One day in college, my friend Tiffany pulled an all-nighter to finish a long essay. Despite her efforts and gallons of coffee, she still couldn’t get it done, so she had to ask for an extension. She climbed the stairs to our professor’s office, and crazed with panic and exhaustion, hurtled through the door shouting, “Dr. Glenn, I’ve come to throw my feet at your mercy!”
She got the extension. Mainly because it was such a thrill for him to be present at the birth of a brand new feeble excuse.
At my sister’s house, they have an entire Department of Feeble Excuses. (If I remember right, the phrase “feeble excuses” comes from The Honeymooners, when Ralph Kramden believes that he’s finally got the upper hand with his dreadful wife, Alice. When she tries to set him straight, he cuts her off, saying, “Tut tut! None of your feeble excuses.” Of course, she eventually shows him what a useless moron he has been once again, and he retracts his expressed desire to send her to the moon with his fist, and then pronounces her the greatest. Which isn’t necessarily worse than the way marriage is routinely portrayed on TV in the 21st century, but . . . hey, has anyone noticed that Ed Norton is basically Tigger?)
The Department of Feeble Excuses at our house regularly issues threadbare explanations to defend the indefensible, to explain the inexplicable, and to attempt to deflect well-deserved shame and disapprobation by being ridiculous. It is perhaps the most prolific of all the departments in the household, and it is surprisingly effective. Here’s a few examples from recent days:
“Sorry we let the baby eat all the brown sugar, Mama. She . . . had a gun.”
Which can’t possibly be technically accurate, and yet I know what they meant. I’ve met that kid. I probably would have helped her strap on that sugar like a nosebag.
Then there was the time that one teenager was making cookies, and the other teenager went in to nab one. The baker yells, “NO!” and the cookie nabber yelps, “Sorry! I forgot who I am!”
I let them work through that existential problem all by themselves.
Then we have that one kid who can’t even bring dress his defense up in actual words, and just starts rolling his eyes and making non-specific gargling noises like malfunctioning garbage disposal. Then he sidles out of the room like a crab. I don’t know why this works, but it almost always does.
Help me flesh out this feeble excuse for a blog post. Teachers, parents, supervisors, responsible human beings of the world: What’s the feeblest excuse you’ve ever heard (or offered)? Did it work?
Image: Edward Lear, More Nonsense [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons