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Is this the party with whom I partied with back then? - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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Is this the party with whom I partied with back then?

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Posted: Sunday, May 23, 2010 12:00 am

In the middle of all sorts of madness from all sorts of different directions came a Facebook message that managed to lend the perspective of time and experience to current events.

It was from an old high school buddy. He wrote, “I was just remembering graduation night ... Of course, I doubt you remember much of graduation night. Wonder what made me think of that?”

I wrote back, explaining that I do, too, remember that big night (at the time) and the drunken madness that accompanied.

I ruined a brand new suit when I crashed and burned sometime during the “celebration” and arrived the next morning at school to help distribute yearbooks. I wasn’t much help.

Anyway, it was not one of my finer moments. And if I had it to do over, I would avoid the “pleasure” of mixing a vile soft drink named Squirt with vodka, shaking the bottle and then mainlining the cocktail by spraying it down my throat.

But it’s hard to tell 18-year-olds anything. They have to make their own mistakes.

I can say, however, that it is incredibly dumb to spend all those years getting out of public schools and then promptly get in situations that could kill you. Somebody in our group was driving drunk (don’t look at me, I couldn’t even stand up) and could have wiped us all out. Somebody could have died of an alcohol overdose.

But we were carefree and bulletproof. And we were escaping all those high school problems that we later would discover paled beside what awaited us in real life.

At that time, graduation was the gold at the end of the rainbow. It didn’t really dawn on us that the new would wear off, and we’d have other hills to be climbed.

Naturally, my old high school pal was reminded of our graduation by the approach of yet another class of grads. They’ll have their share of classmates who are as stupid as we were back in the mid-1960s. I just hope they’re as lucky as we were to avoid real disaster.

At the time, we were blowing off steam and trying to forget all those troubles we’d experienced in our lives.

Well, let me testify that all those school woes are nothing compared to the worries you can accumulate in weeks or months as you plow through life.

Deciding what to wear to the prom is a breeze compared to figuring out how to meet car payments, mortgage payments, emergency family expenses, bloated credit card balances and dozens of other obligations.

That senior year that you thought would never end looks pretty good with decades of hindsight.

And wait until the aches and pains of all those years of wear and tear on your body arrive.

So that’s my message to all the new grads — you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. And don’t be surprised to be reminded 40 years later how dumb you were on the big night.

Odessa, TX

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