I love the Monday after Spring Break. The class is half-empty and the students that have shown up are in a good mood. I actually enjoy teaching on the day after break because it feels like a secret club – the group that stayed home, the non-travelers. We binged watched our favorite shows in our pajamas and ate bowl after bowl of ice cream. We may be pale, but we’re not losers. We’re Staycationers! We’ve shown up on the first day back simply because we never actually left.
That magic is broken as soon those adventurous, traveling types start filtering in during the next class. They’re all tanned and happy and ready to hit me with their best-ever excuse justifying why they missed the first day back to school.
This year I decided to out-excuse even the best of the bunch. The Friday before classes resumed, I had a rib removed — not from my porch chop dinner but from my own personal rib cage. It was extraordinarily painful, but medically necessary. I appeared for class on Monday, down one rib, for the sole purpose of winning the super-excuse Olympics. My only goal was to prove that I could show up for class even in the worst of situations.
Here’s some snippets from the post-Spring Break week.
“Your favorite grandma? I’m so sorry for your loss. I had a rib removed.”
“Your plane was delayed? Wow, that’s an inconvenience. I had a rib removed.”
“You had the flu? You must feel horrible. I had a rib removed.”
“You had sun poisoning? Ouch! I had a rib removed.”
“Your car broke down? I WALKED TEN MILES WITH A MISSING RIB TO GET HERE!.”
Okay – that last one is a bit of an exaggeration, but like the game, MadLibs, I’m offering the following challenge. Please fill in with your best excuse and we’ll see if you can beat me.
(Your Excuse Here) VS I had a rib removed.
I’m apologizing to two of my students who also used their spring break vacation time for an actual operation! We’re even.