Monday, April 18, 2005

You Can Go Home Again…But It’ll Cost You a $4 Convenience Fee

So my 10-year high school reunion is in two weeks. For those of you doing the math, I graduated in 1994 and am just now getting to my 10-year reunion. And, yes, that’s really slack. What makes it even worse is that we’re having a co-reunion with the class of ’93, who are even slacker than we are.

However, what’s eating at me is the $100 ticket price. According to Great Reunions, Inc, official nostalgia management firm, that’s $96 per ticket plus a $4 “convenience fee” for using a credit card to buy my ticket from their website. Why is there a fee for using a credit card, when that’s how absolutely everyone purchases things on the Internet? And why am I being charged for convenience? Isn’t that by nature inconvenient?

According to the nostalgia management trust, the other $96 pays for a name tag with my high school yearbook photo, because I desperately want to relive my hot roller and dark lipstick days. It also pays for a “bio book”, or a collection of the biographies of people who actually had the time to submit all of their information plus photo more than a month in advance. In other words, a bio book full of the unemployed and/or deeply bored. Extra copies for kindling will set me back $21 apiece.

As for the event itself, my 96 bucks will purchase “food stations” (can I change the channel?), a sit-down meal, an elegant evening of music and dancing at the Hilton Arlington, and a non-hosted bar. For those of you that were never in the hospitality business, “non-hosted bar” means I’ll have to pony up $5 for every Heineken I swill.

So why am I attending? I want to see who got fat, that’s why. Plus Chrissy and I are going together, and we’ll sneak in a flask of bourbon. I’ve been looking forward to it. Plus, something about going to a reunion makes me very curious. Who’s still a pain in the ass? Who’s still really shy? And, better yet, who’s changed? Who’s funnier, smarter, cuter, happier, better than they were in high school?

I just wish the party was something we could all afford. A hundred bucks is a day’s wages for many people, and compared to rent or daycare, it’s a frivolous expense. We’ve created a reunion for the rich. (For the record, last year I did email the reunion committee to offer my help, and wasn’t asked to pitch in on a single thing. So I’m not just sitting around whining.)

Lastly, I wish we could all work together to stop the Eventification of America. Why does a high school reunion have to be held as a sit-down dinner in a hotel ballroom? Couldn’t we have just have had a potluck or a picnic, so that everyone could attend? Why do eighth-graders have proms and graduations? Finishing middle school isn’t the end of an academic career, it’s much closer to the beginning. Why do I see $400 prom dresses everywhere I go? Why is the average wedding cost creeping closer and closer to $30,000? All anyone wants to do is have a drink and wish the couple well. In my wedding attending and hosting career, I haven’t heard a single guest say, “Boy, they should have had lobster and Dom Perignon.” All I ever hear is that the service was lovely and the couple looks so happy. Why are funeral costs so extravagant? Do the dead really need luxury coffins with satin lining? Why does every event in our lives have to be an Event? Do we need a ticker tape parade for every rite of passage?

I don’t know. I think maybe as we get older, our lives get more complicated. And as our lives get complicated, we want every event to be an achievement. We’re like precocious cocker spaniels, wanting all of our finer moments recognized and rewarded. And if it’s an achievement, then it has to be extra special, with food stations and hotel ballrooms. And that desire to be the belle of the ball has crept further and further back, from death to marriage, back to high school, and further back to eighth grade. Let’s get back to just living our lives. I’m sick of jumping from one milestone to the next. There’s a lot of great stuff in between, and I don’t want to miss it.

Name Britney’s Baby

The results are in!

Robert Anderson:
1. Christina Aguilera/Christian (depending on girl or boy)...that way Kevin can ask 'Who's your daddy?' to two of the biggest trash queens of pop music.
2. Chuck N. Spears
3. Pear (like Gwyneth's Apple)

Worth Anderson:
The child will be named Pickles Spears, for evident reasons.

Jerome Hohman
Great contest. I think I'm sticking with the Kabala/Gwyneth Paltrow-themed name. How 'bout Gilda Pear Federline Spears. (Shannon’s note: Two votes for “Pear”…interesting. Prophetic?)

Josh Miller:
If a boy: "Justin," just so poor Kevin can be constantly reminded of his second choice status...

If a girl: "Kori"; that is the name of Kevin's daughter, and that way _both_ she and he will be constantly reminded of their second choice status...

Chrissy Uertz
Atraeyou (named after the child warrior off the film Neverending Story). Not sure if it's spelled that way, but you know how people change the spellings of names to look cool anyways.

Dave Walker:
Navel (oddly Buddhist and reflective of pre-pregnancy attire).

Mike West:
Tyffhanni. Spelled exactly that way, although they may put an E on the end (Tyffhannie). But then, they won't want the Spears name out of the family, so Tyffhanni(e) Spears Federline. Why? Well, duh. Tiffany is THE quintessential bimbo name (even more than Tami), but this is the Britneys so they'll have to trash it up a notch or three. Really, this is a gimme.

Boy's name: Jock. Rationale: Britney will want to name her son after Madonna's son, Rocco, but it will sound too gay for Kevin, who wants something very manly like "Steele." Jock will be the compromise.

And the winner is….

I have to say “Pickles Spears Federline”, submitted by Worth Anderson. Pickles! Awesome. Plus, pickles are crunchy and fun but have no substance whatsoever, much like Britney herself. Worth, your prize is a Dial-a-Blog. That’s right, you can submit a topic and I will write an essay about it. Please let me know your topic by the end of the week.

Until next time,


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Name Britney's Baby

Dig yourself a bomb shelter, the Apocalypse is upon us. Trash queen Britney Spears (who knew that the naughty schoolgirl outfit from her first album would be her classiest moment ever?) is preggers. The father, I can only assume, is arm-candy husband Kevin Federline. Though if he's arm candy, he's one of those candies that even kids refuse to eat, like Mary Janes, black licorice or Payday bars. I mean, Britney's gotten a little odd-looking herself, but Kevin looks like he should be a middle school janitor.

But let's talk about that poor, poor child. Aside from being awarded with a primordial soup of mullet and half-shirt DNA, what else can possibly go wrong? A name, that's what! Considering the recent trend of stupid celebrity names, the Britbaby is sure to be saddled with something horrendous. Kevney? Britelin?

To that end, I'm having a Name Britney's Baby contest. Please send your suggestions and rationale to by Friday at 4 pm. I'll post all the entries next week, and the winner gets bragging rights (I'd give out prizes, but this is a no-budget production).

While we're talking about Britney, I'm actually a little disappointed that I'll be in Sarajevo when her reality series airs. You know, the one that Kevin Federline called a "documentation of our love", which sort of sounds like a tech manual to me. With all the home movies and narration, this is sure to be a thrill. Now, I like home movies as much as the next person (that is, not at all), but isn't this odd? And how is it a reality show if she's picking and choosing what airs?

Britney, pose for Playboy already. You know you want to. The rest of you, send me your best baby names.