Playing Hooky

hookynoteAs I’m sure many of us would agree, the idea of playing hooky during the school year was indeed an appealing one.  A day away from the shackles of academia could facilitate any number of more productive pursuits, like Legos, VHS marathons, and placing one’s cats underneath laundry baskets and pretending one was at the zoo.  While others toiled in Algebra or Meteorology, those same precious hours spent at home could be used to study more useful life lessons; namely, not-Algebra and not-Meteorology.  Playing hooky was that absolute escape from the drudgery of public education, and a time for peace, relaxation, and again, Legos.

However, there lurked always that one obstacle between freedom and us: a note of parental consent.  Without it, VCRs remained off, cookies sat uneaten in countless jars, and family pets went un-tormented, as the day was inevitably wasted preparing for “real life” and “finding a job” and “getting out of the basement because you’re 22 and have a college degree.”  My mother, luckily enough, was graced with enough kindness to always grant my or my sisters’ wishes to stay home from school, even without good reason.  The catch?  In her own words, “I’ll always let you skip school, but only if you let me give whatever reason I want in the note you give to your teacher.”  At the time I thought, of course, “No problem!”  This seemed like a classic “golden ticket” scenario, an all-purpose ace-in-the-hole when the prospect of learning seemed synonymous with death.  As the school year progressed, our frequent requests were unquestioningly granted, always accompanied by long, flowery script on pink and purple stationery to be sent away to the school we loathed so dearly.

Several months into this practice, I made the mistake one morning of reading the note given to me on my way to school, which said in my mother’s elegant hand:

Please excuse Tyler from school on 10/12/07.  He had a particularly violent bout of diarrhea, and was unable to leave the bathroom for extended periods of time.

Horrified, I returned home later that day and convened with my sisters, all of whom reported similar results:

Jade was unable to attend school last Friday due to her explosive flatulence, which was causing her a great deal of stress and embarrassment.

Emma could not be at school on Tuesday, as she was trying to get the smell of urine out of all of her clothing, unsuccessfully I might add.

Perhaps worst of all was the one I received one week later, after a completely legitimate case of the flu:

Tyler was unable to attend school last Thursday because he finally got his period, and we were all too busy celebrating his newfound womanhood.

Needless to say, my attendance for the remainder of my high school career was uncharacteristically stellar.

photo courtesy of photostock/