It started innocently enough.
“Sorry I’m late,” I said one morning as I arrived at work a little behind schedule. “I found a baby duckling that had a hurt wing, so I had to nurse it back to health.”
Nobody believed me and I can’t say I blame them — because I was lying after all.
That’s OK though, because in reality I didn’t have to make excuses. Reporters sometimes have to work stupid hours and it’s not uncommon to compensate by coming in a little later the next morning. I guess I just have a high need for fun though and it has since become a point of pride to come up with something different.
“Sorry I’m late. I was going to be early but I got some bad news before I even got out the door this morning and before I knew it I’d agreed to deliver some ring up to Mount Doom.”
“Sorry I’m late. I was going to be early, but this elderly lady cut me off in traffic so I had to sit right on her tail all the way to Duncan, leaning on the horn the whole time. I think she learned something today though.”
Those three words, “Sorry I’m late,” bring newsroom activity to a stop.
“Sorry I’m late. I was going to be early, but as I was driving to work something must have happened because all I can remember was a strange, bright light in the sky and first my watch and then my car stopped working and then… and then it was three hours later and I was idling at the side of the road and I was all … sore.”
The tradition was well entrenched when Steve Heywood took his leave and my new editor grabbed the tiller. I guess I kind of shocked poor John the first time I was tardy.
“Sorry I’m late,” I said. “I was going to be early, but as I was driving to work … I don’t know … I guess you would say I was raptured up to some kind of … heaven. I remember everything was very bright and I heard a mighty voice.
‘HEY, I TOLD YOU NOT TO PLAY WITH THE REMOTE.’
Then I heard another mighty voice, but with a higher pitch.
‘YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!’
And I heard the first mighty voice again.
‘GIVE ME THAT!’
And then I was back in my car and I just had to pull over and … you know, think about things for a bit.”
My boss of one day gawped.
“What on earth are you on about, Horner?”
It didn’t take him long to clue in though and now his ears perk up just like everybody else’s when he hears those three words.
“Sorry I’m late. My twin brother hurt his back yesterday and I guess there’s some sort of weird bond between twins because this morning I woke up and I couldn’t feel my legs! I still can’t feel them! Can somebody feel my legs? Anybody?”
Lately though, I’ve hit a slump.
“Sorry I’m late. Being late shows complete disrespect and disdain for your fellow employees and since we’ve known each other for quite a while now, I thought it’s about time you knew how I really feel about you.”
“Lame,” said Lissa.
“Lame,” agreed John.
I’ve heard a lot of that lately. After all this time I’m afraid I’m running out of material.
I need help. From you.
Anyone who has a good and fun excuse for why they’re late for work can share it by e-mailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I get enough good ones I’ll put them in a future column, so if you don’t want your boss to know it’s you, for goodness sake use a fake name!