OtterSummer 8.40-Ex-Use

excuses
My excuses got better gas mileage in my youth. I suppose they were probably best assessed by measuring the dissipation of a gas, though they seemed more substantial then; rock solid. Maybe they served as the smoke screen I used to cloak my advance against hostile forces—without substance but still useful—for the future sure seemed hostile then. I could feel safer by deflecting some possibilities, a few obligations, and as many responsibilities as I could get away with. Eternal youth, if I could play my cards right.

My excuses and I have experienced a few falling outs since; in and out of love, like any other aging couple. Every significant crisis of my life (so far) has been accompanied by me catching myself doing what I’d previously believed myself incapable of doing. Watching myself commit what my story insisted I could never do left more than my story in shambles. What excuses those obsolete excuses when they clearly don’t work anymore?

I still sometimes ask to be excused. When I sneeze or need to weasel out on what promises to be some boring party, I ask to be excused. When I feel compelled to mention some completely uncomfortable truth, I might preface the act with a heart-felt excuuuuse me! When offended, particularly when offended by some clueless twit, my first line of defense usually involves a totally insincere plea, “Excuse me, but,” though I suppose I really mean, “Excuse me, butt.”

The Grand Otter’s still at the age where her excuses get enviable gas mileage, where they really do feel rock solid; as if they are the firm foundation she hopes they will remain. She is, after all, “just a teenager,” in her estimation, so some pimples really are more unavoidable feature than actual blemish. Rub all the creme you want on those babies and they still won’t go away. Other excuses might have already out-lived their usefulness, but she still deploys ‘em; perhaps out of habit. Others seem premature, pre-emptive propositions that couldn’t possibly be based upon real experience; memes to hide behind. She holds a potentially healthy prejudice against the rich and an unshakably generous acceptance of the poor, though her stories supporting the causes of those effects will need, and will undoubtedly receive, fine tuning as she grows up.

She’s precocious as Hell in some ways and backwards as heck in others, exactly like the rest of us. We all have baggage. Some travel with no more than a small carry-on while others require steamer trunks, each filled with the excuses we deem necessary when leaving home. An awful lot depends upon where we think we’re going. Nobody brings anything less than an entourage when expecting to reach the North Pole. For most, though, the North Pole is nothing more or less than a navigation aid, a useful fiction to plot our courses to more settled destinations.

The Oregon Trail was littered with necessities discarded as realities overtook the dreams. It was still Eden at the end, but an Eden without the family heirlooms, which were jettisoned like so many excuses in order for the dream to come true.

My excuses got a lot better gas mileage in my youth.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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