The Lie: No, I don’t think I should be your friend Kacy’s emergency contact. I’m usually pretty busy working.
The Truth: I’m usually pretty busy trying not to get the flu from a bunch of random kids. The responsibilities of an emergency contact ought to be no more than what the title implies: being the person whom the school calls when there’s a genuine emergency (e.g. the kid’s arm has fallen off, and the doctor wants to know whether or not to try to re-attach it). Instead, what emergency contacthood actually entails is picking up some feverish, disease-ridden child you’ve never met before and bringing him into your home to pamper and nurture for the rest of the day, virtually guaranteeing that you and your children are going to come down with whatever strep / bronchitis / malaria hybrid the little germ magnet has managed to brew up. Savvy parents know this, too, so they’ll tell the nurse’s office they’re stuck in meetings all day, which buys them several extra hours of blissful health – at my expense, mind you – before they finally slink over around 7pm to mumble apologies and complete the patient transfer. It’s a scam. I’m out.
(As to why I’m so familiar with this strategy, let’s just say that Olivia and Troy become even more intolerable when they’re sick than when they’re healthy. I can’t be blamed for trying to outsource their home care to someone foolish enough to volunteer for it.)