song, any requests?” 

I didn’t hesitate – I instantly knew exactly what to request.

I pushed Sheli Stratton to the ground.

Hurdled Aimee Biggs (I didn’t have to jump very high).

Sidestepped Melissa Mendoza and elbowed Michelle Abbott out of the way… making my way to the front of the stage where I was able to get Kirt’s attention and yell, “Purple Rain… it has to be Purple Rain!”

The song started and the circle of 89’ers formed. My blind squirrel brain yelled, “Video this!”

And that’s when it all hit me…

In life, we really only want two things:

To love and to be loved.

In that moment, on that dance floor, with those amazing people… I had the purest version of both.

(Which then triggered me to say some creepy things in the video. So please disregard my commentary).

(And Facebook muted part of the video because Prince’s estate called and demanded a licensing fee… so I apologize for that).

They say that the “Greatest Generation” was those born between 1900 and 1920.

I say (because most of them are dead) that generation has nothing on us. In fact, we’re the Greatest Generation!!!

We were born in the 70’s and raised in the 80’s. We played with our real friends, rode our bikes until the streetlight came on, didn’t wear sunscreen, followed the mosquito truck and inhaled the fumes, our parents didn’t call the teachers and tell them how to teach, we organized our own play dates and wiffle ball games, we know the answer to, “Where’s the beef?” and who E.T. wanted to phone. 

The lucky ones wore parachute pants from Merry Go Round and ate at York Steak house, the rest of us got a plastic pair of pants from Kmart on Bluelight Special and ate fried bologna sandwiches (and were thankful for both).

Some of us were afraid to eat Pop Rocks and drink Coca Cola at the same time because that’s how Mikey died. We looked around carefully in the water after seeing Jaws.

And we have amazing memories! We can still finish these jingles:

Two all beef patties, special sauce, …

I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a…

The best part of waking up is…

I wish I were an… (remember to begin by singing these in your head)

Meow, meow, meow, meow…

I’m stuck on Band Aid…

Plop plop, fizz fizz…

I can go on and on… and because you’re awesome… you would know them all.

We’re special people. The Force is with us. We are the Greatest Generation.     

And for all my classmates that I don’t stay in touch with (which, because of the introversion, is nearly everyone) I am ALWAYS thinking about you.

When you lose your father… I’m crying with you.

When your sweet child battles cancer… I’m crying with you.

When your husband suffers a massive stroke… I’m crying right along with you.

I’m also smiling.

When I see the pictures you post of your vacation. I love those!

When you celebrate your first grandchild (yeah you’re really that old) – I’m smiling from ear to ear.

When you celebrate your 15, your 20, your 25 year anniversaries… I am SOOO happy for you.

I’m so proud to be your classmate.

I’m so proud to call you my friend.

You will always have a special place in my heart. And Saturday night will always have a joyous spot burned forever in my memories.

Here’s to the Class of 89!!!! 

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