#822: 7 Lies I Intend to Tell at Tonight’s High School Reunion

July 28th, 2017

As mentioned earlier this week, I will be attending my 20th high school reunion this evening.

In advance of what is sure to be a night of memories, revelry and conversations about which teachers were gay, I have prepared seven lies to tell my former classmates.

These lies are not intended to impress the Class of ’97 — what a sad slog that would be, to care about a virtual stranger’s judgment of your life because you sat near each other in fifth-period Econ — but rather for the sheer love of lying to people I kinda sorta know.

Let us begin.

1. I have been in prison.

Convincing my former classmates I did a nickel in Taylorville on a narco rap will be a matter of subtlety. One does not simply interrupt a story about kids, jobs or lawns with, “Cool, cool. Sorry about your dog feeling sick but I have totally done time in prison for real.”

Instead, when people ask what I’ve been up to, I will gloss over the period from 2007 to 2012 by hardening my face momentarily, staring off into the distance and gently, almost absentmindedly stroking a large scar I happen to have on my forearm and saying, “Away.” That’ll teach you to express genuine interest in an old friend’s life and well-being, Lee Cunningham.

2. I wrote “Emotion” for Destiny’s Child.

Complicating this lie could be that I went to high school with Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child (her real name’s Tenitra and we didn’t really know each other but I do recall she was just a lovely person).

If Tenitra’s not there tonight, I might be safe. If she is there tonight, my cover’s blown. If she’s there tonight and I manage to convince her I wrote the fourth single from 2001’s quadruple-platinum album “Survivor,” it will be my greatest moment.

3. I am court-enjoined from publicly discussing Burger King.

The hard part will be steering the conversation to talk about fast food then making a production of not being able to say “Burger King.”

4. I enjoy Tibetan log dancing.

I am willing to demonstrate this completely fictitious art form.

5. I enjoy watching professional knife-fighting, which is a sport that uses rubber “knives” and is similar to fencing in its techniques, and have traveled as far as Canada to watch “bouts.”

In fairness, I already used this one when I ran into a couple old classmates at a bar in Montreal. Sorry, Eric. Sorry, Amanda.

6. I enjoy making small talk with virtual strangers over light beer and budget chardonnay at a Hilton Garden Inn I had to drive two hours to get to.

I mean, some of it will be fun… I guess… hopefully…

7. I’m not excited about this.

Beyond the fact I expect more than three discussions about the costs of children’s dental care, I am looking forward to seeing my old classmates. Although I don’t care if they think I’m cool or weird or can’t speak about the Home of the Whopper because of a 2013 court order, some of these are people I did care about, and I genuinely care about what they’ve been up to.

I can think of no one I would wish unhappiness upon and if you can share four years of hormones and trig with a class of 430 and still say that, you’re doing pretty good.

And if you’re interested in Michelle Williams’ autograph, you’ll find my rates quite reasonable.

Brief self-promotion break: I piece I wrote about Chicago and my hometown has recently been published in Belt Publishing’s Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology. I’m one of the “and many more” on the list of authors’ names.

Buy the book, support local writers like me and the rest of the “many more” and come to this awesome release party on August 13.

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