If you can’t be intentionally brilliant, the next best thing is to be accidentally brilliant.
The best part – from your perspective – is that I’m going to share this accidental brilliance with you, at no cost or obligation to you. This is not like an infomercial, with a catch. By the time you finish reading this blog, you too will be able to apply this accidental brilliance to your own life.
It’s that easy.
Sometimes accidental brilliance does not come in a flash. It has to build over time, kind of like one of those dimmer switches that you use in the kitchen so you don’t blind yourself when you’re stumbling in to make coffee at 5:45 a.m. Here’s how mine went (and when I say “mine,” I really mean mine and a couple other cohorts).
In the beginning, there was the traditional every-five-year high school class reunion. This was an expensive bash held at a local hotel. Eventually, when people started having children, our reunion committee added a Sunday afternoon potluck picnic, to accommodate people with children, people who couldn’t afford the bash, and people who still needed time to nurse their hangovers from the night before.
Then, the people whose classes were adjacent to ours, but whose reunion committees weren’t as manic as ours, started casually asking if they could join our casual Sunday picnic. Why not? Invitations went out initially by e-mail, and later via Facebook pages, for a casual Sunday picnic at a local road house that everyone knew from high school days as the place where bikers (motorized and not) hung out.
It was a perfect location. It was local. It offered hamburgers and sandwiches, beer and soda, and the owners didn’t care how many people hung out in their picnic area not eating their hamburgers and sandwiches or drinking their beer and soda. The perfect location begat the perfect low-maintenance reunion: my cohorts and I would confer on a date in August, send out some e-mail, make some Facebook posts, and voila! A reunion without a venue rental fee, without RSVPs, without clean-up.
But wait, there’s more.
These picnics became so easy to throw and so much fun and so successful that we started holding them annually and named them the reunions between the reunions (RBTR). Naturally, it helps to be in an area that people tend not to leave. These RBTRs are so much fun that people started inviting people from other classes around ours. And those people started inviting friends from other classes around theirs.
This past weekend we had an RBTR with alumni from classes ranging throughout the 1970s. This is where the real brilliance lies. At any given reunion, there are people who haven’t changed a whit and others who’ve undergone changes so drastic, you’d think they were in the witness protection program. At last year’s RBTR, there were multiple times when I accidentally hugged people who weren’t who I thought they were, and they politely avoided me for the rest of the afternoon because, frankly, we weren’t that close to begin with.
Inviting other classes eliminates moments like that. If you look at someone and think, who the hell is this and why don’t I recognize their name OR their face, now there’s a good reason for it. You really may not have gone to high school with them, but you still have that bond of place, if not of time. Cynics may question why you’d want to have a “reunion” with people you’ve never met in the first place, but at this stage in Boomers’ lives, it’s always nice to interact with people who are dealing with the same issues you are – kids going off to college, parents going off to nursing homes, and reinventing their own economic livelihood to pay for it all.
It was great. I could walk up to people and say, “I have no idea who you are,” and it wasn’t the least bit embarrassing. I had a great time. Everyone should throw reunions this way.
Next year, I think we’ll invite the alumni from the 80s too.
Note from the author: Middle Age Cranky at 100: Fine Whines & Muddled Memories, a compilation of my first 100 columns, is now available as an e-book at Smashwords and other digital bookstores.