Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It's Hard To Get In Trouble At School If You're Never There

by Robison Wells

We might as well make it a theme week.

I must admit that I have never once been in detention. I rarely acted up in high school because I was never there to act up. School was for losers and communists and, starting my sophomore year, I skipped a LOT of class.

It all started very innocently. In ninth grade, I didn't want to go to gym class. A year earlier, I'd broken my back in an unfortunate horse-related accident, and gym hadn't been pleasant since. Sure, my vertebrae was healed, but I was still a skinny little weakling who had missed out on Basketball 101: How To Dribble.

My high school, West High, is two blocks away from Temple Square, so I--a nerdy Mormon boy--sluffed gym class and went on a tour of the visitor's center. I was quite the social deviant.

As luck would have it, Parent-Teacher Conferences were that very same night, and my gym teacher asked my mom "Where was Rob today?" and thus ended Volume One of Rob Never Goes To Class.

Volume Two opened sometime toward the end of my sophomore year, and was related to the fact that my brother (one year older) and I had started hanging out with a group of girls. And so, if you can imagine the horror, we'd go over to one of the girl's houses and hang out with her mom.

DISCLAIMER: at this point in my high school career, I was sluffing a couple times a week and getting really bad grades. This was not a good idea. YOUTH OF AMERICA: THIS IS NOT THE EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW.

However, youth of America, you ought to follow the example of Volume Three, wherein I almost stopped going to school altogether, and got much better grades--it was the best of both worlds!

Man, something snapped in my little head, and I realized two things: (1) if you turn in your homework, you'll get decent grades; and (2) going to class is for lame-a-zoids and dweebs.

I remember very vividly learning about President Hunter's death. It was about 9:30am on a weekday. We were at Village Inn eating pancakes. That kind of thing was pretty normal for 9:30 on a weekday.

It only went downhill from there. My senior year, I convinced one of my teachers that I was taking her math class as Independent Study for one quarter, and then every morning I hung out with my friend in his art class.

As a senior, I was Mr. Extracurricular (side note: Mr. Extracurricular would be a lame superhero) and I had all sorts of good excuses to never be in class. I was a Student Body Officer, a member of two choirs, and on the TV crew. Any one of those things offered myriad excuses for skipping class, and I made good use of it. The school administrators would conduct Hall Sweeps--they'd lock the doors so you couldn't get away and then walk through the school, herding truants and sluffers into a corner--and I'd just go trottin' on through the halls, tipping my hat to the principal and going my merry way. ("Never mind Rob," they'd tell each other. "He's surely on some matter of important business.") It was really fantastic.

I distinctly remember sitting in the Seminary Building one day, and being struck with the thought "Shouldn't I be somewhere? Oh yeah! I haven't been to World History in three weeks!" (Okay... so I didn't get a good grade in that class.)

I tried various other work-avoidance tactics. I secured a place on the school paper, and in the space of three quarters, I didn't write a single article. I can't even remember being assigned to do anything.

Now, the harsh reality: Volume Four. I got into college, and I was taking a required math course. I already knew the stuff, though. (Remember the math class I was supposedly taking Independent Study? It was IB Math Studies--IB is the step above AP--and I got a perfect score on the test. I may be lazy, but I ain't no dummy.) Anyway, the college class was so far below my l33t math skillz that I didn't bother going; I had the syllabus, and I knew when the tests were, and that was all I needed. I'd show up on the designated day, take the test, and pass it easily.

And then I showed up for the final, and I settled into my desk eager to show off my mathematical prowess. And, to my shocked dismay, the professor started handing back the tests! I asked the kid sitting next to me what had happened, and he said "Oh, the class voted to changed the date of the test. We took it last time."

And there I was, with awesome grades on the small exams, and a zero on the final. It was the first and last class I ever failed in college. I had to retake it the next semester, and you can bet your sweet bippy that I attended every session, listen to announcements, and deeply regretted the $800 I'd wasted on a failed math class. What a maroon. There was no Volume Five.


At 5/22/2007 3:18 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Before my mom drops by and calls me on it, let me just say that, yes, I was in trouble a lot during school. But it was never--that I can remember, at least--for disciplinary problems. I just never did my homework until I was a junior.

At 5/22/2007 4:23 PM, Blogger Michele Holmes said...


You don't give me a lot of hope for my son who also does not believe in homework. And what is a maroon?

I managed to skip class during high school and still get the good grades.
It was a fairly simple process. I wrote/typed an excuse note stating that I'd had asthma all morning and should be excused from my first two periods (and the asthma part was true a lot of the time). My already-graduated boyfriend (now my husband) forged a signature on the note, and we went out to breakfast.
My first couple of classes were so lame, and I was learning so little when I was there, that I still don't feel too badly about my deceit.

Other than that, I was an angel at school. I was even the recipient of the faculty scholarship.

At 5/22/2007 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, I have nightmares that I haven't been to class all semester--and I graduated many moons and suns ago.

