My friend Dr. Tom Brommage, a philosophy professor, was recently waxing philosophical as philsophy professors are wont to do. He writes:
“Tommorrow is the first day of class, and I’ve officially recieved my first ‘dead grandma’ email of the new semester.”
Of course, everyone who has ever taught a University course is familiar with the ubiquitous deaths of grandparents. It’s a sad thing when it really happens. It’s even sadder when it happens so consistently to the same people. One can only think of Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. To paraphrase, “To lose one grandparent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”
Better than the “dead grandmother” emails that keep cropping up in the in-boxes of professors are the truly innovative excuses. My most shocking was a student who felt the need to email me to inform me that she was missing the first day of class because it was the anniversary of her miscarriage. Certainly I was sympathetic – as I am when people lose grandparents – but I’d rather they just skip class and not tell me why.
The ultimate explanation for missing, I will leave to your own judgment. I will reprint the email I received below excluding the name. Personally, I consider it a work of art and as such, I’m not sure it will fall under the category of ethical evaluation. The last sentence is my favorite.
This is xxxx and yeah, I’m still enrolled. I’m sorry about missing class. I’ve had my wisdom teeth taken out and last Friday I had some of my stitches come out so I had to go back in in the morning to have them redone. Monday I wasn’t there because I overslept, so that’s my fault. They gave me this crazy drug called Vicodin, maybe you’ve heard of it. 😛 Anyway, point is, I’ve got some doctor’s notes for you and I’m sorry for missing class. I’ll be there on Wednesday for the quiz, unless you say otherwise, but I figure even though I missed a lot it’s best just to get in there and do it anyway. No time like the present, eh? I feel bad, not only because I want to take this class and PASS it, but the last time I had the class I missed it a lot too. There’s always something with me, just so you know. I get anxiety really bad from time to time and sometimes I find it hard to leave my room, but thus far this semester it’s just been about the teeth. It’s not just your class, believe me. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I’m sorry, if it means anything. I hope to be there for the REST of the semester, god willing I can get myself out of bed. Hope you’ve been well!