Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Taking attendance has to be one of the biggest wastes of time in our lives. If you were to add up all of the time spent taking attendance in the world, you would find that it costs the world YEARS of time and a jar of nickels in money. Unacceptable. But even worse is the nomenclature.

In every group of attendees, there is invariably one person that will say "present!" instead of "here!" like everyone else in the group. This really messes me up, because, as I learned in childhood, the best response to the cry of "present!" is "WHERE?! It's not even my birthday!"

Everyone likes to play this little game called Not Here in class, whereby a person will show up and be physically present, but will go to great lengths to conceal the evidence of his/her presence in any way other than the roll sheet or attendance. For example, Susie will show up in class because it will reflect poorly on her grade, but then, when the time for active participation and hand-raising begins, Susie is a ghost. "Isn't she here?" "I thought I saw her come in." "Hmm, she's marked down as here. At least she's not marked down as present." There's a little bit of Susie in all of us, I suppose. Part of us that wants to be in class and the other part that wants to be outside in the hall saying, "Wow, I'm glad I'm not in class right now! What a drag! I'm going to the vending machine."