Michele--I think your education was not complete if you don't know what a maroon is. You obviously didn't watch enough TV. Probably spent your time reading books or something ;)

Here's a clip of one maroon example. (sorry you'll have to copy and paste--blogger2 hates me)

--Mean Aunt

At 5/22/2007 6:12 PM, Blogger Josi said...

You guys are such deviants. I don't know if I should hang out with you. I went to the principle's office in 4th grade for playing on the kindergarten's playground. Scared the chocolate milk out of me and I never did it again. I did sluff 6 months of seminary until my parents agreed I could quit (they got tired of the seminary teacher in our ward asking them about me every week) but unless you count the last week of school--and really, who counts that--I was always there. For me, it was the after-school hours that got me in trouble.

At 5/22/2007 6:17 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Don't believe a word of it, Rob. Josi was the girl your mom warned you about. Even now, I'm a little afraid to hang out with her in case she might lead me into the wrong places. Good thing you didn't hang with her anyway though. She would have kicked your butt. What do you think she was doing in the Kindergarden playground? terrorizing the poor little tots.

At 5/23/2007 1:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, you have inspired me to never go to class again! Who cares that I am a pathetic over-achiever who feels the need to take fifty zillion more classes than everyone else and take classes a zillion times harder, too? I think I'll drop out of high school and become a freakin' rich LDS writer. ;)

At 5/23/2007 7:01 AM, Blogger Mindi said...

Sadly, I was one of the do-gooders who even showed up on Senior Ditch Day. I was the only one in my Senior classes and my teachers sent me to go find something to do. I went to the Seminary Building and went to class.

At 5/23/2007 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear Rob. Once in eight grade I missed a so much my mom pulled me out for home schooling. Then I went back for ninth because that is the year it starts counting for college. I still missed forty five days that year. That is an entire semester. I still pulled off A's so my parents didn't worry. The truant officer hated me though and threatened my parents that we would get fined if I missed any more school. I still did and we never got fined.

Rob- you just needed to learn the secret of college. If you are going to stop attending class you need to find that good student who goes, even if they are throwing up, get their number or have them call you if the dates of anything changes. Usually these students are so desperate for some kind of non-academic stimulant, they are willing to help.

-Elizabeth (this blog doesn't like me to log in)

At 5/23/2007 10:56 AM, Blogger erin said...

Rob you are not allowed to share any of this information with our children until they have graduated from Highschool.

At 5/23/2007 11:46 AM, Anonymous Fellfrosch said...

What Rob forgot to mention is that his older brother sluffed almost as much, took harder classes, and got better grades. I can't imagine why he would have left that out.

At 5/23/2007 11:57 AM, Anonymous Jennie said...

I guess I went to tougher schools than Rob did. Three absences per semester were allowed, no questions asked. Four without a doctor's written pass (there were only two doctors in town so hard to fake)a one grade drop, five-down another grade point, six and we were in D territory no matter how well we did on tests and seven--we failed the class even if all homework and tests were passing. We had to find more creative ways to get in trouble than by merely cutting classes.

At 5/23/2007 12:04 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Jennie: at West they gave you two grades. You had a regular academics grade, and then you had a citizenship grade. Tardies and abscences (and discipline problems) were all part of citizenship. The worst citizenship grade was a U (for unacceptable), and if you got one then you had to go six hours of community service before you could graduate. I think I had something like 14 U's. Fortunately, I was on the Seminary Council, and the seminary principal figured I'd done enough volunteer work to cover it--he signed the citizenship forms for me, and I never had to work at the homeless shelter. Hooray!

Fellfrosch: I may have ignored those facts, but you neglected to mention that I was (and am) far more attractive than you. So, neither one of us is guiltless in the glaring omissions department.

Erin: will you marry me?

At 5/23/2007 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't learned that lesson yet. Last semester, my junior year of college, I didn't go to my history class for a month and a half. Turns out I missed turning in a paper. Then the final was changed for this class, just like what happened to you. I was allowed to take the final late for minus 30 percent on the test. When I got a C+ in the class I was excited.

At 5/23/2007 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know how you guys do it! If I don't go to class I always end up feeling guilty and upset with myself.

Oh, and Rob? Yeah, you already spilled your secrets to success to this high school student. So tell Erin the advice came too late. ;)

At 5/23/2007 3:53 PM, Blogger Josi said...

Lindzee--don't forget that even though Rob is OLD, he's going BACK to school and giving up a dish washer and air conditioner in the process. What goes around comes around...

At 5/23/2007 3:57 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

But soon I'll be RICH! Rich beyond the dreams of avarice!

At 5/23/2007 8:17 PM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

Rob, you are a bad influence.

I managed to get an A in two classes without attending either of them for more than 5 minutes a week. Ahh, high school and the power of having the teacher think you're working when you're hanging out.

Evil Marketing Man, however, never ever went to class and never did his homework. He won a national merit scholarship based on his PSAT scores and got 5s on 5 AP exams. About flunked out of high school though.


At 5/24/2007 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people have all the luck. :D Would that I could slack off and do so well! I'm not slacking and not doing so well. Perhaps the key is to do nothing?


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