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by Lily Murphy

The invention of an excuse is an art form. It is carefully crafted early in the life of an individual, beginning with school.

During those school years when if nothing else is achieved by way of an education, the art of making up an excuse is an education in itself, one which is a formidable life skill.

Was homework not done? Well you used an excuse.

You were late for school? Well you used an excuse.

How could you explain to your mother you were sent to detention for throwing peas into the science teacher’s hair? Well you used an excuse!

Yes school is the perfect foundation for moulding one of life’s most important skills: Making up an excuse.

The weather is a darling for excuse making, sometimes.

Rain and most notably snow are the greatest and most over used subjects in regards to creating an excuse to dodge school or work.

On rotten Winter days when the rain is just being a bastard and the wind is so cold even the snot up your nose has frozen, it is much better to stay in the warmth of your bed. The following day just write a note to the teacher or boss outlining that due to a flood not seen since Noah’s time you were unable to go to school as you are not a very good swimmer.

Death is also a great escape. I remember in school I went through a shit load of funerals. In one year alone I had the traumatic experience of attending twenty four funerals of a whole host of relatives while my grandfather had the bizarre conundrum of being buried seven times.

On the seventh time I used the excuse of a dead grandfather to get out of school early, the teacher who was getting more and more suspicious of the high death rate in my family asked was this the same grandfather that was buried last week and the week before that. I answered somewhat truthfully.

‘Yes he is the same grandfather who died last week and the week before that, in fact he just wont die but I have a good feeling today that when we bury him, the fucker might just stay in the ground!’

Needless to say that was the last time I used the death of a relative as an excuse to get out of school.

Into adulthood the art of making an excuse should be by then well crafted as demonstrated by a guy I knew in college.

He failed to show up to an important class on European history one day and so he emailed the lecturer the following:

“I can’t come into college today because the cows are calving.”

Genius I thought, for a city dweller. I asked him the next day did the excuse work.

‘Oh yeah it worked like a charm, I got an extension on my essay but…….what I haven’t a clue what calving means!’

When the world of work beckons, the excuses need to be more sharply crafted and defined. In some cases I have come across, it seems that some excuses have been so severely worn out that they no longer exist as believable excuses. The only way to get around that scenario is to adapt the lack of lust for work to the modern age and one good excuse to use is the working from home excuse. All it entails is to get up at nine and send out a few emails, go back to bed, and get up at three just to send out a few more emails just to make it look like you were working all day from home.

Confusing days is also a gem of an excuse to use. Such as the reason why someone failed to show up to work on a Monday was because they were convinced it was Sunday. Yes I knew someone who really used that excuse and by Christ it worked! But as new trends appear in the art of excuse making, old excuses, although used and abused so much, are still relevant in contemporary work dodging.

Sexism plays its part in preventing some folk from using some great excuses such as an old friend who text me one day looking for a good excuse to use so he could skip work in order to spend the day at home watching the Ryder cup on TV.

He asked me for an excuse that never fails and I being hung over that day and not thinking straight simply text back telling him to tell his boss that he has period pains.

It is an excuse that never fails, well for the female of the species anyway. So my poor friend rang into work and he told his boss he had period pains. The boss didn’t believe him of course.

Then again that same chap rang into work on another occasion to tell his boss he wasn’t able to go into work as he was locked inside his house. When I heard this I went over to his place to rescue him. He was locked inside his house alright, locked drunk with an array of empty Bud cans surrounding him on the couch.

Using excuses with friends is a much more tedious task than using excuses with figures of authority.

One time I tried using an excuse when I kept my friend waiting for me at a city centre restaurant. I was running late because I decided to watch a really funny episode of Jerry Springer, one entitled I am happy I cut off my legs!

So anyway when I got there my friend didn’t look pleased. ‘What the fuck kept you?’

I replied that my car broke down.

‘But you don’t have a car!’

I informed her that yes I did have a car……..years ago. When my friend asked what happened it I snapped back. ‘I thought I told you already! It broke down!’

Making excuses can be fun and can be dangerous but by hell making an excuse and using an excuse so wisely is as easy as shooting a fly with a shot gun.

As a full time member of the union of work-shy elements I tend to use excuses by the truck load. I use excuses so much that sometimes when I conjure up excuses to avoid certain duties I get the feeling that who I am telling the excuses to do not believe half the lies I am telling them!