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Misc. News : Consumer Affair Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM


Envy? Denial? Must be a Class Reunion!
By Martha Rosenberg
Jan 6, 2009 - 10:44:09 AM

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Nowhere in science is the "survivorship bias" as well demonstrated as the class reunion.

Where are the people who failed economically, professionally, socially,
romantically and bodily?

They don't show up!

And that's not counting the people who really can't show up who are listed in the in memoriam section of class handbook.

Remember how they said at the graduation ceremony, in the next decade four of you will be gone? You can be glad it wasn't you. Yet.

Of course you don't remember most of your classmates and they don't remember you as you hover at the bar trying to look affable.

Not just because half the class has lost its maiden names--and maiden figures; more on that later--but because there was nothing memorable about them.

Or, if there was something memorable about them it is not admissible in the social court of manners

Cheating, selling drugs, car accidents, slut-hood, intractable b.o, Kool-Aid jokes after Jonestown, unintentionally saying "orgasm" when they meant to say "organism" in biology lab.

Even in high school, gotcha press governed.

Then there is the issue of peaking.

Everyone knows the Cheryl Ladds and Cybill Shepherds peak early--as soon as their arms start to jiggle.

But what about the nebbishes and nonentities who are at the top of their game?

The late blooming Julia Roberts in the groups?

Sure the hummer and strummer is still performing Amazing Grace wherever two or more are gathered. The student government star is in the bigger student government known as state politics. The guy who doodled his way into detention is a graphic designer. The out guy is still out.

Everyone knew that.

But how did the guy who sat next to you in geometry become a surgeon? He wasn't any smarter than you.

Don't say he--applied himself!

Then there's the career substance abusers.

Most of the class has 17 or 20-year-old kids and is contemplating the "C" word--even as their savings have shrunk by 40 percent.

But others have 17 and 20-year-old addictions.

Sure, raising a monkey on your back named alcohol or dope doesn't endear your parents to you--who thought they would be grandparents by now--or let you whip out wallet photos.

But it does explain where the years and money went and provide spicy narrative material.

And speaking of money--why are all these people on second careers?

Why are they Fibre Artists, and Life Coaches and Pilates Instructors and Dog Walkers and Restorers of Church Pipe Organs after their real jobs with chip makers and insurance companies?

Obviously because they HAD real jobs and they no doubt wish you good luck with YOUR job search.

Then there's looks.

While Breakfast Club director John Hughes said when you age "everything gets bigger, hairier and closer to the ground," the class has for the most part outsmarted the obesity epidemic. At least those who showed up. (see survivorship bias).

But.

Few indeed are men with full heads of hair and women without full sets of hips.

Nor can the men blame their condition on childbirth.

Not only are the men not built like Peter Frampton anymore or the women like Kristy McNichol-- we all know why.

Which bring us to the under heralded "survivorship perk" of a class reunion.

You don't have to lie about your age.




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