Friday, November 17, 2017
Five Minute Friday: EXCUSE
Is it Friday again already? Yes, which means it's time to join the Five Minute Friday linkup, where we write for five minutes on a given prompt. This week's word is EXCUSE.
I went to a salon this morning. The young staff member, whom I'd never met before, asked me what I did, so I told her I taught an online course in essay-writing at the university.
"Oh, I guess that's the way of the future," she said.
I told her that for many years the course had been offered by correspondence: I would walk to campus to pick up my papers, mark them by hand, and walk back to return them. But now, I said, everything is uploaded to the course website, so no student can use the excuse that they couldn't submit their essay because their dog ate it.
"No, a dog certainly can't eat a cyber paper," she laughed.
I had some fun looking up this cliche -- "The dog ate my essay" -- on Wikipedia. An early variation of this trope occurred in the early 1900's when a minister was filling in at a church in Wales. After the service, he tenatively asked the church clerk if the sermon had been all right -- and then he apologized that it might have been a little short because his dog had eaten part of the paper it was written on.
Apparently the clerk responded by asking whether that dog might have any puppies -- the implication being that their regular vicar might also benefit from having his sermons cut short (or rather, chewed short) by a dog!
It's always tempting to look around for an excuse when something has gone wrong. I suppose humans have been doing that ever since the dawn of time, when Adam blamed his disobedience on Eve and she blamed hers on the serpent.
Sometimes we make excuses to try to avoid facing the consequences that we know, deep down, we deserve.
Or we make excuses because it's just too painful to admit that we've failed.
One of my favourite quotes is from author Henry Cloud: "The truth is always your friend." It's such a simple (almost simplistic) statement, but I think it has a lot of hidden depth and maybe that's why I find myself pondering it so often.
If the truth is really my friend, then I should stop making excuses for myself ... for other people ... even for God ... and embrace the truth and what it has to teach me.