Former LaCucaracha Armadillos who graduated from 1980 through 1990 held a reunion this past Saturday night at the Gomez Mexican Food Restaurant. Many attending said the event was saved by the legal availability of alcohol at the cash bar.
1984 graduate, Steve Brown, arrived at the gathering and immediately felt that old familiar awkwardness when he was unable to spot anyone he knew or recognized while strolling amongst the throng of former Armadillo classmates. Thankfully, Brown found the bar and quickly downed a beer. The alcohol hit Brown’s bloodstream and soon one of alcohol’s more pleasant side effects, not caring about anything, began to take place.
“I spotted this chick I used to pass in the halls,” said Brown, “and just said ‘hello.’ She clearly had a couple of beers already so the next thing you know, we’re talking like actual middle-aged adults who vaguely know each other.”
Alcohol, primarily known as a social lubricant, also has other side effects that come in handy for events such as high school reunions, weddings, office parties, concerts, funerals and first dates. Those side effects include: a loosening of morals, an increase in bravery, becoming more talkative, a lessening of anxiety and the power to make people seem more attractive and interesting than they actually are. However, it is a fine line between the good effects of alcohol and the somewhat more negative effects such as loudness, obnoxiousness, general idiocy and death – in a spectacular variety of ways.
For the most part, alcohol’s good side was on display Saturday night. “Sure,” said Angela Shifflet, class of 1988, “at first I was anchored to a table fearing for my social life. Certain groups started to form and someone I went up to had absolutely no idea who I was – he didn’t even pretend to recognize me – so it started to feel exactly like high school. But then, I saw the bar. A couple of gin and tonics later and I was talking to people I didn’t recognize or remember. The best part was, they were drinking too so they didn’t care about anything either.”
Alcohol also made an excellent excuse to get out of a conversation that had run its course, or one that someone didn’t want to have in the first place. “I was catching up with Morty,” said Thomas Simpson, class of 1981, “and as much as I like Morty, there’s a reason we haven’t kept in touch all that much. So, you know, we have a couple of laughs, but then it’s pretty clear we’ve got nothing left to say, but almost at the exact same time we’re both , like, ‘hey, I gotta make a beer run.’ So, no harm, no foul.”
Miles Cavender, class of 1987, however, was trapped in a conversation with former Armadillo drill team captain, Sheryl Davidson, class of 1986, whom he really, frankly, cannot stand. “I see her coming over,” said Cavender, “and I’m dreading it. I know it’s going to be all about her kids, just like Facebook. And sure enough, after one patronizing comment on my life, she immediately goes into her kids ‘accomplishments.’ I hit the bar, pronto.”
Former flag corps member, Ronald Hyde, class of 1985, tried to start a conversation with former band member, Nathan Edrington, class of 1983, but apparently being in the flag corps wasn’t good enough for Edrington and his band cronies. No problem for alcohol though. Hyde downed a couple of more beers and simply forced his way into the conversation to the eventual enjoyment of all the band members.
“I tell you what,” said Elliott Orr, class of 1982, “alcohol can take you from complete awkwardness to a conversation about how the urinal trough is simultaneously disgusting, incredibly gay and a modern marvel of efficiency and then seamlessly segue into a serious discussion about politicians grappling with an increasingly global economy transitioning away from traditional manufacturing into a completely new kind of consumerism.”
By the end of the evening, people who would never have hung out in high school were arm in arm, swaying softly in the stifling heat, singing the Armadillo school song in sweet harmony and unison. “It’s like that Jamaican dude in the commercial says,” said Orr, “Hooray for beer!”