Sunday, May 30, 2010


At my high school, when a child was absent from class, the teacher wrote their name on a form. Later the office runner would collect the form and take it to the office, where the necessary following up would happen.

The third formers were the lucky pool of students that the office runners were taken from. Most third formers would get one turn at being runner during that year, but a few were especially lucky and got to do it twice. I managed to avoid doing it ever. Probably because I wagged so much they couldn't pin me down and/or felt bad about removing me from even more classes.

The office runner had to carry the oversized mail bag out the gate and down the road to the post office twice during the day, which they could be seen doing from at least 3 classrooms. They had to deliver notices, notes, flowers, packages and anything else that popped up in the office for delivery to a student in class during the day. And they had to collect the Absentees forms. Twice.

This is how it would go. The runner would walk in to the classroom. The teacher would look at them, with a look that asked them why they were there. The runner would say "Absentees...?" at which point every other student in the class would yell "AB-SEN-TEEEEEEEEEES!", and always in a funny high pitched voice and with the same intonation. Sometimes the runner wouldn't be able to get through the word. And sometimes all they had to do was walk in the door.

My older sister was seventh form when I was third, and her year was especially ruthless. I was once walking between buildings when a friend of mine passed me by. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was on Absentees.
"Good luck."

I got around the corner, half a block away, and could still, from there, hear the senior class whooping, laughing and AB-SEN-TEEEEEEEEEES!-ing my friend. Poor guy.

So I'm sorry Nicole, and anyone else that noticed/cared for my virtual absence. Mariah, in real life, and the latest season of 24 has been keeping me busy. In lieu of a class full of rowdy teenagers I give you permission to "Absentees!" me to your hearts content, especially because I avoided ever being a victim to it as a 13 year old, and then it was banned shortly after my third form year.


  1. I'm sorry you were sucked into the vortex is that is 24. We watched the first season on DVD a few years ago, and even though we spent the whole time saying, "Wow, this is absurd," we just couldn't stop. Then we watched season two on DVD just as obsessively. But we were so annoyed by the utter ridiculousness of it, that when the series ended, we read synopses of the later seasons so we wouldn't be tempted to watch them.

  2. I love 24 - far-fetchedness 'n' all.

  3. We love 24, or rather, Jack Bauer. That character can do anything and we'll watch it (Almost. We almost barfed when he was kissing his most recent love interest). It's a hard one to turn off I'll tell you! Many an evening to the wee hours is spent "in real time".