Excuses That Don’t Cut It With Me

Communication of people. 3d render. Isolated on white background

Last weekend we celebrated my Dad’s 90th birthday with a big bash: sit-down dinner, fancy centerpieces, a proclamation by the Mayor (yes, really!), and a video retrospective of his life – the whole shot. He had personally made a list of people he wanted there, and the invitations went out well in advance. We made plans based on all those who said they were coming. Some had to change their plans at the last minute due to hospitalizations and unexpected obligations. That’s understandable.

But to those who said to him in the days that followed, “We got busy that day and just forgot”, I say, “Excuse me??” That may fly if you’re talking about taking out the trash or getting the oil changed in your car. But don’t disrespect my Dad – the coolest guy on the planet – by saying you “forgot”. He specifically wanted you there and you couldn’t write it on your calendar? Not acceptable.

(And to those who never responded one way or the other to his invitation, don’t even get me started…)

That experience got me thinking . . .  Here are a few more excuses that don’t cut it with me:

“Nothing personal; I’m always late.”

I’ve heard that one from more than a few people and chances are, you have, too. Maybe you’ve even said it. But here’s the thing: With all the gadgets available now to keep us organized, we don’t get to blame a power failure, the alarm not going off, or a stopped watch for our being ignorant of the passage of time. If you’re “always” late, it just means you’re always rude. And it IS personal.

“He’s a guy.”

Really? That’s why you overlook a disgusting sink? A filthy bathroom? That’s why you tolerate coarse behavior? He’s incapable of cleaning up after himself or showing some civility because of his gender? I happen to know plenty of men who don’t default to that, so nope. I’m not buying it.

“She’s a girl.”

She can’t travel on her own or enjoy life as a grand adventure? She isn’t capable of handling a crisis intelligently or using common sense? Yes, we live in a dangerous world and yes, women are often targeted by predators and become victims of unspeakable crimes. But must we shoehorn our daughters into traditional roles to “protect” them? Props to those who don’t buy into this line.

“They went to public school.”

Plenty of people can’t write a decent thank you note or express themselves without saying, “uh”, “like”, “y’know” or using profanity. But I’m not laying that at the feet of the public school system in this country; I’m calling it lazy.

“I can’t help it, it runs in my family.”

Green eyes, a crooked nose, big feet, or any of a variety of health problems may run in your family. And I’ll even buy the argument that some attitudes take root in our early upbringing. But racism and sexism, bigotry and intolerance are neither predestined nor permanent and they most certainly can be helped.

“Kids will be kids.”

You’re on a jam-packed flight and you’re letting your kids kick the seats in front of them, scream about what they want and don’t want, disrespect the flight attendants who are trying to help, and make everyone around you miserable. And your go-to strategy is to alternate between yelling at them and promising them chocolate milk when they get home? Come on, you can do better than that, parent. Step it up.

“I was only telling the truth.”

Ever known someone who zinged another person and then used this as a disclaimer? Yes, it’s honorable to tell the truth, but brandishing it as a weapon is, well – cowardly. To quote from a poem by William Blake, “A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.” (from Auguries of Innocence)

Okay, that’s my rant for today. Care to weigh in?

About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

16 thoughts on “Excuses That Don’t Cut It With Me”

  1. I can hear you read this to me – I can hear you saying this – can the written word really speak? My answer is yes!

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Wow, thank God that I was able to show at the party. I’d hate to think what the consequences would have been, had I used one of those “excuses”. I’m sure that something of biblical intensity would have befallen me and any of my relatives.

    1. Being on the receiving end of prejudice or cruelty affords a completely different perspective, as does seeing someone you love minimized or dismissed. When it’s personal, change becomes possible. (And I think we can choose to make it personal by choosing to love.)

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Excellent post Diane and what I love about it is that not only did it make me think about when I may have used one or *cough* all of those excuses but when I’ve used it to explain other people’s behaviour as well.

    We really need these little checks, someone holding up a mirror sometimes to hold yourself and others to higher (but is it really higher) standards.

    1. So honest, Vernette. Thank you! I work in Corporate Security and I encounter people on a daily basis who make excuses for bad behavior and dishonesty. It’s no small thing.

  4. YES I WANT TO JOIN YOUR RANT! ahem. Thank you. Besides the many listed above (and remember, when Allison gets married you can expect the same kind of behavior. Just sayin’.) that make me crazed, there’s another that turns my stomach. The ol’ put-down-humor-I-was-only-kidding trick. C’mon folks; we aren’t in junior high any more. Put down humor hurts. Period. And throwing a smile on your face when you’re called out on it doesn’t cut it. Backpeddling at it’s finest. You can do better…..really. So stop putting down and start spreadin’ the love.

    PS C’mon anonymous…..your opinion is welcome here – I’m just not really sure what it was!

    1. Hear! Hear! Put down humor – I find that completely unacceptable, too. It’s not okay to say mean things and then try to smooth it over with “I’m only kidding.” Nope. You weren’t. Thanks, Kim. That one belongs on the list for sure!

  5. I have a friend that is late nearly 100% of the time…her husband says something along the line of, “Oh, it’s just her, you know.” No, I don’t know!! I think it’s terribly rude and inconsiderate of all the others who show up on time. One Thanksgiving I assigned her only something that could be prepared in advance – pies – and told her we absolutely would be starting on time. She called at the time we were supposed to start and said, “I hope you’re running late. We’re just walking out the door.” I told her that everyone was here, everything was ready, and we were sitting down to eat.

    Oh, boy…could I ever join your rant! 🙂

    1. I used to work with a guy who was always late and I would tell him it indicated a lack of respect. His response was, “Oh, no! I don’t mean it that way!” Well, hello. If it’s being interpreted that way, wouldn’t you want to at least TRY to change it? It seems this is an all too common problem.Thanks, Rebecca, for understanding and joining the rant!

Your feedback is welcome!