When I was 12, my parents moved me from a tiny Catholic School where I had been with the same 15 or so kids since Kindergarten, to a sprawling, prison-like public school with 1000 or so feral seventh and eight graders.
I was "an early shaver" which is the male equivalent of being the first girl in your class to wear a bra. It was mortifying, and the fact that I was about 5'8 and 120 lbs didn't help much either. Plus I didn't own Jams, Raising Hell, or Licence to Ill. The only skateboard I owned was a Nash, which is roughly equivalent to walking around with a sticker saying "DORK" on it. Also, I still still played D&D.
Perhaps worst of all, I had a lisp. This my parents couldn't have predicted when they gave me two "s"es in my first name to go with the two in my last. Not thurpithingly, I thuffered through every thententh.
Anyway, as the year went on and I was terrorized on a daily basis by shorter, Jams-wearing, popular kids who I knew from my soccer team but were quite comfortable picking on me when girls and other Jams-wearing popular kids were around, my grades, self-esteem, and boyish joie de vivre went right down the crapper.
I coped by not going to school. I cut classes when I could, usually gym class, and, with the small company of troll-like misfits I ran with, became quite good at shoplifting candy from the People's Drug Store up the street.
I also began to call in sick a lot. Probably once a week, faking headaches, stomach aches-- whatever I needed to do to convince Mom that I was not well and I did not need to go to school. It was on one of these sick days that I watched the Space Shuttle Explode.
The point of this is that when things are not going well, one of the ways people deal with life is by putting it off another day. This was my first thought when I heard that President Bush had called in sick at the G8 this morning.
Then I read this and saw these pictures and began to reconsider.