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  • Writer's pictureerikaraskin

old school

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

Landa’s graduation pic. I would have complained to the editor about the lighting — only Landa was the editor.

Last weekend, at my urging, my best friend from high school and I decided to meet in DC for our 40th (no freaking way) high school reunion. She flew in from Rhode Island. I drove up from Charlottesville. in other words, I inched forward in glacial traffic while she ate pretzels and read People Magazine.

Just sayin'.

Anyway, the reunion was open to all graduates of our esteemed alma mater. Unfortunately, Landa and I were not only the only representatives of our class but possibly the only reps from the last century. I felt like at any moment we’d be enlisted to help chaperone. It was a little awkward. However we still had serious fun reminiscing about our misguided youth. For instance, there was a student who had the keys to the soda machine. Some of us convinced him to let us put a few cans of beer in randomly (before anyone flips out, the drinking age was 18.)

(I was 16.)


Yearbook quote. (?)

It was like getting the lucky gumball.

Then there was the time that Landa and I were both in a play. Landa loved acting. I did not. I had a small role as a cop. My stage directions called for me to throw open the refrigerator in search of something. (I can’t remember what. Drugs? Cheese?) But when I swung the door open, I stood frozen in front of the audience.

Someone had taped a VERY nude centerfold from Playgirl inside.

I finally got a hold of myself and slammed the fridge shut. However, I think my face stayed purple until I went to college.

Speaking of which, right before it was time to apply I looked over my transcript. I saw that the class Landa and I were placed in because neither of us could long divide or figure out proper tips when we ate at Howard Johnsons, jumped off the Xeroxed page. It was called Special Math.

(Which it was. But still.)

I went to our wonderful principal and made my case. He saw my point and asked what it should be called.

“Math III?” I offered, helpfully.

He agreed. I got into college. When I arrived on campus and went to sign up for my courses, I learned that there was a math requirement for all students unless Algebra II, Trigonometry and Geometry were taken in high school. The registrar looked over my transcript and asked what Math III was.

Guess what I said.

At the reunion I told my former principal that story. “You were always good at lobbying,” he remembered. Which I took as a compliment but it might not have been.

After Landa and I left we met up with Eileen, another old friend, at a bar. The three of us laughed until the lights came on and the waiters brought out the brooms. The weird thing is that the bartender thanked me five times for the tip. Which makes me wonder if I should maybe take a Math III refresher course.


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