Validity is such a lonely word …

As football season draws to a close, so does reunion season. No more lurking uncomfortably in parking lots with people you never really knew. No more feigning friendship and interest where none exists. No more until next year when the cycle begins anew.

So why do people who rarely interacted way back when and are likely filled with apathy or disdain reunite 10, 20, 30 years later under the guise of friendship?

We asked our panel, and they think we’re talking measures of validity and quieting insecurity.

The service academy crowd isn’t much different. Recently, the women from one of the earlier classes held a reunion of sorts. No sisterhood here. Most never spoke to one another. So why get together now? Here’s the obvious question: Why would this group hold a single-gender gathering? It’s not like they’re old friends. Not sure, but our panel repeated: “Validation! Insecurity!” OK. Got it.

So this group has a brunch. (Who does brunch?) “Validation! Insecurity!” chimed the chorus, uh, panel.

This is where it gets good. Brunch came and went, and then it took on new life. First, there was the public gushing. Then what really caught us off guard were the post-event confessions (truth not required) explaining why members could not attend. (We did not know that was a post-event requirement.”Validation! Insecurity!” reminded the chorus.)

Here’s a sampling of the post-event regrets. (These are for real.) We’ve cut them down and inserted our panel’s interpretation:

Excuse No. 1:
“Sorry I didn’t make it. I dropped a bottle of Italian soda on my foot last Wednesday. The bottle didn’t break, thank goodness, and my foot seemed [OK]. I took my dog for our regular two-mile stroll Thursday night. … It was all pain most of the night. I wasn’t sure I could drive all the way there and back (it would have to be my right foot). … I had picked up a caramel cheesecake made by the Cheesecake Factory and a pumpkin pie, which I ended up sharing with my coworkers this week.”

What we heard: “I make enough to afford Italian soda, and I am urbane enough to know where to buy Italian soda. I have enough time and am in good enough shape to have a dog and go for two-mile walks, and I can go at night because I can kill any attacker with a single choke hold. In case you did not realize, I am filthy rich from the Italian soda hint, I spent a ton of money on the cheesecake and pumpkin pie, though I am not sophisticated enough to know that I should not let anyone know I go to the Cheesecake Factory. And so you don’t think I’m battling an eating disorder, I want you to think I did not keep those desserts for myself though I ate every last bite.”

Excuse No. 2:
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t come since one of my cats has cancer on top of
diabetes, and he hadn’t been eating well after Friday’s chemo — which can very quickly escalate to needing ER attention.”

What we heard: “I am a great humanitarian, and I am rich enough to afford to take care of a very sick cat and fund chemotherapy treatments and trips to the emergency vet (BIG bucks), if necessary. Very few people even consider chemo for animals (and not many have heard of it), but I am successful, smart, and completely selfless. My actions clearly underscore my success and vast wealth.”

Excuse No. 3:
“I am sorry I wasn’t there last weekend — as I explained …, my son … is the varsity QB for his football team, and they were in the playoffs. [They] made it to the semi-final game this past weekend, so I couldn’t attend. Unfortunately, they lost and won’t make it to the
finals, but it was a great season for them.”

What we heard: “I am a success because I made my son a success. My son as varsity quarterback validates who I am. (Your son is not a varsity quarterback.) He has achieved success because of me and the sacrifices I have made. I skipped your silly brunch for him and he and everyone within a 10-mile radius knows it. You can see that I am the model mom because I am handling the game loss so well.”

Validity is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue …

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