Sunday, 1 February 2009

No Excuse

I can't bear excuses.

I don't mind reasons. Reasons are fine. It doesn't even have to be a particularly good reason. It may not be a reason that pleases me. Yet I would still, overall, rather be given an honest reason than a paltry excuse.

Sometimes it can be tricky to tell the difference, but as a general rule reasons tend to be short and to the point whereas excuses go rambling on, with ever more baroque embellishment.

Here are some examples to illustrate:

"I couldn't be arsed, I was tired." - Reason.

"Oh, God, I was going to - I wanted to - but it's been such a fuck of a week! First the car broke down and I had to get that sorted, and then the dog was sick and you know I have that allergy that flares up when I come into contact with washing up liquid? Well I picked up this leaky bottle of Fairy Liquid in Morrisons and two days later all the skin flaked off my fingers so I wasn't even able to hold a pen, let alone get my tights on." - Excuse.

"I completely forgot, I was engrossed in Eastenders." - Reason.

"Oh, God, I was going to - I wanted to - but - hahaha - it's been such a mad week! Today has been mental! I was just about to, but then I got this terrible cramp in my right leg - you know the weak one I injured in that ostrich wrestling incident in Tanzania? Anyway it just spasmed and I spilt the tea I was carrying and it went all over the cat and I had to shampoo her and then of course my allergy flared up again and I could barely manage to turn the taps off when I'd done." - Excuse.

"I didn't bother, I have simply lost all interest." - Reason

"Oh, God, I was going to - I wanted to - but it's been crazy all day! Well, all week - all month actually! Mad! I have had so many projects to do, plus I had to babysit for next door's quintuplets - you know she's had to go into hospital to have an ingrowing moustache lasered off? Anyway, it's just been manic, looking after all these kids and having to water the plants and then there was that problem with my fingers and crampy leg again and really, I'm so tired I just haven't had a minute to think of anything or anyone, really." - Excuse.

Has anyone else been on the receiving end of poor excuses?


L. said...

Excuses are passive and take no responsibility, even thin barely-justified responsibility. Reasons are active. Or at least consciously inactive.

What about total dead silence, though? That's often my favorite tactic.

True Lateral said...

(From a guy who lived about an hour away from me, when I lived in Australia) "Um, I think we should break up, I can't do the long-distance thing. It's just too far."

Within two weeks he was seeing someone who lived in New Zealand. But they got married so I'm not bitter.

Think what he really meant was "I'm just not that into you."

Luka said...

L - ah, yes, total silence. I get that one a lot. That one is very effective in that the chances are that people really will lose interest/forget all about it and wander off. That said, I dislike total silence even more than paltry excuses, as there is less for me to rip apart.

True Lateral - why cant some people just be upfront about that? Do they really think the slow lingering death of a lengthy, elaborate, yet tissue-thin excuse is kinder than a swift "I'm off"?

Helga Hansen said...

I know a man who truly *is* allergic to washing-up liquid. We worked together, and he never made the office tea/coffee because of the allergy. We bought him a pair of kitchen gloves (in pink, of course), and told him to get on with it!!

I must confess I can give excuses, although I do prefer reasons!

Ro said...

Oh, I'm sorry Luka. I really had meant to put up a comment earlier, really I was, but I was detained in the gym when the gorilla they keep as a mascot got loose and cornered the female staff behind the coffee machine. I volunteered to fetch the white hunter but it turned out he was held up in East London due to the snow. By the time he arrived ...

But I wouldn't want this to start to sound like an excuse ;)

Kimberly said...

People who hide behind bullshit drive me crazy as well...just say what you mean - stop with the pretending! Love the excuses, very funny!

Suzanne Portnoy said...

My favourite? I'd love to see you, I really would. But life is complicated at the moment and complex.

Carnalis said...

is my wife is suspicious a reason or an excuse?

Luka said...

Helga - rubber gloves are so often the answer to life's little problems.

Ro - bad Ro, naughty Ro!

Kimberley - yes, I agree. The waffling just makes me cross.

Suzanne - ah yes, the old "it's complicated" routine. And they're right, of course. Webs of lies are by nature complex creations.

Carnalis - hmmmmm, tricky one. I would say reason, since it is short and to the point.

Walker said...

But there can be reason and circumstance it just sounds dodgy.
That's my excuse

Luka said...

Walker - it's a good excuse, but it's not a reason!

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