Masterman School fifth grader Michael Fenerty had a really good excuse for missing school Thursday, thanks to Bruce Springsteen.

Fenerty attended Springsteen's fan meet-and-greet at the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia with his dad, Mike, a major Boss fan and memorabilia collector.

Previously, Michael had expressed an interest in seeing Springsteen live, and his father took him to the Sept. 7 show at Citizens Bank Park.

"It was the first day of school for the fifth grade at Masterman, and of course Bruce played his longest show," Mike said. "As a fan I loved it; as a parent I hated it. I wanted to kill him!"

Former teacher Mike, now a lawyer, wanted to follow the rules of his son's new school, and asked what the procedure was for missing a day. "He said we should get Bruce to write an absence note," Mike said. So the father and son typed one up.

The policy of the meet and greet meant that fans had to give  any belongings — bags, memorabilia, and coats —  to library staffers while meeting with Springsteen so that the event would run smoothly. But Michael had the note and a pen in his pocket, and offered it as Springsteen and Mike chatted.

"My son said, `Bruce, would you sign my absence note?' [Springsteen] lit up. He was affectionate toward Michael as soon as he saw him. He said, `I have to read it first, that's how I got in trouble with my first contract,' " Mike said. "He said, `I hope you don't get in trouble.' My son was very starstruck — it was a very cool experience."

After the event, the Fenertys headed to Masterman to give the note to the principal. But how could Mike give up such a great piece of Bruce-abilia?

"I only gave her a photocopy," he said.

215-854-5909 @mollyeichel