Sunday, November 16, 2008

Memoirs of a Truant

I had a little problem with truancy growing up. There were key reasons for this:
  • School started hella early.
  • I had largely figured out how to successfully stay under the radar and not go to school, or not go to school until after lunch period, at least three days a week. So showing up at 0-dark-hundred hours for the other two days really cut into my busy schedule, as well as disrupted my biorhythms.
  • I had fifteen periods of graphic art shop a week my senior year and it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep myself entertained.
In case you haven't figured this out by now, we lived in bumfuck. The same percentage of my graduating class went to college as went to jail. There were no AP classes, no fun electives, no clubs (except 4H) and the principal would at one point be hospitalized for mental instability.

Avoiding school attendance is actually easier than you might imagine. Mostly, the trick is in the planning. You have to put on your Dr. Evil cap early... as in the year before. You must get yourself scheduled for study halls, gym class and/or gifted and talented periods in the morning. As many as possible and back-to-back. Because here's the thing:
  • If, during the first week of school, you do not show up for homeroom and study halls, the teacher simply assumes that a roster error has occurred and you are really supposed to be somewhere else. They will strike your name from the roll-call roster. In my personal and rather vast experience pulling this stunt, they will never double check that you are, in fact, somewhere else. Or, shall I say, somewhere else besides your bed.
  • If you do not show up for gym class, the teacher will also assume you were not scheduled to be in that gym class and strike you from the roster. Since every student is scheduled for at least one gym class, she will assume you are in another gym class. When it comes time to grade report cards, the teacher will not double check against class rosters to ascertain that you are actually in a gym class. She will just give you a "B." She will assume that if she doesn't remember you, you weren't particularly good and you weren't particulary bad.
  • Not showing up for gifted and talented requires a little, but not much, additional foresight. All you have to do is dredge up some serious passion for a discipline requiring "field work." Biology is generally a safe bet. You tell the teacher you will be outside by the edge of the school yard collecting airborne particles, for example.
Not being scheduled for a lunch period is the mark of an elite truant. Very few can manage the extreme corruption required to stack up 3 or 4 classes in a row where everyone thinks you are legitimately somewhere else. Plus you have to get yourself in one of the earlier lunch periods. It took me almost 3 years to manage this feat more than one or two days a week. Which is when I became a level 18 Defiantly-Not-A-Morning-Person.
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