the satire strikes back

Kiddo#2 said, “Remember the note you wrote last year, telling the teacher I had to go fight a turkey?”

We were at dinner. I paused, fork in midair, and said, “What?”

She laughed. “I don’t remember exactly what you wrote, but you said something about me having to go save Grandma and I had to do something to a turkey.”

I looked at my Patient Husband, who was giving me that tolerant “You should know better” look. This only intensified when Kiddo#2 added, “She hung it up on the wall for the rest of the year.”

That’s how it goes in this family. You need to write a note to the teacher excusing your daughter from school a day early so you can travel to eat turkey. Only that’s boring, so instead you think of a slightly more roundabout way to say the same thing.

I used to do that all the time on those dismissal books. I have to sign in and out of the school. I have to give a reason I’m there, a reason the kids are leaving early. So when my mother came to visit, I pulled Kiddo#1 from his second grade class that day and as the reason I wrote “Important meeting with the Italian Heritage Commission.” Medical visit? “Witch doctor.” Your name and whom you will be visiting? Duke Ellington, visiting Ella Fitzgerald.

And you know what? I’ve never been questioned. Not even once.

In this case, I’d written the Thanksgiving note and forgotten it, just another random act of satire, except Kiddo#2’s teacher must have loved it. Either that or she wanted to post a warning to others, and Kiddo#2 had never mentioned it.

As best as I can recall, the note went like this:

Dear Mrs. *****:

Please excuse Kiddo#2 from class on Wednesday, as her presence is urgently required on a matter of grave importance. Numerous family members are being held captive by a twenty-five pound turkey at an undisclosed location approximately five hundred miles away, and there they will have to remain until Kiddo#2 subdues the turkey. Thank you for your understanding.


All in a day’s work if life is a satire. For normal people, I guess it’s a bit odd. Go figure.


  1. Ken Rolph

    Personally I think it’s okay to do stuff like that. I have a set of answers to the question, “What do you do?” Our family runs on messages like that. But in social dealings there is a lot of ritual exchange. Many people seem to become discombobulated when they don’t get an expected banal contribution. You should appreciate the fact that you were appreciated.

    1. philangelus

      Maybe that’s what’s going on — I’m messing up the steps of the social dance we all engage in, and it’s funny to someone who expects things to be done ritually.

  2. lexcade

    that’s hilarious! i wish my mom had done stuff like that… but i guess i’ll be able to do that for my kiddos when i have them 🙂

    happy thanksgiving!!!

    1. philangelus

      You don’t think it’s going to wound them for life? That’s good to know.

  3. pamcee

    That’s awesome! I wish I were creative enough to think of doing that a long time ago. Its too late to do that now (kids are 14 and 10).

    1. philangelus

      There’s still time. I still have to send notes to the middle school for Kiddo#1, and I’m sure the high school will demand the same. 🙂

  4. lbdiamond

    Ha! Love this! Happy Thanksgiving! 😀

  5. cricketB

    Yes! Much better than trying to write a regular note in my neatest handwriting (Yes, I even typed a letter once), three drafts and triple-guessing all spelling and punctuation.

  6. Lydia Kang

    Excellent note. I bet the teacher was just tickled, after all the plain ones she gets all the time!