Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Underemployed

One of my best friends from high school and I are co-class secretaries. We were very honored when selected before graduation, but truthfully, we were the only ones who wanted the job.

Our main charge is to keep up with the 61 other ladies who graduated with us, to touch base ever so occasionally, to find out who is getting married, who has been promoted, who is attending yet another Ivy League program, etc. and then writing a synopsis for the biannual alumnae update.

Easy right? It is relatively facile to essentially ask for gossip and then repurpose it in a more palatable length of 500 words. But if no one responds? Well, well, well.

We, the two secretaries, hear from the usual folks time and time again, and for that we are grateful. But some others? I have no idea what they are up to, in spite of gentle Facebook and email reminders to "keep us updated!!"

I've figured it out. I know why I'm having trouble hearing from some and why just last week, I sent out a threat: "If you don't respond, you are giving us creative license to fabricate any interesting stories and lies about your life." THEY ARE EMBARRASSED.

Why? Plenty of us nearing our mid-20s, armed with loads of internships and a college degree, are not where we thought we would be by now. Success has become a hallucination of once-feverish ambition, and we've had to recalibrate our values and sometimes, lower our standards to merely pay off student loans and make rent. We are the Underemployed, in spite of our best laid plans, and try as we might, sometimes there is not much we can do about it.

So that's why, for my own inclusion in this installment of news, I said my "biggest accomplishment to date is not having caused serious harm to herself and tourists on her new bike. (Entirely subject to change.)"

Yes, I got a bike (did I mention?), and sadly, that statement is no mere self-deprecating comment. Tis true: I have a scar on my inner thigh from falling on barbed wire fence during an ill-fated hike in college, I have a goose egg on my lower back after slipping in rainboots on Valentine's Day FIVE YEARS AGO, and when I wear heels (every 18 months or so), I look a bit like those poor bovines afflicted with Mad Cow Disease. I will never be dexterous and will always be smacked in the face during dodgeball. But so far so good, re: the bike!

Sometimes, it's the small successes that count.