From the time that children begin speaking, they begin making nonsensical excuses.
A child could have crumbs all over their face, but if you ask them if they got into the cookies, they will adamantly deny it.
And who amongst us hasn’t told a teacher that, “The dog ate my homework”?
Dogs aren’t exactly known for having a refined palette, but you’d think that they could root around and find something better to munch on than notebook paper.
The propensity to make excuses never really goes away, even as adults. People are prone to giving excuses that don’t even make sense.
And, after a while, these excuses become so commonplace that we don’t even question them anymore.
For example, you can explain away just about anything with the phrase, “insurance purposes.” It doesn’t even need to make sense.
“Why is your car taking up two spaces?”
Obviously, Covid-19 wreaked havoc on many aspects of our lives and continues to do so. But people play the “Covid Card” when it doesn’t even apply.
“Why are you always late?”
The latest one is “supply chain issues.” Again, a totally legitimate concern, but it’s become a catch-all to excuse away, well, everything.
“Why are you flunking algebra?”
“Supply chain issues.”
Businesses wave away many concerns you might have with “It’s our POLICY.” Once they’ve pulled that rabbit out of the hat, there is nothing more to say. Who can argue with “policy” even if their policy makes no sense?
“Why is my hamburger missing the meat?
“It’s our policy.”
“Ah. I get it.”
“Also, supply chain issues … and Covid.”
“I understand. Meat on a hamburger is overrated anyway.”
The ugly stepchild of “excuses” is the nonsense we are asked to sign that would take a law degree to understand. It’s usually in the form of “fine print.”
If you go for a medical procedure, they are going to give you a three-page document that would take a high-powered telescope to even read it. Then they ask you to sign it after “med-splaining” it to you:
“This ‘just’ means that you authorize this procedure.”
Then why not just say that? Why take three pages to say what you can succinctly say in one sentence? Economy of words, people!
I always resist the temptation to tell them, “You’re going to have to give me a minute while I read this over.”
But instead, we blindly sign our lives away, offering up our first-born child and our life savings for all we know.
The same goes for “Terms and Conditions.” I bet no one since the beginning of fine print has ever actually read any of those.
Maybe we should have a mass revolt. I’m going to start by refusing to tell my computer that I’m not a robot.
The irony of a machine asking if I am a machine is not lost on me.
I’ll just tell it that it’s my “Policy.”
Columnist Kay Frances, MBA, holds a BS in Education and she is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP).