Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to Ask For Lecture Notes

I was sure I wouldn't learn anything from my Nutrition 101 class. But I was dead wrong. These kids are masters at crafting excuses! In less than two weeks time they've taught me everything I ever needed to know about skipping class (and getting away with it!)

To help you learn from the best, I've collected three days of excuses and annotated them. My commentary is in italics.

* * *

"Hey, so i had to go to court today to fight a ticket, which i successfully did, however i missed class. If anyone could please be kind enough to send me the notes from today i'd be very thankful, and would be willing to return the favor, or fight any traffic tickets they get in the near future. (kidding, but seriously i could use the notes....)

Yours in annoyance,

Brilliant. This writer portrays himself as the victim of a cruel and unjust society, yet he still has a sense of humor. What's more? He triumphs over adversity.

"Hi everyone -
I have interviews today and Friday during class time and we all know how important those are. If someone could please send me note - or at least let me know if there is any particularly important info about the paper and whatever we covered that would be great. Thank you and sorry for the email."

Appeal to empathy: who in their right mind would blame someone for missing class to go to an interview? I mean in this god-awful economy? I think we ALL know how important those interviews are.

"I woke up sick today and didn't make it to class. Would somebody mind sending me the notes? I would really appreciate it and will return the favor anytime."

The traditional approach: sickness + the offer of reciprocation. The ethos in this case is tasteful and aloof. The success of this letter will be emulated.

"Hey yall, sorry to bother you, my computer froze and i lost the notes from today, would someone please send them?"

Appeal to technology. This is based on the common-sense that technology is constantly breaking down at the critical moment. Notice how the "Hey yall" is crafted in order to pull at our southern heart-strings. Very wise.

"I missed Monday's class and needed the notes as well. If you would do me the favor of sending them to me if you get them, I will return the favor whenever you need one. I appreciate it."

The previous writer set off a series of "piggy-back" notes. These notes piggy-back on the initial request, and function on the principle that someone who has received a favor will feel compelled to do the same for everyone else. This is actually not the case.

"Hey if someone sends them to you could you forward them to me? I had to miss too. I made it to campus but got really sick and had to go back home. Id really appreciate it and would send you mine if I had been there. If you need any in the future let me know. I think Im a pretty good note taker. Have a lovely day. Its beautiful out there!"

See previous. However, this protagonist has an innovation. She obviously wanted to go to class, because she dragged herself all the way to campus. Unfortunately, finding herself overwhelmed by her malady she finally succumbed and returned home. I can think of at least one way to reward such incredible determination. Also, note that the offer for reciprocation has now become a meme.

One criticism: the reference to the beautiful weather seems slightly at odds with the sickness motif, and should probably have been stricken.

* * *
Based upon my extensive research, I was able to craft what I considered to be a model excuse. I deployed it last Monday. However I was disappointed to discover that no one would purchase my currency.

"Hello everyone, I'm sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if anyone wouldn't mind sending me notes from Monday's class. I'd be glad to return the favor. Thank you! Ben Gustafsson"

I obviously have a lot more to learn.

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