The Cattleman’s Corner: Excuses Better Have Some Quality

business door with covid sign
Photo: Shutterstock.com

By Austin Snedden
Ranching Contributor, Valley Ag Voice

Austin Snedden
Austin Snedden, Valley Ag Voice Contributor

Most excuses we get on a day-to-day basis are almost impossible to verify. But for the last eighteen months the COVID excuse has run rampant. We must be nearing the end of the legitimacy of the COVID-based excuses, but I think some folks and businesses got in too deep and developed a deep dependency on “because of COVID.”

“Because of COVID I couldn’t get your fuel filter ordered.” “Because of COVID we will need to add another two weeks on to that delivery.” I recently went to a local retailer to buy some two-inch pipe, and they had morphed their excuses, combining the exhausted COVID excuse with a heat excuse. The county I live in (Kern) is full of independent folks and, overall, has struggled to get most of us to follow the COVID prodded herd; some businesses required masks and some didn’t. In terms of masks, I have always been willing to do what the business asked me to do, and in recent months you rarely are asked to wear a mask.

COVID culture shock just hit me recently at the above-mentioned pipe retailer. I arrived early afternoon on a Friday, the front door of the office adorned with COVID “Safety for employees, Do not enter, Use side door.” The side door was behind a locked gate. I returned to the door adorned with signs banning my entrance, I poked my head in, and was informed that not only was I not supposed to be in there (sales office) but also I couldn’t buy a pipe because it was too hot outside for their employees. I am not immune from excuses, and this recent interaction inspired me to make sure that my excuses come across fresh and creative.

The truly motivated person after an experience where they were on the wrong side of a weak excuse would commit to not making excuses themselves, but it takes a true artist to use that experience to inspire better excuses in their own life. This face-to-face encounter with weak excuses caused introspection, and I realized that as the COVID excuse is for many, I have certain excuses that I have overused. My go-to excuse crutch is “wind.”

Bad loop in my rope… wind. Bad rifle shot… wind. Bad golf shot… wind. Bad ping pong serve… you get the idea. My overuse of the wind excuse is due in part to my lack of creativity but also because of the quality of the wind excuse itself. It’s almost impossible to verify, as rogue gusts can be almost anywhere at any time; wind is a powerful excuse if you can use discretion to not ride it to the ground, as I have. Wind trumps my second favorite excuse, “sun was in my eyes,” because the sun only shines from one direction. (Expert tip: the wind and “sun in eyes” excuses are far less effective indoors.)

I am urged to do better when I hear the weak excuses of others, but I am truly inspired by the excuse makers that go above and beyond my capabilities. The expert excuse maker infuses multi variable excuses into the vocabulary. When the expert excuse maker commits a mistake in physical performance, not only will you hear things about wind and sun, but also humidity, barometric pressure, moon phase, and climate change. Prepare yourself for when the expert excuse maker is late for something or misses a deadline. You will hear things about relatives’ food allergies, zodiac calendar, systemic alarm clock failure, and deforestation. Let’s collectively make our excuses more believable, if not entertaining. Or we could drop excuses all together… but who wants to do that.