Gualtiero Boffi/iStock/Getty Images
The similarities between skipping class and breaking out of a maximum security prison full of murderers and rapists are shocking. Both have roughly the same degree of planning and on-the-spot improvisation. To be executed well, both need a certain degree of knowledge on how the building and its workers function day to day. Planning routes, establishing meeting points, learning security guard schedules, obtaining documents that excuse an absence, knowing the right people who can get you into safe havens -- it's Ocean's Eleven with acne and uncontrollable boners.
Warner Bros. Studios
And none of the handsomeness.
I didn't cut class much in high school, and when I did, I felt like an asshole, like I had crossed a line. That being said, my friends and I were goddamn great at it. I assume that's the same internal conflict a career criminal must feel during quiet, contemplative moments while wearing a Nixon mask in a van on the way to a bank robbery.
My friends and I used to wander around campus with fake orders from a frazzled, overworked teacher. She would routinely ask us to complete errands for her around school, so if we ever wanted a period or two off, we told people we were doing something for her. The much more convenient option was to simply walk out of her classroom through a door that led directly to the outside -- a door put there by a designer who couldn't imagine a reason kids wouldn't want to be in school. It's the stupidest door I've ever seen, and I've seen so many doors, man.
For some friends who went to another high school, the prison escape analogy I mentioned above was extremely fitting, as their school was designed more like something out of an episode of Prison Break than Degrassi Senior High. If they wanted to cut class, they had to scale a tall fence that was patrolled by school security guards. If they made it past the fence, they were greeted with a 100-yard open field that separated them from freedom. The fences might as well have had sniper towers.
Some kids apply more effort into getting out of class than they ever put in when they're in class. But that's all right, because there's also an art to counterbalancing a slacker reputation ...
To their teachers, they're going nowhere, but in the slacker's mind, they're sitting in an idled car, waiting for a reason to slam on the gas and blow past everyone else in their graduating class with a middle finger held high and piles of money billowing out of the backseat. Not applying yourself in school can carry a mostly deserved stigma that only the Van Goghs and Michelangelos of slackerdom know how to counteract: They know how to occasionally blow minds with a display of fully tapped potential no one knew they had in them.
My high school years were mostly spent directionless. I wandered mindlessly from one class to another, not giving too much of a shit if I failed or passed with flying colors. It wasn't until an English class in my senior year that my life began to point in a discernible direction. My English teacher taught us about comedy and satire for nearly an entire semester. I was rolling in every lesson, every reading assignment, and every writing assignment like a pig in the highest quality shit.
Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images
Finally, I had found my calling.
Later that year, we had to adapt a story we had all read throughout our years of schooling into a movie. My group and I adapted Beowulf. I was the writer, director, and reluctant star of the picture. The film was a huge success among my classmates. Kids would cut class just to watch a video that I now consider to be a complete piece of shit. But that class was when, for the first time in my years of schooling, I started to shine. Suddenly, people (myself included) became aware that there was something I could do. I realized it late into my educational career, but early enough in life to do something with it.
Slack on, brothers and sisters. Slack on in every aspect of your life, except one -- work your ass off trying to find that one thing that engages you, that one thing that ensnares your attention. It's out there, but you'll never find it if you apply the same apathy to its discovery as you do to literally everything else in your life.
For more from Luis, check out 5 Pop Culture Classics That Almost Had Truly Terrible Titles and The 4 Most Baffling Driving Behaviors Everyone Encounters.