As high school reunions arrive, one wonders how other's lives turned out. Yet, decades later, I remembered the name of only one fellow student, Eric, and not favorably.
An old saying is that one forgets those who have done us favors but never forgets those who have humiliated us, and I found this to be true. Throughout my life, Eric's name had burned within my psyche.
Seeking information, I Googled him and others. One had earned her Ph.D., which didn't surprise me, though her retirement as an Army Colonel did. Another, a Swedish diplomat, was on the Council of Europe. But Eric's life most interested me.
During my lonely high school days, he had seemed a Gatsby-like character. Handsome and popular, always nattily dressed and with his intended goal of Yale, he would have been a shoe-in for Homecoming King had my school such a celebration. I envied his friendships from within my social circle of one.
Eric spoke to me only once. As he approached, I felt proud, anticipating that he would value me as a friend and share his approval with others. But he only wanted to borrow money, which I lent him and he never repaid. Nor did he ever approach me again.
According to the high school newsletter, Eric had died many years before. Thanks to Google, I learned that our professional lives had similarities. We had both earned doctoral degrees and written books. These were common achievements for graduates of my selective high school. But in one way, thanks to luck and Madonna, I had done something which, almost certainly, none of the other graduates had.
Years after graduation, while being driven to a TV interview, the driver remarked, "Madonna was the last person to sit where you're sitting."
So, thanks to Madonna, I had finally beaten Eric in the long game of life.