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Several musicians I know have had their CD release parties this past month. Steph Johnson and Greg Laswell played at different venues on Kettner. Cathryn Beeks hosted a picnic. But CD release parties aren't parties; they're concerts with the new CD for sale. One week, when there were two of these release parties going on, I had an excuse to miss them. There was a high school graduation party, and I don't often get to write about teenage parties. When I arrived at the Point Loma home, I saw a Lexus in the driveway. I rang the doorbell and when Eric, the graduate, opened the door, I said, "So, your parents gave you a Lexus for a graduation present, huh?" I assumed he was going to say the car was his mom's. "No. The car is mine, but I didn't get it for graduation. It was my grandmother's car." I almost started to rant: When I was in high school, my Mustang didn't run half the time, and I had to ride my Schwinn 10-speed to school. I stopped myself; he wasn't my son.

A few guys were horsing around near the door, and I saw girls sitting on the couch and looking at a yearbook. Lena was holding it, and her mom grabbed it and said, "Let me read what you wrote." Lena laughed and told her that she hadn't signed it yet. Later, when she started to write in it, her mom hovered, waiting to read it. If I were Lena, I would've written some crazy things just to mess with her mom.

Eric's uncle ended up with the yearbook and read what the kids had written. We laughed as he exaggerated certain words and phrases. Yearbook clichés, such as, "I'll miss you," or "Enjoy the summer," and heartfelt messages and sentiments sounded goofy when interpreted by Eric's uncle.

I thought about how I'd read my yearbook every day for the first few weeks after school ended. I couldn't believe the girl I had a crush on wrote that she'd had a crush on me. Or that someone I often argued with apologized for being a jerk. I'm sure if I took my yearbook out now, I wouldn't remember half my classmates.

When I looked through their Point Loma High yearbook, I was surprised it was in color. At my school, color photos were for the senior class.

Point Loma High had a surf club and a sailing club. And there was a club called Got Jew. I asked Eric about that club. "Yeah, I once belonged to that." I asked him what they did. "A lot of Jewish things. We'd watch Jewish movies. We learned about Jewish customs and things like that."

A few adults were on the back patio, and I made my way out there. Snacks were set up on tables throughout the house. I noticed people were often going to the bathroom, and when they'd come back to the patio, the next person would go to the bathroom. Just as I was thinking that they had food poisoning, I overheard someone say that Leslie had just finished remodeling her bathroom. I went in to take a look. It was done in an art deco style with many different colors of tiles. The shower tiles were red with various poems about water painted on them. The medicine cabinets were done in different colors. The only thing in traditional white was the toilet. Someone said, "Leslie, maybe you should think about renting out this bathroom." I said, "It still has that new bathroom smell."

I was told there was pizza, and I went back in to grab a slice and a root beer. I met Lena's mom, Diana, and gave her a hard time for reading her daughter's yearbook. I asked Diana what her daughter had planned for the summer, and she told me that they were going to drive across the country visiting various colleges that Lena might want to attend. Lena has another year before graduation, though.

I was a little embarrassed when Diana asked me why I kept looking in my cup. I had finished my drink, and for some reason, I kept looking into my cup as we talked. It's embarrassing when someone points out a weird habit you have. I made a lame excuse about running out of root beer, and Diana said, "Well, go get some more!"

A woman named Renee was taking the people who were looking at the bathroom outside to look at her new SUV, a Nissan Xterra. I said, "So, you got a graduation present for yourself, huh?"

There were sports on the TV, and I kept ending up there. I asked the high school grads what their coolest school moment was. A guy named Taylor said, "When I punched Wyatt. That was pretty cool."

Eric played in the school band, and I asked him how he got into drums. "I was in the fourth grade. My parents wanted me to play an instrument, and nobody else was playing drums. They looked like fun."

"Did they regret you choosing that instrument when it kept them up late at night?"

Eric laughed and said, "No. They never tell me I have to stop playing or practicing."

I remembered several high school friends who were in the band and how they were often called "band geeks." I think playing drums exempts one from geek status.

When Eric talked about competitions, I said, "Wait a minute. How can you have competitions? It's not like a sport where you score points." He explained, "They have different divisions, and they have three or four judges who rate each section. One judge is listening to the notes. There's a brass judge, a visual judge...."

"If it's all done by judges deciding a winner, are there ever any controversies if people don't agree?"

"Oh, yeah! That happens a lot."

Two of Eric's uncles ended up arguing about their high school basketball days back in Indiana and which of them was the better player. They were tall, good-looking guys and a lot of fun. When Leslie served cake, one of the uncles complained that there was no coffee. He said, "Okay, well, just give me a cup of hot water; that will be close enough." One of the women said, "I can only drink coffee if it has lots of chocolate and stuff like that in it."

Uncle reluctantly settled for a glass of milk.

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.

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