Absentee Notice by Phil Callaway

May 3, 2017


Some of my sweetest childhood memories involve standing at my bedroom window watching other children file by on their way to school, making faces at them, knowing that I would be staying home all day. Of course, you had to have a good excuse back then. You couldn’t skip school with the sniffles. Whooping cough was acceptable, pneumonia worked, a broken femur could do it.


That’s why I lived dangerously. I climbed tall trees with thin branches, I ate mud, I chewed gum I personally peeled off the sidewalk, anything to get a day away from school. If nothing worked, I could forge an absentee note. Unfortunately, my teacher caught on when I handed her a note that was signed, “Philip’s Mom.”


Another smart child tried to get out of school with this note: “There will be no school this week so Colin can stay home and play video games. From Mrs. Teague.” I don’t think it worked.


Peter forged a note from his mother to his teacher, requesting a four-day break from school. The reason given for his absence? “Peter had a heart attack.” He was 10.


Here are some hilarious absentee notes received by surprised teachers.


  • My son is under a doctor’s care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.
  • Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.
  • Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father’s fault.
  • Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch and when we found it Monday we thought it was Sunday.
  • Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.
  • Scott didn’t practice last night because he lost his tooth in the mouthpiece of his trumpet.
  • Please excuse my son. He will be out next week slaughtering goats for his manhood ritual. Thank you!


Each Easter we celebrate the greatest absentee notice ever delivered. The messenger was an angel, seated atop a stone that had been rolled away from Jesus’ empty tomb. “He is not here,” said the angel, “He has risen, just as He said! Come, see the place where He lay.” In that place, there was a pile of grave clothes. But nobody. Jesus was alive. His absence from the tomb changed everything. May we never forget. Because of that empty tomb we have hope today. Because Jesus was absent from the tomb, someday we will be too. No absentee note needed. Let’s celebrate.

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