Opening Day 2000

My best efforts* to make it to Opening Day 2000 were foiled by the attendance office ladies at my high school. Five minutes into the school day, my then-girlfriend came rushing up to me at my locker to tell me that her slacker dad had somehow acquired a package of tickets — which were sold out — and that everyone in her clique was going. All we needed was a parental excuse to get out of school.

But my parents were in Europe at the time, and the school had been notified my grandmother was in charge as the emergency contact.

“OK, let’s think about this logically,” my best friend said. “How can we get you to that game?”

“Forge my grandmother’s signature!”

“Right,” she said. “But I have to write the note. I’ve perfected a Victorian old lady penmanship for just such occasions. How do you spell her name?”

I brought the note to the office — I, uh, I have to leave for a doctors appointment. The office lady glanced at the note and made a few quick keystrokes on her computer.

“This note’s a fake!” she declared. “John, you misspelled your grandmother’s name.”

*This constitutes my best effort.

Oh, goddamn it. Matlin? Madelyn? Matilyn? How am I supposed to know? The dean let me off with a warning, based on my previous clean record, my favor with the entire teaching staff and the pure stupidity of my failure.

It was a beautiful day and the Brewers beat the Marlins 4-3, but I was trapped in a classroom.

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