My daughter Grace hates mornings. She is so grouchy when she wakes up I treat her like I would a grizzly bear. I don’t make eye contact with her and if perchance she does look at me I keep my head down and slowly back away from her. Due to her raging dislike of disembarking from her down comforter wonderland she, on occasion, attempts to fake sick to forestall having to face the cold, cruel reality of being at school at 7:30. This is where she fails, miserably and quite frankly, shames me, not by faking sick mind you, but by being so bad at it. If you’re going to fake sick you should at least put some effort into it not present your mother with some half ass, “My throat hurts.” I want to see some theatrics that include a hacking cough or a long drawn out groan and a well thought out scenario up to and including a checklist of symptoms from WebMD. What’s wrong with kids these days? Have they never watched Ferris Bueller?
Last week I had to call my daughter out on her deplorable production of faking sick. It was time for me to educate her in the proper way to get out of school. For this I needed to go to the master – my mother. As I was driving my daughter to school I got my mom on the phone. It was 7:10 in the morning which in septuagenarian time means it’s about two hours till lunch and I’m sure she was already making egg salad with just a hint of curry. I put my mom on speaker phone so she could bear witness to my greatness of getting out of school back in the day. After listening to my mother complain about being on “speaker” I quickly went over her granddaughter’s weak attempts at faking sick. My mother was aghast.
“Really, she just does a ‘I don’t feel well’? That’s it. She’s got nothing else?”
“Yep, it’s that or my head or throat hurts. No groans, no tears, no nothing. One time she texted me from her bed that she didn’t feel well. A text! Can you believe that? Like that’s going to work.”
“Well, I’m surprised. I always thought of Grace as a hard worker. You’re right to make her go to school. She must not want to stay home very badly if that’s all she got.”
I look over at my daughter and say, “Told ya.”
My daughter leans over and into my phone says, “Grandma, what was so great about my mom?”
“Good Lord, your mother was an artist when it came to getting out of school. Her work with a thermometer was very impressive.”
I smile and say, “Well, the old heating up the thermometer wasn’t that great and you can’t blame kids nowadays for not doing the it. The ear thermometer was a game changer. It’s much harder to pull off.”
“Well, what about the blow dryer? Kids still have blow dryers right?”
“The blow dryer is a classic.”
This perks up my “I hate mornings” daughter, “What about the blow dyer?” she asks.
“I’ve got this one,” I say to my mom. “You take a blow dryer and set it on high and blast your face till it feels like it’s about to spontaneously combust then ran as fast as you can into your parents bedroom and ask your mom if you have a fever because you feel like your on fire? It works on two levels. One, the whole hot face is very alarming and two you catch your mom out of a deep sleep which means she’s more apt to agree to whatever you want.”
“Oh, but you forgot the part about the hot washcloth.” My mom eagerly adds. “That’s what seals the deal.”
“This,” I say looking at my daughter, “is when the much-needed style points come into play. After you’ve set your face on fire with the blow dryer take a very hot washcloth and run it over your face and arms that way when I woke up your grandma I was the delightful twofer of hot and clammy.”
My mom laughs, “I always fell for that one and you were so good at tying your illness into whatever happened to be going around.”
“And,” I added, “all this was pre-internet. I had to do research, sometimes even going to the library to find out what flu or stomach ailment was coming our way.”
My mom sighs and says, “You were always such a clever girl. I really admire you for that.”
By this time we are almost at school. I tell my mother goodbye and focus on running the morning school drop off gauntlet. My daughter groans, grabs her stomach and says the stomach flu is going around and she feels like she might hurl, right now, in my car.
I smile and say, “Better, but not going to happen. Maybe if you had gagged a little. You’ve really got to work on selling it.”
She gave me the eye roll and got out of the car. I wished her a most healthy day that earned me another eye roll and a hair swish. I smile as I drive away from the school thinking of my greatest faking sick moments. Good times, my friends, good times.
**********For all thinks wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find T-shirts, ecards for Facebook and my brand new book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. Here’s a little ditty about it:
The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.
If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.
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