Last weekend I attended my high school reunion. I grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota. The advantage of a small town is that most of the people at the reunion I’ve known my entire life. The evening was filled with nostalgia; reconnecting with old friends while re-hashing the past. Toward the end of the festivities my feet were killing me, (never wear heels to a reunion, I don’t care how how tall and slim they make you feel, you’re still short and fat.) On top of that I was extremely tired. At about this time, a classmate approached me, wrapping his arms around me and remarking he was happy to see me. After freeing myself from his grasp and his over-powering stench of cologne, I realized I had no idea who he was. A quick glance at his name-tag offered no help. But the fatigue of reunion babble was getting to me so I played along.
The conversation went something like this:
“So Nancy, any kids?”
“Six,” I said, then added, “Wait,uh, four.”
“Which is it then, six or four?”
I laughed at my faux pas. “Four, the other two don’t count.”
He flinched, dropping his jaw, not a wink of humor. I’m not sure if it was fatigue or my aching feet, but his reaction was too good to pass up. I felt tiny horns begin to grow from the top of my head.
“So I hear you’re a writer. Where can I find your books?”
“Amazon.” The horns now inching up from my scalp. “I write under a pseudonym, James Joyce.”
“Really? A guy’s name huh? That’s weird.”
Okay now he was asking for it. No recognition of James Joyce was akin to blasphemy. “I felt it was necessary since my novel Ulysses was banned in the U.S.”
“Wow! What’s it about?”
“It’s about a young man’s walk-about in his hometown, sort of a parody of Homer’s Odyssey.”
“Yeah, I get it. Like walking around Brainerd. That’s cool. What else have you written?”
The horns were now visible and beginning to curl. “Finnegan’s Wake. It’s written in a style I perfected, stream of consciousness. That bitch, Virginia Woolf gets all the credit for it, but I took it to a whole new level.”
“Virginia Woolf? Did she graduate with us?”
Who says reunions aren’t any fun?