Tuesday, November 8, 2011

people observation #23: my dog ate my jump drive

It's always easy to tell the difference between a good and a bad excuse.

Keep in mind, by good excuse I mean one of those rare, but real ones. "Sorry I didn't make it to work, but my car broke down and I had no means to get there" is a good excuse; life has given you lemons and you're trying your best to make lemonade.

By bad excuse, I mean the excuses that people come up with so they can take the blame off of themselves. (The psychological world calls this a defense mechanism.. and wikipedia calls it a psychological projection).

There's the projecting of blame to inanimate objects: "My alarm didn't go off"

Then there's something that's a blatant lie:"Sorry I don't have the assignment..insert something about your dog eating your homework here"..along those lines, there's also the dead relative bit. This one is frustrating because nobody with half of a heart is going to want to question the legitimacy of such an event. That being said, one's grandmother can only die so many times.

Chances are it's probably your fault. Most of the time you're late because you didn't allocate yourself enough time to get there. Your work is half-assed or incomplete because you're lazy, and the office plant's critical condition isn't because the room temperature is set to Antarctica, it's because you forgot to water it.

One day, I woke up way too late for work. Somewhere in the jumble of brushing my teeth, packing things into my purse, and sniffing the armpits of my Lifetime Fitness uniform then deciding the stench will do, I left the lock off of my pepper spray, and got it all over my hands. During my fifteen minute commute, I  went to unknowingly wipe my (still sleepy) eyes and the burn began. I pulled into a neighborhood nearby and proceeded to pour what was left in my Nalgene all over my face.

Looking at the scenario, one would probably take this as a horrible chain of events. I, however, found myself slightly optimistic at the time. I now had an excuse for my lateness to work. I called my boss in my state of panic screaming "Suzanne!I'llbeacoupleminuteslateI'vejustpeppersprayedmyself!" I felt bad. I told my boss that I had gotten mace in my eye, when really, I'd have been late either way.

I'm not saying that there aren't greater forces sometimes at work. Sometimes stuff happens that we can't control. Mace in the eyes happens. Shit happens, and I smell what you're stepping in. I'd suggest just watch for the times when our excuses are cheap.

I would invite you to take a look at the excuses you've been making lately and really dive in to which ones are legitimately beyond your control and which ones are phony.

In the words of Chamillionaire: "Stop making excuses... If women take his money, he gonna tell ya he slipped off his sleeve, whatever your weakness, stop making excuses please. You should not be in couch or in house, you should be in route." Poetic.

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