Creating the ultimate excuse

We want to skip class because we want to skip class. So lie, dammit!

Mat Koehler

Every college student has to miss a class at one time or another. My “one time or another” tends to happen every week, but it’s the same principle. Besides, it’s not like I skip because I sleep late or hate school – I just find myself cutting one class in order to catch up in another. This process has allowed me to dilly-dally my way to a near-perfect grade point average.

We have a three-point scale, right?

Well, anyway, you can’t get away with skipping half your classes unless you have some top-notch excuses. A simple “I forgot” will not work (unless you’re a University football player). Teachers want to think absent students have some extreme circumstances preventing them from learning. Knowing this, one should follow the three rules of excuse composition: Be daring, be graphic and never incorporate the truth.

A believable explanation has to be original and use gratuitous detail. It may not even need to make sense as long as it sounds sincere. An excuse should also capture the professor’s attention and emotions in the first sentence. You might begin: “I accidentally hit a family of golden retrievers on the way to class, puppies and all, so I thought I should do the right thing and put them out of their misery. As you can imagine, this takes quite a while without any weapons, so blah blah blah, yada yada yada, sorry for missing class, it won’t happen again.”

It’s as simple as that. You bring them in with a unique premise, capture their emotions and then work your way toward a rationalization they can’t deny.

There are only two exceptions to the previous concepts of originality and thoroughness, and they both fall into the “too much information” (TMI) factor. When creating an excuse on short notice, for instance, my fail-safe always has been a vague reference to some gastrointestinal problem. It may not be inventive, but teachers can’t argue with it, nor would they want to, considering the thought of you having diarrhea is already “TMI”

Another free pass exists only for females, whose “It’s my time of the month” and “My flow is out of control!” justifications stand as the most uncontested (and unwanted) excuses professors hear. Remember, though, this “TMI” category is effective only when used sparingly. I once overdid it, and it wasn’t pretty. Let’s just say I panicked and tried to use a menstruation-themed alibi after exhausting a “food poisoning” defense.

There’s a look I’ll never forget. Sorry professor Morales.

But as risky as all this sounds, class cutters must never give in and submit truthful reasons for nonattendance. They might seem viable, but we’re dealing with an art form here – one in which honesty would only taint the overall craft of chicanery and evasion. We want to skip class because we want to skip class, and there’s no way to spin that fact on teachers without serious consequences.

Hmm Ö now that I think of it, writing this column might have some serious consequences for me. I should really go to class and clear that up with my professors.

Ah, screw it – too cold outside.

Mat Koehler welcomes comments at [email protected]