I was ten. Like any decent ten-year-old I didn't really feel like going to school much. So after setting the groundwork the night before, "I don't feel so well", and after maybe an hour of dignified begging, "It's not like I'll miss anything important! I already know how to spell!", my mother gave in and let me stay home. See she was on to me by then. Up until age eight I was a pro. I could fake any symptom known to man.
Then Peanut started to see what I was doing. Mom got suspicious when we both had "this stomach thing" especially because he was way worse of an actor than me. In 4th grade we both tried to stay home the same day. I was nine and he was five. My mom said, "Ok, but you have to stay in bed all day." My response was, "Oh you're good." Peanut stuck it out another hour before giving in. Well anyway, by the time I was ten she knew my game. She said I could stay home. She even suggested we go see a movie. Now, I like to think of myself as sophisticated but I don't think I understood the deep depression that comes with the alienation of being blacklisted. There was a lot of talking and it was in black and white. This may sound severe but the loss of my brain's ability to process fun was around that time. I was raised on documentaries about oil spills and I consider the history channel special Life After People a bit like a lullaby. Unlike other people, I've seen more of Michael Moore than Jennifer Aniston.