My 50th High School Class Reunion Speech

[Author’s note: I was recently asked to give a talk at my 50th high school class reunion. I attended an all-boys’ military school called the Albany Academy from first grade through 12th. The Reunion event organizers who asked me to give a speech failed to provide any guidelines or constraints about topics. So, if you ask me, anything I said in my speech that turned out to be upsetting or embarrassing, well, that’s on them. Below are excerpts from my actual class reunion remarks to my fellow classmates from my high school Class of 1973. – Tim Jones]

Hello. I’m Tim Jones. It is great to see so many of my former classmates from the class of 1973, some of whom still vaguely recall who I am. Over the next couple of days, I look forward to reconnecting with many of you, to learn in great detail how you became so much more successful in your career than I did.

I’ve never been one to toot my own horn, but in our senior year, my classmates voted me “Person Most Likely to Disappoint his Father.” Given that I’ve been a humor writer for the past 15 years, I feel I  truly nailed this award. So, thanks to all of you who voted for me back then. For what it’s worth, I voted for Hessberg. Heck, he’s currently in prison for embezzlement, so I kind of feel he deserves this award more than me.

I want to acknowledge a few individuals. First, I want to congratulate my classmate Drew Rider on being inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Well deserved, Drew. But to be perfectly honest, many people have said that the ONLY reason I was not inducted last night right alongside you was due to my overwhelming lack of athletic talent, speed, stamina, and strength. But I disagree. If you ask me, I was blocked due to my bad penmanship.

I want to acknowledge my friend Ned Reinhardt. Ned initiated a series of periodic zoom calls when the Pandemic happened. It was his idea to try to bring our class together to share stories about our lives. Fun fact: Throughout all those many Zoom calls, Ned never once wore pants. Maybe it’s a German thing, I honestly don’t know.

I guess I should also congratulate my classmate Brad Williams, who unlike me, got accepted into Princeton. I only made the Waiting List. Way to go, Brad. Thanks for taking my spot at Princeton, you son of a bitch.

Then there’s Blake Pickett. Not exactly what you’d call a jock back in high school, if we’re going to be honest here. But a few years ago, in his sixties, this guy actually rode his bicycle from his home outside of Washington, DC all the way across the country, eventually showing up at my doorstep near Seattle. Over 3,000 miles! Very impressive, Blake. Although I heard a rumor he rode Amtrak from St. Louis to Boise, Idaho. Probably not true.

As for me, I had a wonderful experience at the Academy. I served a 12-year sentence – which is almost six years longer than the sentence Hessberg is currently serving. I mean, I attended the school for 12 years. The Academy, with its strong emphasis on a military education, taught me many useful life skills, like how to disassemble an M-1 Rifle. I can’t count the number of times I’ve made use of that unusual knowledge over the years. No wait, um, actually I can. Never. Not once.

I guess my proudest accomplishment while at the Academy was being selected class valedictorian. I like to think it was because of my impressive GPA… and not at all because I had threatened to release a batch of seriously incriminating photos of members of the Board of Trustees if I was not chosen.

Most past valedictorians of our prestigious institution went on to distinguished careers such as heads of companies or university professors. Some even went on to impressive careers as philanthropists. And I….. um, well, I followed a different path. You see, I eventually became a humor writer.

My 12 years at what was then an all-boys’ school taught me the importance of self-discipline, perseverance, and leadership, not to mention how to behave extremely awkwardly around girls because I was never around any of them.

After I graduated, I went onto the University of Virginia – mainly because someone took my spot at Princeton. But I’m not mentioning any names. I went on to get a law degree. But I never did practice law – which is a shame, actually, because the legal profession uses lots of Latin legal phrases – many of which I already knew because my high school Latin Teacher pressured me into taking THREE YEARS OF LATIN at the Academy. Here’s the sum total of what I remember from three years of Latin: Carpe Diem. Yeah, that was worth it. Sigh.

After law school, I smartly decided to pursue a career in sales management in an up-and-coming industry with a bright future – daily newspapers. I later joined a series of dotcom internet startups, most of which eventually went belly up. Finally, at age 54, I decided to leave the corporate rat race and become a humor writer. I’ve done well over my career. Not to brag, but according to my math, I’m almost certain I am one of the 50 wealthiest members of our entire… 42-person class. Unless you’re measuring success by net worth. In that case, I did much worse.

But I have had a wonderful life. No complaints. My wife of 37 years is from Canada. We adopted two beautiful baby girls from China. Our daughters are both grown up now. And this may surprise you, but to this very day … they’re both still embarrassed to be seen with me in public. And when they learned that their dad was Valedictorian, they both agreed … there must have been some irregularities in the vote count for valedictorian that year. Yeah, they’re probably right.

But, deep down, I believe with all my heart that, if my father were still alive today to see how I turned out after the Academy, he’d probably put his arm around me, and with tears in his eyes, say, ”My dear son. I paid for 12 years of your private school education at the Academy… And you became a HUMOR WRITER? … Hell, for God’s sake, son! Even your class’s laziest slacker, Benny O’Donnell, became a doctor!”     

 Thank you very much.

For more of Tim Jones’ humor go HERE

Check out Tim Jones’ new YouTube channel, View from the Bleachers.

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One thought on “My 50th High School Class Reunion Speech”

  1. Well, congrats on your past success, anyway. I graduated firmly in the middle of my class, and immediately went into the grocery store clerk industry.

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