We find excuses for everything

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 2, 2009

Excuses are becoming the American way. Or rather, excuses have become the American way.

There’s an excuse for everything, from everyone.

I make them. I find all kinds of excuses for why I don’t have time to clean up, wash clothes or go to the grocery store. And nowadays especially, get all my work done.

My daughter makes them. She doesn’t have time to pick up her toys or her clothes or practice guitar because the Disney Channel has her undivided attention. She can’t go to sleep yet because she hasn’t seen this episode of “Hannah Montana” or that episode of “The Suite Life” in at least a month.

At work (not necessarily mine, just in general) it’s the same thing.

The most popular phrase these days is “I can’t.” It wouldn’t be so hard to say, “I’ll try my best to get it done,” but that’s just not the way many of today’s workers want to go.

Employees punch in then watch the clock, waiting for the time they can punch out again. What if a little extra is needed? By the time you get to their desk at 5:01, you can’t find them. It’s quitting time, and they’ve left the building.

I got an interesting e-mail recently, forwarded from a friend who got it from, well, it’s one of those forwarded e-mails. Anyway, it pretty much tells the story of what America has become. It’s about blame, but in the end, casting blame is just an excuse for not taking responsibility.

It reads:

“Let’s see if I understand how America works lately . . .

If a woman burns her thighs on the hot coffee she was holding in her lap while driving, she blames the restaurant.

If you smoke three packs a day for 40 years and die of lung cancer, your family blames the tobacco company.

If your daughter gets pregnant by the football captain you blame the school for poor sex education.

If your neighbor crashes into a tree while driving home drunk, you blame the bartender.

If your cousin gets AIDS because the needle he used to shoot up with heroin was dirty, you blame the government for not providing clean ones.

If your grandchildren are brats without manners, you blame television.

If your friend is shot by a deranged madman, you blame the gun manufacturer.

If a crazed person climbs into the cockpit of an airliner and tries to kill the pilots at 35,000 feet and the passengers kill him instead, the mother of the deceased blames the airline.

I must have lived too long to understand the world as it is anymore.

So, if I die while my old, wrinkled ass is parked in front of this computer, I want you to blame Bill Gates, OK?”

Sandy Cunningham is publisher of L’Observateur. She can be reached at sandy.cunningham@wickcommunications.com.