Hey kids! It's that special time of year again when you (a) go BACK to school and (b) start looking for ways to get OUT of school.
For review purposes, the following are the acceptable ways to get out of school:
OFFICIAL SCHOOL HOLIDAYS: These include Thanksgiving, Christmas and Professional Development Days (like my friend Karen always says, "It's time to get out the Professional Development Day Decorations again!").
When I was growing up in Utah County, we also got out of school in October for a regional holiday known as "The Deer Hunt," which the local citizens celebrated by wearing orange hats and searching for deer that had wandered off so that they could be returned to their rightful owners.
ILLNESS: Naturally, if you're sick you shouldn't go to school. Ew! Ick! Unlike that snotty note your teacher just intercepted from you and your neighbor, some things (like your germs) should NOT be shared with the rest of the class.
On the other hand, you shouldn't want to be sick just so you can skip a day or two. I myself missed a full entire year of elementary school due to illness and, seriously, after the first six months or so, staying home all day wasn't that much fun.
FAMILY EMERGENCIES: Naturally, the definition of "emergency" differs from family to family. At our house, we have an ongoing "Sock Emergency." Sock Emergencies occur when you have procrastinated getting dressed (possibly because you did NOT get up when your mother told you to) and your ride's out front waiting and you realize you can't put on your shoes BECAUSE YIKES! YOU HAVE NO SOCKS! EVEN THOUGH YOU AND YOUR MOTHER BOUGHT BIG BAGFULS ON SALE AT FRED MEYER'S LAST WEEK! DUDE! WHERE HAVE ALL THE SOCKS GONE? (Answer: "Long time passing.")
Technically speaking, Sock Emergencies don't make you miss school. But they can make you tardy. And if you acquire enough tardies, your teacher will give you a "U" for unsatisfactory citizenship. And if you get enough "U's" you will have to spend a year in the Peace Corps working them off before you can graduate from West High School.
Trust me. I know this from direct personal experience.
OK. Now for the unacceptable way to miss school, i.e., SLUFFING.
I've been thinking about the topic of "sluffing" this week because of the following old memo I found while cleaning out closets. It was written by one of our now highly responsible adult sons when he was in the seventh grade.
WHO: Michael,* Tim,* me* (author's note: the names have been changed to protect the guilty)
DAY OF SLUFF: Oct. 8
MEETING PLACE: Anywhere far from people we know and who know us.
WHAT WE DO: For the first hour or so just keep it cool. Stay away from danger houses. To unknown faces say we're from out of town if they ask what we are doing. After that, come back to my house by going around through the back entrance of the alley, hop over the fence if the coast is clear, go down through the bottom entrance of my house, go up to my room and play Playstation for a half an hour or 45 minutes; plan what we're going to do. AND THEN THE SKY IS THE LIMIT.
OK, may I say that while I don't condone sluffing, I found lots to admire in this plan. For one thing, I admire the fact that our son actually HAD a plan when he was in the seventh grade — one with specific details, even. Who knew? I also like the fact that our son dared to think big as in "the sky is the limit!"
Here's the problem with sluffing, however. Are you listening to me, kids? In addition to missing out on important lessons, your parents always, always, always catch you.
Even if it's 10 years later . . .