I am, to be frank, a nerd. That’s okay, and I’m good with it. I actually have been for a long time. As a young man, I was for years in the Talented and Gifted program (TAG)in our local school system as a result of some test I took, from which I really only remember the freeform drawing section. As a result, from 4th-9th grades, I took classes with the sameish group of about 50 people so we all were pretty close by the end. In fact, I still keep in touch with a handful, and a few of them were roommates in college or married other friends of mine.

The experience was, I imagine, a lot like school for other kids, except we had teachers that were much much wackier. Mr. Z was the ex-hippie English teacher who had us reading Salinger at 12 and was the first to teach us about recycling, meditation, and Barbie Doll mutilation. Ms. S was the science teacher who thought the symbol for hydrochloric acid was “HCI” (its not) and had a huge mole on her face which distracted from learning in a way that really doesn’t matter when you are in public school. Mrs. F was the authoritarian social studies guru who taught us about reading and making graphs as well as mini-society. And so on.

To say that this educational experience had a profound impact on my life would be an understatement. It was a strange time where we were given a lot of very adult material to read and think about and lots of room for creativity. We had very deep and complex relationships with our teachers, some of whom we saw in their weakest moments, another passed away suddenly. It was a pretty intense educational experience, I’d imagine comparable to going to boarding school but less structured.

When I sporadically have seen people from this group we often crack jokes about classmates or recall the strange goings on of our youth, as I’m sure most do. However the whole time, I questioned our designation of being the “smart” kids and constantly wondered what people would turn out like in the future.

Well, tomorrow I find out.

Three of us who kept in touch usually meet up over the holiday for beers as of the last few years, the most recent of which we decided to try to remember who we went to school with and see if we couldn’t google/friendster/e-stalk them and get them together sometime. It was one of those “man it would be hilarious if” ideas, which I wouldn’t have expected to work out, if it weren’t for Spencer.

He decided to make this work and has been putting together a TAG reunion for about a month with some minor help from me. The planning group found people in far-off locales: Working for NPR in MN, small town lawyer in KY, pet store owner in the same city, etc. Almost instantly, people began to make plans to travel to my hometown for the reunion. It became a big deal.

So I’m curious to know tomorrow what everyone is up to, if in fact we were the smart kids, and what we got out of that strange educational experience. I’m very nervous for some reason and I’ll post the report after the fact, along with pictures of how fat/bald everyone got.

Hope you all are having a good holiday and taking ‘er easy.

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