Whoever wants to be judge of human nature should study people's excuses.
Deion "Prime Time" Sanders, outfielder for the Atlanta Braves and cornerback
for the Atlanta Falcons, is the only athlete to have hit a Major League home run and
scored an NFL touchdown in the same week. Sanders grew up on the mean streets of Fort
Myers, Fla., where exposure to some would-be athletes spurred him to make a success of
himself. He explains: "I call them Idas. 'If I'da done this, I'd be making three
million today...If I'da practiced a little harder, I'd be a superstar.' They were as fast
as me when they were kids, but instead of working for their dreams they chose drugs and a
life of street corners. When I was young, I had practice; my friends who didn't went
straight to the streets and never left. That moment after school is the moment we need to
grab. We don't need any more Idas.
Mike Lupica in Esquire.
Lawyer and statesman Daniel Webster was a powerful orator who gave early evidence of
his quick mind and way with words. One day Webster's father, who was to be absent from
home, left Daniel and his brother Ezekiel specific work instructions. But on his return he
found the task still undone, and questioned his sons about their idleness. "What have
you been doing, Ezekiel?" he asked. "Nothing, sir." "Well, Daniel,
what have you been doing?" "Helping Zeke, sir."
Today in the Word,
September 19, 1992.
A poor workman always finds fault with his tools.
Bits & Pieces, May 1990, p. 10.
John L. Swigert, Jr., the Apollo 13 astronaut who went to the moon in 1970, recalls how
his job almost interfered with filing his federal income-tax forms: "On the second
day of Apollo 13, April 12, I asked Mission Control to begin work to get me an extension
of the filing date for my income tax. Since I had been a last-minute substitution on the
Apollo 13 flight, things had moved so fast that I didn't have a chance to file my
return." The IRS didn't have to make a special ruling to grant Swigert a two-month
extension because of his I'm-on-my-way-to-the-moon excuse, though. There was already a
regulation that provided an automatic extension for anyone out of the country.
Haberman and Albin Krebs in New York Times.
A radio news series about honesty in America talked about excuses. The commentator said
that people use three types of excuses when guilty of wrongdoing. The first is outright
denial a rejection of any involvement. Sometimes this is done even though the person
is obviously guilty. The second is the "It's not my fault" excuse. The person
looks around for someone he can blame. (Often it is a loved one - a husband or wife or
parent. Sometimes it's the boss.) A third form of excuse is the "I did it,
but...." approach. In this instance the person blames circumstances for his
shortcoming. Either he's been struggling with some illness or the assignment wasn't clear
or the car's been giving him trouble.
Statistics and Stuff
Ten Most Used Excuses:
1. I forgot.
2. No one told me to go ahead.
3. I didn't think it was that important.
4. Wait until the boss comes back and ask him.
5. I didn't know you were in a hurry for it.
6. That's the way we've always done it.
7. That's not in my department.
8. How was I to know this was different?
9. I'm waiting for an O.K.
10. That's his job--not mine.
Bits & Pieces, November, 1989, p. 18.
After discussing how students must at least be competent in reading, writing,
listening, analyzing and computing before they will be graduated from high school in 1978,
one administrator contacted provided the the following list. The excuses it contains were
actually turned in by parents to one school district (outside of Tillamook County).
1. Dear school: Please ackuse John for bring absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33.
2. Chris has an acre in his side.
3. Mary could not come to school because she is bothered by very close veins.
4. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken off his face.
5. I kept Billie Home because he had to go Christmas shopping because I didn't know what
size she wear.
6. Please excuse Gloria. She has been sick and under the doctor.
7. My son is under the doctors care and should not take P.E. Please execute him.
8. Lillie was absent from school yesterday as she had a groing over.
9. Please excuse Ray Friday. He has lose vowels.
10. Please excuse Joyce from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday she fell out of a tree and
misplaced her hip.
11. Please excuse Blanche from jim today. She is administrating.
12. Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in his
13. My daughter was absent yesterday, because she was tired. She spent the weekend with
14. Please excuse Dianne from Being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps.
15. Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father's fault.
According to a UPI news item, the Metropolitan Insurance Company received some unusual
explanations for accidents from its automobile policyholders. The following are just few:
An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car, and vanished.
The other car collided with mine without warning me of its intention.
I had been driving my car for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had the
As I reached an intersection, a hedge sprang up, obscuring my vision.
I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the
The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran over him.
The telephone pole was approaching fast. I attempted to swerve out of its path when it
struck my front end.
The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
The indirect cause of this accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.