As a younger man, I took the words of the group Boston and the pitcher Satchel Paige very seriously. So to this day, I don't look back much because I figure something might be gaining on me. As a result, I've successfully avoided every single reunion I've ever been invited to attend.
This weekend, members of my graduating class are gathering at The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut, a truly fantastic prep school that basically saved my academic life right in the middle of my high school years. I fled there as a boarding student when my family life imploded back in the Garden State and I fell into what might be characterized as a dangerous academic free fall. Thankfully, the Loomis Chaffee community provided me not just with a safe haven, but also with the single most stimulating academic environment that I have ever experienced. Sorry Cornell, but sometimes the educational truth hurts.
As I write these words, I find myself loving Loomis Chaffee more than ever before. That's because I just checked to see for the first time what the brain trust at Wikipedia had to say about my old school, and I was thrilled and dumbfounded to see I'm somehow listed as a Distinguished Alumni of the school alongside the likes of Ella Grasso, Tom Leher, John D. Rockerfeller III, George Shultz, Jamie Widdoes and Arthur Ochs Sultzberger. I swear I didn't add my own name to that impressive list, but let me offer my warm thanks and a crisp five dollar bill to whatever poor judge of character took the time to do so.
Because of a true "Circle Of Life" pair of family obligations -- my wonderful niece's Bat Mitzvah and the unveiling of my late great dad's grave -- my wife and kids and I actually can't be there with my old friends on the Connecticut River this weekend. My lovely high school girlfriend Suzanne (with whom I now tweet, along with her equally lovely husband) suggested that I write a playlist for the reunion. At first I thought about creating a nostalgic list that combined some old preppy favorites like the Grateful Dead and Pure Prairie League, along with some of my own personal favorites from that era by artists like Elvis Costello and Tom Petty.
But then I decided when you're 40something, you're probably better off trying to live in the present tense and not in the past -- even at your high school reunion. So here's my loving playlist for all my classy classmates made up of recent songs by both current, mostly younger artists and a few veterans from back in the day who endure with amazing grace. Take a listen, stay current and impress your kids, if such a thing is actually even possible.
Finally, by way of an long overdue apology for the nasty review I wrote of the Grateful Dead's Go To Heaven album in the school paper that nearly got me killed in Batch dorm, I end this playlist with a genuine tie-dyed classic I used to make fun of, but love today. See since graduation day, I've learned a thing or two. Here's one of them: it's important to respect the Dead, but I still prefer the company of the living:
"WELCOME TO THE FUTURE" - Brad Paisley
"REWIND" - Diane Birch
"YOU NEVER KNOW" - Wilco
"CHICKEN FRIED" - Zac Brown Band
"GIRLFRIEND" - Phoenix
"GONE MAN" - Eels
"I'M AMAZED" - My Morning Jacket
"THE SOUND OF SUNSHINE" - Michael Franti & Spearhead
"KINGDOM OF DAYS" - Bruce Springsteen
"KISS ON MY LIST" - The Bird And The Bee
"THE HOUSE THAT BUILT ME" - Miranda Lambert
"IN THE SUN" - She & Him
"HEAVEN CAN WAIT" - Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck
"WE LET HER DOWN" - Chris Isaak
"EVERLASTING LIGHT" - The Black Keys
"I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN IT" - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
"NOTHIN' ON YOU" - B.o.B (featuring Bruno Mars)
"YOU CAN'T COUNT ON ME" - Counting Crows
"THE GHOST INSIDE" - Broken Bells
"SUMMER DAY" - Sheryl Crow
"PRIDE (IN THE NAME OF LOVE)" - Dierks Bentley
"A MAN WITH NOTHING TO DO" - Justin Currie
"STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU" - Keith Urban
"SAY PLEASE" - String Cheese Incident
"DANCE TONIGHT" - Paul McCartney
"BLACK GIVES WAY TO BLUE" - Alice In Chains
"WHITE HORSE" - Taylor Swift
"THERE GOES MY BABY" - Usher
"(IF YOU'RE WONDERING IF I WANT YOU TO) I WANT YOU TO" - Weezer
"SOLITARY GUN" - Rogue Wave
"YOU MUST BE OUT OF YOUR MIND" - The Magnetic Fields
"LOOKING UP" - Paramore
"GIVING UP THE GUN" - Vampire Weekend
"AMERICAN HONEY" - Lady Antebellum
"BREAKEVEN (FALLING TO PIECES) - The Script
"MY OLD SCHOOL" - Steely Dan
"BOX OF RAIN" - Grateful Dead
Distinguished alumni of Huffington Post, as always, please share your own reunion playlist here. Then sign my yearbook.