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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Meanness

Illustration for article titled A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Meanness

While most Americans will be knee-capping each other at Wal-Mart on Friday, we'll roll out our other stories. But I just had to run this one from "Jon," a reader whose Charlie Brown-like tale of reunion woe is truly spectacular.

It was my 10-year reunion. I was reasonably excited. I felt like I kind
of got my shit together in my mid-20s and, since I had a surprisingly
good time at my 5-year reunion, it was a no-brainer to go to my 10th.

Before I continue, you should know I was totally not cool in high
school. Oh, I wanted to be. But I lacked confidence in pretty much every
aspect of my life: school, sports, dating, everything. I had no idea who
I was or who I wanted to be. One of the running jokes about me was that
whenever someone farted, some of my buddies would blame me. I think that
sort of encapsulates my teenage life. I have no idea why.

Anyway, 2002. My 10-year reunion. Before Facebook allowed us to have a
mini-reunion every morning before breakfast. The reunion was at one of
those bars across Lansdowne St. from Fenway. I should have known things
were going to go badly when I went to my friend's Kenmore Square
apartment for a small pre-reunion get-together. In walks a woman who I
have known since sixth grade, a woman who I saw multiple times in
college, a woman who I once accompanied to a wedding. She walks into the
apartment, comes right over to me and shakes my hand. "Hi, I'm Jen," she
says. "Nice to meet you." (Granted, I do look different from when I was
in high school. I now wear glasses and have been slowly losing my hair
for 15 years.)

We head over to the reunion. On my first trip to the bar, one of my
former classmates walks up and says: "So, how about that e-mail?"

"E-mail?" I ask.

"Yeah, that one that was supposedly from you."


Long story short, gleaned through interviews with many classmates:

Someone created a Hotmail account in my name and sent multiple messages
to a slew of my ex-classmates. In them, the fake me announced that I was
gay and said that the reunion would be my coming out party as a
flamboyantly gay man. I never actually saw the e-mails, but supposedly
they got ridiculous enough that some people caught on. But not everyone.
And, of course, there was the telephone game effect whereby the people
who didn't get them only heard about them secondhand and assumed they
were true.

So, I spent the ENTIRE reunion doing the usual catch-up with old
classmates and then slipping in, "So, did you get weird e-mails from
me?" and then explaining they were sent by someone else and that I was,
in fact, not at all gay.

After a couple hours, I gave up. If my former classmates think I'm gay,
so be it. I live 300 miles away now.

The funny thing is, as I said, I was so lame in high school. I didn't
steal anyone's girlfriend. I wasn't a jock. I was a 120-pound nerd with
a receding hairline, spewing dumb jokes to cover up my own insecurities.
The worst thing I did was toilet paper someone's house.

Even now, I cannot fathom what I did to anyone to warrant a solid burn
10-year after the fact.

And, really, I do appreciate the magnitude of said burn. It was pretty

But I'm done with reunions.

God, I need a vicodin. Remember — still time to send yours in for Friday. Send them to

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