Thursday, March 19, 2009

Led Astray By The Nose

My best guy friend the first half of high school was a guy who lived down the street from me. We walked to school (uphill both ways!) together in the mornings, were in homeroom together, and since we attended a small high school were in a lot of classes together. We wrote each other notes instead of taking notes during class. He was the first boy I made out with, and the first boy I was jealous over. We laughed a lot together - he was very silly, translating "viejo" (which actually means "old") with the name of our Spanish teacher during a vocabulary test. In Biology we learned about a one-celled organism whose English name is "Nasty Nose." Since my friend and I spent a lot of time making up goofy names for each other, I dubbed him Didinium Nasutum.

At the school we attended, homeroom was a 17-minute period between first and second periods. This meant that absence calls from the office were made at 850. Didinium convinced me to cut class with him one spring day. He'd done it before; of course it had never occurred to me to not go to school. We planned that since his mom was home during the day, I would meet him on the corner like usual and then we would walk back to my house and hang out and watch TV, maybe go to the park.

The plan fell apart when I lost my nerve. I did meet him at the corner, and we did go back to my house in time to pick up the phone when the attendance office called. Didinium called himself in as sick, and when the phone rang I answered and told the lady yes, I was my mother, and that I was home with a 24 hour bug. I always had considered myself a good liar, but I knew that she didn't believe me. If nothing else, I didn't sound nearly as much like my mother as Didinium sounded like his dad.

I absolutely lost my nerve. Remember, I grew up in a neighborhood where education was such a high value that there was no question about whether each of us would attend college; the question was whether the college would be Berkeley. I knew the next call would be to my mom at the office, and I would be so busted I couldn't imagine what would happen. My bro No was the rebellious one (and even he attended school every single day). I told Didinium I couldn't go through with it, I had to go to school. I guess I decided that watching Hogan's Heroes and The Monkees wasn't worth getting grounded forever. I don't remember if I called the school back and said I was coming in after all, but I arrived at the beginning of the next class.

I didn't cut a class again until I was in my fourth semester of college when Phil and Jujubi talked me into going to the Antique Sandwich Shop for a late lunch, also on a spring day, instead of my Japanese history class.

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