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?
- Maybe This Will Help - February 10, 2017
- I’m Firing Olivia Pope - January 24, 2017
- I’m crossing some things off my list this year - January 11, 2017
- I learned a new word - November 30, 2016
- The best question I’m asking myself these days - July 18, 2016
- A tragic story with a tender twist - May 17, 2016
- Gosh, people are a mess - May 12, 2016
- I’ll take the red carnation, thank you – revisiting an odd tradition - May 2, 2016
- The surprising thing about “weakness” - April 20, 2016
- The holiness of a four-way stop - April 13, 2016