There are few methods of social ranking more stringent than the school reunion test. There is no better way for one to gain the measure of oneself than being assessed against the other people with whom one happened to be enrolled in secondary school at roughly the same time. That much is self evident and certain.
The goal when completing the test, of course, is to demonstrate at your school reunion that you’ve attained the greatest level of (apparent) success in the least (credibly able to be claimed) time, ideally with an apparent lack of effort on your part.
This document is intended as a guide to completing the school reunion test, though this author despairingly acknowledges that most readers will be learning all of this several decades too late.
When the time is right
Typically, school leavers are assessed at their 20 year school reunion. It might sound odd to refer to a group of near 40 year olds as ‘school leavers’, but that’s the parlance adopted in the context of the school reunion test, so you’ll need to learn to tolerate it.
Some who wish to be tested believe 20 years is too long to wait to have their social standing assessed. They suggest that they ought to be tested as soon as 5 years after leaving school. And that is preposterous.
Few schools hold a 5 year reunion, given the safe assumption that school leavers will still be gathering at the boat races and cricket pavilions to cheer on the year levels immediately below them (school not yet leavers).
School spirit never leaves us, but it’s truly at its strongest in the first 5 years after leaving, when one has forgotten the anxieties and inadequacies that populated one’s mind while still wearing one’s school colours. But given that classmates are still in contact with one another within 5 years of leaving, the school reunion test would surely fail, or fail to be of any use.
The 10 year reunion will see you and your more worthy classmates as resident surgeons and senior associates, so again, the time has yet to come for a proper administration of the school reunion test.
At the 15 year reunion, someone has normally died and someone else has been involved in some highly publicised scandal (or both things may have happened to the same unfortunate individual), so those various happenings are enough to occupy school leavers as they sip their Pimms cocktails.
20 years is the time to assess school leavers, and to rank them against their peers to discover who can consider themselves a failure, and who can consider themselves to be better than those they were born in the same year as.
The test itself
The test itself is simple, and just one rule governs its administration. The results of the school reunion test may only be measured by someone other than oneself.
This is why every 20 year school reunion is entirely populated by people asking questions of other people from the following list (you may use the list yourself if you doubt your ability to commit any of it to memory):
- What are you doing with yourself now (And let's be honest, if I don't already know, I don't see why I should care.)
- Do you have a wife or husband? (And what do they do, and how high on the average attractiveness scale are they, or if they’re not attractive, how far above the average national income do they earn?)
- Are you a partner / CEO / Chairperson?
- What awards have you won? (And which of them were proper awards, as opposed to the ones you can easily win if you’re happy to shamelessly pay the $800 'application fee'?)
- Who do you still see from school (And are they members of the Melbourne Cricket Club, and how many of them have featured on the BRW Rich List within the past 36 months?)
- Which sailing / golf / racism club do you belong to?
- Do you have children (And if so, which private school were they enrolled in at birth, and where did they place in the Head of the River, and how did they explain their inability to win and to honour their family legacy?)
By a combination of the answers to these questions, you will be able to ascertain the social and economic status of any given school leaver, which you can then communicate to them. More likely, you’ll communicate it to other people and not to the person you’ve tested, so that you can each titter away at the fate of that person.
The point of it all
Needless to say, the real purpose of the school reunion test is not to rank school leavers, but to know within yourself that you are ranked higher than all of those you are ranking. Knowing that you’ve been more successful in life and love than those you once called your peers is satisfaction that very few exercises can grant. That, dear reader, is the beauty of the school reunion test, and the very reason it is perpetuated by each generation and the next.