As a favored pastime in the Pyggy household, the teasing of the G about her sub-suburban (read: rural) upbringing rarely leads to hurt feelings, though often ends with defensive huffs and pinched glares. The tales of her thrice divorced by 26 classmates, bastard children, cuckolded husbands, and failed Oxycontin pharmacy hold-ups are all hilarious stuffs. Often sad, always absurd or baffling, the tales of the characters who spot her high school-past make wondrous stories.
She sits quietly while my old buddies tell our tame stories of rowing trips or Young Life weekends before dropping a bomb like, “my high school’s wrestling coach was married with kids but was fired when everyone found out he starred in gay porn videos.” A hilarious tragedy to the end, I’m sure. One that outshines any possible thing we are willing to fess up to.
Shortly after graduating last decade, a former lab partner of mine shot a cab driver in the back of the head, dumped his body in the street and stole the car. He was picked up a few days later on unrelated B&E charges but something he mentioned during that investigation connected him to the murder. He is currently serving life + 24 in Virginia, only escaping the death penalty through a plea bargain. It is widely assumed he was on LSD at the time.
A few months before he did this, our class put together a slide show that was presented at one of the half-dozen pre-graduation ceremonies (minutes after our commencement speaker, Chief Justice William Rehnquist. I believe the G.’s school brought in Billy Ray Cyrus) and this kid was featured in several of the slides. The full slide carousel sat untouched in my parent’s basement for ten years until my recent reunion. I scanned the slides into the laptop, with the intention of playing them at the affair, but not before removing the pictures of this old classmate.
They were not missed. My feared censorship accusations remained unleveled. His name was not mentioned at the event and I doubt much thought was given to his absence. He seems to now occupy a dark crook of my classes collective memory, along with the guy who committed suicide our sophomore year.
Until this week. It was revealed on Sunday that one of the two men accused of killing at least seven people in Richmond earlier this month was also a classmate. I expected chatter among the group email webs of those graduates who still talk to each other. But no one seems to care much; everyone is still talking about who gave who herpes the night of the reunion.
But I’m really sure what I expected. Gossip is gossip and I guess herpes gossip is something people are more willing to come to grips with.
Carry on Class of ‘95. You can help me remove a new round of slides in 2020.