A local pizza franchise is owned by a man I went to junior high school with. I vaguely remember him, but he sure remembers me, and I feel so badly that I don’t remember him more clearly.
Last weekend I picked up a pizza and he was working. We chatted about school and work, and he mentioned the name of one of my students.
“I know her–she’s one of my students.”
“Really? Do you remember Jim? She’s Jim’s kid?”
I didn’t remember Jim–but I still have my junior high yearbook. So I came home and stumbled down memory lane. I looked at photos of people I barely remembered and wondered if I had been nice enough to people in my youth. If I couldn’t remember the pizza man clearly and couldn’t remember Jim, was I just a Plastic Mean Girl in high school?
Well, the junior high yearbook perusal morphed into a visitation to my high school yearbook, where I found this inscription from a boy I do clearly remember crushing on for the better part of three years:
“I didn’t get to talk to you a lot this year, but I still think you are one of the nicest girls I know. You rarely criticize anyone except yourself.”
Might not be genuine, after all, it is a platitude in a yearbook. But maybe I was nice to a few people…
I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past week. About who I’m nice to, who I’m friends with, who matters to me and who doesn’t and why. It’s a dangerous train of thought, as sometimes the switch is flipped and I’m headed to Self-Loathing-Ville instead of Redemption City…