A college friend sent me an email this week with the following challenge:
My high school is doing a "where are they now?" edition of the alumni newsletter and they are asking alumni to provide 3-4 sentences describing what they've done since high school. I challenge you to write something totally crazy, but believable enough to be accepted for the newsletter.Challenge accepted.
A few years ago, I submitted my own entirely fake biography to our alma mater, just to see how ridiculously you could brag about yourself without being called on it. Since it was published without question, the answer to that particular puzzle remains elusive.
I couldn't stop at just one, of course, and while it got a little dark toward the end, I think I've managed to find the sweet spot between tragic, comic, and credible, especially if you know "Jerome." See what you think. And if you need some help with your college or high school alumni magazine, just let me know and I'll be glad to make something up. Maybe I could make a business out of it!
(All names have been changed to protect the fraudulent.)
Jerome put his accounting degree to good work, acting as the CFO for Tinder in its startup phase. Tiring of the daily grind, he cashed out his options and bought an orchard in the Bay Area, where he and his family now live. Their brand, Poochie’s Peaches, is famous at farmer’s markets throughout California, and they plan to release the first bottling of their peach wine this fall. Watch for it in your local Trader Joe’s!
Jerome’s love of history led him to pursue a lucrative career running revolutionary war reenactment fairs. This hidden market, while not as well-known as the renaissance fair industry, has a passionate and wealthy clientele who want nothing more than to see if the British will win this time. While trying to meet his clients’ desires to prove their ancestral ties to revolutionary war heroes, Jerome launched a complementary genealogy business and is now one of the executive producers of that show on PBS that tells celebrities who their ancestors were.
After leaving Shelbyville High, Jerome wandered for a while seeking his purpose. After stints at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Montana still didn’t provide a suitable direction, Jerome moved to the Bay Area, where he discovered his true calling: hot yoga. He also met his wife there when she impressed him with her flexibility and calm while using a Groupon for a free session. He now runs a studio in downtown San Francisco that specializes in Bikram and hot yoga. He and his wife have two children, a dog, and a Subaru.
Jerome’s book, I’m OK, But You’re a Hot Mess, is now celebrating its 23rd consecutive week on the USA Today bestseller list for children’s books. He quit his bartending job last year to write full-time and expects to release another children’s book entitled, Katie Has Four Mommies: Living With Your Mormon Neighbors, this fall. He lives with his wife and three kids (well-adjusted, thank you very much!) in a basement apartment in Burlingame.
Once Jerome graduated from Shelbyville High, he realized that his best years were behind him. He lived with his parents for a while, but once they retired and moved to a smaller house – he suspects that this was not an accident – he struck out on his own to pursue his one true passion: mandolin music. He now makes a subsistence living playing backup for several touring bluegrass bands. If you’re in Colorado, Central Oregon, or Northern California, drop him a line and maybe you can hook up the next time he swings through town (or you can meet in the middle if he’s within an hour’s drive of a large town).
While Jerome never really got over Michael Crawford’s retirement, he keeps the “spirit of the ghost” alive and well as he completes his 16th year with the touring company of Phantom of the Opera. He relishes the opportunity to bring the show to smaller markets while waiting for the 30th anniversary revival season, because it gives him the opportunity to bring this magical musical to an ever-wider audience of young musical theater fans. He and his wife Cory Anne met ten years ago when she took over the role of chorus and backup understudy for Christine, and they’ve been making wonderful music together ever since!
My husband Jerome passed away last summer in a BASE-jumping accident that showed astonishingly poor judgment. Please remove this address from your mailing list.