Telling Stories Out Of School

In honor of the the upcoming school year I’d like to share two stories from the archives about some of the creative ways we avoided school when I was a kid.

Story One – Early Dismissal

Sometimes during the school day the class would get a call from the office on the intercom asking that the teacher send one of the students to the office. Sometimes this happened when a parent was dropping off lunch, sometimes the kid was in trouble but sometimes if the kid was lucky the voice on the intercom would say “Please sent (Student’s name) to the office for early dismissal”.  For a kid this was like winning an Oscar, everyone watched and smiled as the kid went to the closet, got their coat and said goodbye for the day but everyone wished they had gotten the call instead.

The magic dismissal call came for me more than any other kid in school, mostly because my mother would get bored and need someone to go shopping or to lunch with or she had some other errand that could benefit from my participation. The early dismissal became a semi regular thing.  I’d never know when it would happen but once in a while the call would come and I’d get signed out; when we got to the car I’d be told where we were going. Usually it was for lunch or something fun although the first time she did it she told me we were going to live at her Aunt’s house and never going home again (admittedly that was less than fun) but besides that one time they were always something better than school.

The best one ever came when I was 10 years old and in fifth grade. The call came and I went downstairs to meet her, in the car I asked:

Me: “Where we going?”

Mom: “To the movies”

Me: “To see what?”

Mom: “A movie called Purple Rain”

Two hours of music, bad acting and the glorious scene at Lake Minnetonka.  On the way home she bought me the record.  That was the best day of school ever.

Story Two – Celebrity Days Off

When John Lennon was shot I was only six years old. I remember my mom crying, but I don’t remember being sad because I got to stay home from school. This started the bittersweet tradition of the “Celebrity Day Off”.

A few years later it happened again:

“Mom, John Belushi died, can we stay home from school?”
– “Yes”

Then the next year:

“Mom, Marvin Gaye got shot”
-“Did he die”
“Yeah”
– “No school tomorrow”
“Yay!”

In time this tradition faded away and eventually it disappeared completely*. When Rock Hudson died we took a half day but according to my much younger brother they didn’t miss a minute of school when Kurt Cobain, Tupac or Biggie died. The kids today may have a lot of advantages but they don’t have it all.

*I resurrected the old tradition on my own by taking a day off when Joe Strummer passed away.

Have a good year at school kids.

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8 Comments

Filed under General Tomfoolery

8 responses to “Telling Stories Out Of School

  1. Oh my god, the fuckpants. They are mine. Finally! Um, great post!

  2. I got called to the office once when I was in 8th grade. My dad was there to pick me up. Upon questioning why he was there he said “I’m taking you to the National Gallery of Art” (for the record, I grew up just outside of DC). Caught me completely by surprise and it was awesome.

    This continued throughout high school but with a slightly different twist. I’d be getting ready for school and he’d say “why are you going to school today, it’s beautiful out, you and Crystal (my best friend) should go do something fun. I’m going golfing.”

    I guess it helped that my dad was a PE teacher and ultimately thought personal days to be very effective in keeping ones sanity. Oddly enough, today I’m a work-a-holic and would never take the day off “just because.” Maybe I should reconsider his teachings…

  3. i got signed out of school a lot by my mother but it was always because she was tired of taking care of my sister or needed help with the house. i honestly liked school better. ha ha. what a nerdy kid.

  4. Me too, about the Joe Strummer thing.

  5. I got called to the office and told that I’d be having lunch at a neighbor’s house in third grade. It wasn’t until after school that I found out that SlackDad had been admitted to the hospital with a heart attack.

    Not so fun.

  6. The day Joe Strummer died, I quit my job, bought a 1963 T-Bird, rolled a dozen spliffs, and drove off into the sunset blasting side six of Sandinista.

    And I haven’t come back since.

  7. Disney frowned upon my request for a week of mourning when McLean Stevenson passed.

    Those f’ing bastards.

  8. Man, I need a celebrity day off. Who died today?

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