Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Niggas don't change, they just get older.....

That outstanding quotation was provided to me by one of my high school classmates during my 10-year reunion this weekend. She said it without rancor; it was just a random statement of fact to explain the actions of some of our classmates who didn't appear to have made the strides they should have in adulthood.

It cracked me up.

My reunion was an interesting affair. A friend of mine did a lot of the planning so I had been receiving regular updates on the activities planned and had a pretty good sense about who was coming before I arrived. All of the events were well executed, and I don't think anybody could complain that they didn't get their money's worth.

But, that doesn't mean that everything went off without a hitch; in fact there were plenty of hitches, glitches and, well, bitches. Of both genders. Some folks have managed to receive a Phd in trifling and evilness in the past decade, although that didn't apply to most of the folks who attended.

However, the quotation my friend made stuck with me because it rang so true when I applied to the happenings of the weekend. As I talked to people about where they were in life, what they had accomplished I was struck by how so many of us were doing impressive things, and had gained adult insight, but still had the same core personalities that we had in high school. In fact, I would argue that I probably changed the most out of any of my classmates (even the ones who had changed their sexual preference), and that was more a function of getting my raging hormones under control then anything else.

We as humans like to believe that were constantly evolving mentally and emotionally and to a certain extent there is some veracity in that thought. But, more than we realize, the blueprint for who are was laid a long time ago, and now all we're really doing is tweaking things. In other words, the cakes been mixed and baked, right now we're just playing around with the icing.

Some of y'all might not agree with me, and that's cool. My wife pointed out that people might have fallen back into their old behavior patterns because they were around the same old people. That made some sense to me; it is easy to get sucked back into what's comfortable and expected. Several folks still teased me about being a smart kid or used old football terms to start a conversation because that's who they remembered me as being. As she often does, the Little Woman made me rethink my conclusion and examine things from another angle.

But, I still like my thesis.

Truthfully, I don't know how I feel about my discovery. On one hand, it's soothing to know that the people don't change too drastically because it gives you room to plan how you're going to deal with them. Conversely, if people don't change that much, how those the world ever improve?

It was good to see my classmates again. Old friends, old loves, old enemies, I welcomed all of them back into my life for the weekend and I enjoyed their company. It was nice to fellowship with them, their spouses and their children and I look forward to the next time we have a class reunion.

After all, nobody will be a stranger, they'll just be a little older.


Unknown said...

That sounded exactly like my 10th. My friend Raye said, "All that changes is the hairstyle". It's strange because I felt like I had changed so much and they hadn't at all. We all felt that way - it's a perception game. I'm glad you had fun!

Big Man said...

Yeah, it was fun. And you're probably right, they probably all thought I was exactly the same as I had always been.

Anonymous said...

I never went to my 10th or 15th or 20th...and I'll probably miss the 25th as well.

But I did go to a 5th year reunion (not sure how many schools do that) and what amazed me was that I was finishing a one-year master's program to bolster my undergraduate degree, and after five years, I was amazed at how many people still hadn't even figured out their undergraduate majors yet.

Funny because I went to a Catholic prep school. I guess many of the mamas and papas had plenty of money to let junior stay in school for 5 or 6 or 7 years but not enough time to have given them focus or direction in life.

But I digress.

What was more interesting to me than the fact that personalities hadn't changed much (didn't expect them to in five years) was the way I was received. People who had actually ridiculed and taunted me in high school actually remembered me fondly and treated me nicely. It was plain freaky, I tell you...

Anonymous said...

MANNNN! I swear you took the words right out of my mouth. I had the same conversation using the same terms yesterday. My friend you hit the nail on the head. I especially liked the cake part. Speak on! I will be back tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm really sorry that I didn't attend. Honestly, I wasn't all that interested in going. But after reading this and speaking to Mrs. Raving Black Lunatic, I'm feeling a little sad. Oh well.

P.S. Big Man, you're still the same, son: productive and conscious!! Smile!!!

Anonymous said...

Interesting...and so very true!

Big Man said...

Welcome classmates.

Please make the blog a regular visting place and read some of the old posts. You can use the search function at the top.

Gye Greene said...

Big Man,

I attended my 10 year reunion, and was totally dissapointed: Everyone who I was close to in H.S., I was still in touch with; and the handful of people who I was curious about didn't show.

(And, it was poorly run: Among other things, they sent us outside for a group photo just a few minutes after serving the main course; when we went back inside, all the plates had been cleared!!!)

So, I just skipped my 20-year.

Re: Traits -- I totally agree. We adopted my youngest sister from Korea when she was five, and in preparation with that we got evaluated by some social worker, who wrote up a brief description of all our personalities. My dad was cleaning out their filing cabinet and gave me that document a few years back -- and we're TOTALLY the same!!! (Well, with "grown-up" overlays.)

(And your wife's insight, about the group context, makes sense, too: part of why family get-togethers can be such trouble! Old roles, old patterns...)

OTOH: I think that people **can** change -- but within the parameters of their personality or traits. Like, in high school I was fairly shy, but pretty clown-y with my friends. My Junior year, I decided I was tired of being shy, and made a focused effort to talk to more people.

Or: Someone who's a thrill-seeker and does a lot of tagging or shoplifting (or whatever) can re-focus those tendencies towards trick skateboarding (or being a stuntman/woman), etc.

I think the trick is to take your basic tendencies and either (1) tone them down/ramp them up, or (2) re-channel them into more productive directions.

IMO, anyhow.


ZACK said...

This year marks 10 years since I finished grammar school. So, you got me beat by 4 years.

But anyway...

The quote is somewhat true. But I'm confused by your sexual preference statement. Did you use to be gay in high school? Not that it matters, but it seemed like that's what you implied.


And I apologize for upsetting everybody with the HBCU post some odd weeks ago. I didn't mean any harm.

Big Man said...


Nah, I've always been hetereo. I said that I thought I'd changed more than anybody, even the people who had become openly gay since high school. In my mind, going from hetereosexual to homosexual is a huge change, but I felt like the growth I saw in myself as a man was even bigger than that. I'm not trying to brag about my growth, I actually shudder when I think about some of the stuff I focused on and did in high school.

Raving Black Lunatic