Nostalgia bites at the most inopportune times.
Like when I stick my hand into the barbecue potato chip bag for the umpteenth time, even after I've promised myself to eat just a few chips, a quick snack to stave off late-night munchies while writing emails to friends.
A few nights back, I hit send for a message to a school friend, Terri Cramer, now Terri Cramer Schroeder, then took a bite of barbecue potato chips and suddenly I was sitting in the Eagle Grove bowling alley watching my team kick butt. We were T.C. and the Alley Cats.
That was right about the time a television cartoon featured T.C., an alley cat, and the name made perfect sense. The part about kicking butt, I can't remember for sure, but I know we were good enough not to embarrass ourselves.
A person can't go bowling without a snack, and my favorite snack was a bag of barbecue potato chips. See, there is a connection - I almost always have a connection. Almost. And when I don't, I'm not taking the blame - it's that thing in my head taking over my thought.
I call it thing because I don't know if it's a muse. A muse should give you encouragement, help when you're stymied, push your hesitance away and clear the way for success.
A thing just plays its own game, little caring what it does to you.
Still, the night I had chips in my mouth and Terri in my head, I laughed right out loud. Which, of course, splattered potato chip drool all over the monitor. Sometimes you've just got to pay to have fun.
That's what bowling in school was. Fun. It was as if they let us play hooky to get away from chemistry or physics or contemporary problems. What a silly concept for a high school class - contemporary problems. High school is a contemporary problem.
Even when you think you're past those problems, something turns your head backward and all things high school float to the top of the memory mire. But this is where you can get a little of your own back from that thing in your head. This is when you can sift through high school memories, keeping only the fun memories in your mind, and then it doesn't matter what you think of because it will all be good.
This isn't a hard concept. Just think of the fun, and if you bump into a bad memory, close your eyes and shake your head and find something else to think about.
That works OK if you don't have an equilibrium problem. When I shake my head, all the little rocks rattle around and it takes a good 20 seconds of settling to see straight again. Come to think of it, that's pretty much what people thought of me in school, I think - that the rocks in my head rattled around plenty often.
But what I'm really wondering is if those barbecue chips left an orangish glow on my bowling ball. You should see my keyboard.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Sandy Mickelson is the former lifestyle editor of The Messenger. She is retired. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.