Every year thousands of students at UC Berkeley skip the first week of classes to go to Burning Man. Someone on the Burning Man announcements list has written a hilarious letter to his professors to get out of classes:
For the third time in three years, my grandmother is planning to die during the week leading into and including Labor Day. In fact, her funeral pyre will be lit at approximately 9 p.m. on Saturday, August 30th, at which time 30,000 of my closest friends will join me in mourning as her remains are charred into a 40 foot tall column of flame illuminating a moonless sky over the Nevada desert.
This, of course, means that I will miss the entirety of the first week of classes. As I have done in years past, I am writing this letter to ask that you hold my place in your class. I hope you, as many instructors have before, will show compassion and understanding for my week of grief and grant this highly unusual request.
(via Abstract Dynamics).