May we be excused?

By Jing Villamil

FROM the day a teacher-friend received this particular excuse letter, to these days of her retirement, it was so very difficult, it has since been almost impossible for her to gather all her marbles together again. She still is knitting her brows over whether to laugh, or to cry, or to consult a mind-doctor just to make clear to her why a parent had written: “Please excuse my child. She can’t. Thank you.” Thereby leaving her hanging so “bitin” forever. And this was just the bottom of the heap of excuse letters she received every school year. For during the while there were regular classes, there were irregular regular absences. And excuses to be excused.

For the truth is: to these poor bodies of overworked teachers, their true challenge lies in deciphering what the parent actually meant between the lines of lovingly-written excuse notes. Because, if they fail to separate the truth from fiction and the lost in transition, there will be less growing, lesser glowing, least go go go to look forward. Only yesterdays and today spent diving to the bottom of truly murky piles of excuse letters. Balong napakalalim at napakalabo, ‘ika nga.

Take this medical sample: “Please excuse my son’s absence from class today. Yesterday, the dentist took his wisdom away.” How did the dentist manage to do that, aber?

This one is very revealing: “Please excuse my daughter; she is in bed with high fever. Her brother is in bed, too, with his girlfriend probably with fever as high. Actually last night, my husband and I were the hottest ever.” That house must be so warm it’s sizzling!

This excuse letter puzzled the wings off the absentee’s guardian angel: “Please, excuse Harry from his class today. His doctor had him shot, and he is swollen from the entrance.” This, too, must have startled the horns off unicorns: “Please excuse my bulirek for a week. Yesterday, there was a free tuli medical mission. They cut off his head.” Can he still attend classes without his head?

What about the improprieties of this one?: “Please excuse Lori. She had a nervous stomach and the doctor looked at her the whole night.”

What do you think of this?: “Please excuse Jas from her P.E. class. She had a great fall. She dislocated a hip, and up to now, it is not located yet.”

But this surely scared the teacher out of her wits: “Please pardon my panganay’s absence. Our mango seedlings had arrived. He will be back to school as soon as he is buried.”

And pardon me: “Please excuse my Dodoy. His vowel movement is many times wrong. I will send him to school as soon as all his vowels are okay.” What about his consonants?

At least, this parent tried her best: “Please excuse my child. She has his monthly, and he is homoraging, hemmoraging, hemhoraging. . . nagdudugo po.” There were a daughter and a son hemorrhaging, ehe, nagdudugo?

(WRITER’ NOTE: This is a revised version of Please Excuse the Excuse written/published in 2011).

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