Sunday, June 22, 2008


Some of you may be under the false impression that pastor's wives are cut from a different mold. You might think we belong to a special Pastor's Wives Club and that we humbly hang our halos in our closets so as not to make you less holy folk feel exceedingly sinful. Let me assure you absolutely none of these notions are true. Perhaps the following story will help clear up any misconceptions you might have.

There was a time in college when my roommate (although at that point she was just my hallmate) and I cancelled Chemistry class. It was the second semester of my freshman year. We had this old professor--or at least, to an 18 year old he seemed old--who we'll call Val Christensen. It is his name, after all, so it seems fitting. Even eight years later the only reason I'm actually writing his name down is because the man is ancient. I highly doubt he sits around googling himself on the off chance that one of the students who cancelled class back in 2000 might come clean on her blog.

Michelle and I hated chemistry. It was honestly the definition of horrible. It was held in Boney Lecture Hall. Boney was old and cold and settled in its ways, to say the least. Val was already retired but got his thrills out of teaching an occasional chem course. I can't remember exactly but I think we had chemistry for about three hours in the afternoons on Tuesday and Thursday. If you've ever lived on a teeny tiny peninsula in California you know that in the spring the sun breaks through the fog in the afternoons and for a few hours the weather is absolutely perfect. We were stuck inside Boney--with no windows--for three hours. We could have been working on our tans or laying in the grass feeling the collegiate breeze tickling our flip flop clad toes. Actually, the particular day in question was cold and stormy but that's beside the point.

At lunch we discussed that if we had to go to that three hour long class we might just die right then and there from boredom of an extreme degree. We considered ditching for the day. But at that point I'd never ditched a class. I think I can probably count on two hands the number of times I missed class in those four years and at least one of those hands is full of illness. After we decided against ditching we thought it might be funny to see if we could cancel class. We never dreamed that it would actually work.

We realized that all professors did when they cancelled class was put a sign up on the door. There was no official school seal on the sign. No one guarded it to assure the students that it was, in fact, cancelled. A single white sheet of paper hung on the door. And that was it. We could do that. Oh we could so do that! We were a little afraid of getting caught red handed by forensic evidence so we went to the library. That way our printers couldn't somehow be traced. We held the computer paper between our elbows. That way out fingerprints wouldn't be all over Exhibit A should we be hauled into court. We printed two--one for each door. There were no classes before ours in that particular lecture hall so we headed over a couple hours before our class was slated to start. We made sure the coast was clear. We tacked the signs up with scotch tape and high tailed it outta there.

If you've ever been to Point Loma Nazarene University than you know that the winds can really blow on top of that hill--did I mention it was a Christian institution for higher learning? While we were gone the winds blew and blew and blew one of our signs right off the door. We went to class at the normal time.

Of course we went to class! We had to make it look like it wasn't us. We were just a couple of freshman showing up for class. And we showed up to a great deal of confusion. Those who had entered on the signless side of the lecture hall were wondering where their sign was. Those who had entered on the sign side were swearing that class was cancelled. Most left, conviced that old Val was home in bed or out of the state or something. Some stayed. We stayed. Well we had to see how it all played out!

And then Val was late. Oh yes, he was. It could not have gone better for us. So with class about 30% full, his secretary waltzed in declaring that he'd be about ten more minutes. You should have seen the confusion on the faces of the students. "But, the sign said class is cancelled. Most of the class left." The secretary was a tad skeptical until one of the students produced the evidence. She looked at it, furrowed her brow, laughed a little, and then said, "Well, we'll keep this for evidence. He's coming. I guess he'll have to decide what to do." I have to admit, the hairs on the back of my neck stood a little on end with that bit about the evidence.

Val shuffled into class and looked slightly stunned by the small numbers. Immediately he was hit by several students shouting things about class being cancelled. "Oh dear," said he, "well it isn't cancelled. I'm right here. Did the others leave?" When it was confirmed that, yes, when a sign is hanging on the door it's a good indicator that class is cancelled, Val instructed the rest of us to take the afternoon off. Trying to hide our wide eyes and our pride, Michelle and I left. We walked back to our dorm and straight into one of our rooms. We closed the door. And then we laughed and high fived and laughed more and had the best chem-free afternoon.

To my knowledge, there was never an investigation. If there was, we were never indicted or even suspected. I never cancelled class--chemistry or otherwise--again. I can't say for sure if Michelle did or not but she never bragged that she did and I think there would have been bragging. I've since done the math and realized that each chemistry class session was costing my parents and/or myself about 40 dollars. But that was freshman year and I had a decent number of scholarships. Even so, we'll just say that that particular class session got wrapped up into my student loans, which I will be paying until I am approximately 41 years old. When you look at it that way, it was the best 40 dollars I ever spent.

And if you think our fun with Val ended there, you'd be wrong. I am so getting kicked out of the pastor's wives club.


  1. Did someone actually tell you that they thought you had a halo? Cuz, if they did, just give them my number. I'll be happy to clear up any confusion.

  2. Haha, I love that story. And I can't wait for the next one about old Val...something about an overhead projector. Yes, your brother remembers the stories you tell him about college.

  3. Notice: Your membership in the Pastor's Wives Club has been immediately suspended. We will be sending someone over to collect your halo while we conduct a thorough investigation into this matter.

  4. today the pastor's wife of my church preached and did a great job and i thought, "lori could totally do this".

  5. Jeeze, there I was thinking "This girl got to go to PLN, each year of which costs more money than most third world people make in a life time and she is bragging about cancelling a class??"

    And then there it was...the grown up woman who realizes how much each class costs, and I was totally mollified. Lucky you for getting a scholarship!

    In grad school I figured out how much each class session cost me, and I realized I wouldn't consider paying that much for the best seat at a concert. I then told my profs my thoughts, concluding with the statement that I expected to get my money worth, so the lecture had better be darn good!

  6. Oh man... that wasn't CLASS you were cancelling that was sheer torture by the elderly - a cunning trick PLNU was trying out for the military. If it's the same lovely old man (and he was a really nice old guy) I had for Chem (and I think it is with my fuzzy brain) it was sooooooooooooooooooooo sooooooooooo painful to sit through. I took it my final semester my senior year, after the man had retired TWICE - I'm not sure they were even paying him anymore. Oye. Bad! I negotiated a D* in the class just so I could graduate. Not kidding.

    * I did try, I swear! I had a daily tutor (Tony Roney) and it didn't matter!

  7. You should write a book. I will be your promoter type person.