Saturday 31 July 2010

Silver foiled excuses.

“I’m sorry I can’t give you the report today, my office has been wrapped in silver foil,” would be a pretty interesting excuse, but one you will probably never get to use unless your name is Scott Bur and you live in Minneapolis (click here).

Of all the outlandish excuses ever given for not doing something - and I include “I’m sorry I couldn’t find a kosher car park (click here)” on my personal list of favourites - “I’m sorry the polyurethane was too slow to dry on the front door” has to be one of the most bizarre.

The author of the excuse, Vicki (for her blog click here), lives in America – a culture that is somewhat alien to me, so I may well be missing a subtlety of cultural reference that is evident for others across the other side of the Atlantic.

I’m not even sure what polyurethane is, though it sounds like it comes in a tin that is very difficult to open, even with a screwdriver,r and I suspect it might well be very sticky.

Things become more intriguing when Vicki explains that her excuse for not going to the cinema (see comment on this post – click here) was a COMBINATION of visitors and the slow drying polywhatsit.

Was she standing on one side of the door, the visitors on the other and the polyurethane an obstacle to movement? Do visitors in America traditionally bring a jar of the stuff and it is impolite to do anything until it is dry? The mind boggles.

The best excuse I have ever been able to come up with, and it is nothing in comparison, was offered to my mother when as a teenager I returned home late after visiting a girlfriend.

“I dropped the jig saw in the long grass on the way over the park.”

Why I had visited my girlfriend with a jigsaw remains a mystery.


Vicki Hollett said...

Ha! Well, you see it was one of our guests who had got the polyurethane out and done our front door. (Obviously a star guest, and not one we'd ever want to upset by closing a sticky portal too soon.) But as it is now dry, we went to the cinema last night. (Comments below)

Do you have Japanese readers? I fear my excuse might have sounded suspiciously detailed if so - something much vaguer like 'we were indisposed' might have been better. And do you have any Australian readers?

I ask because you've reminded me of an international hazard posed by poly-words. I was writing a technical English course some years ago and included the word 'polythene'. My 'merican husband didn't reconise the term and I needed to explain it in the glossary. 'Thick ceran wrap' sounded implausible. But as luck would have it, I happened to have some polythene about me. So I ran round the apartment building we lived in, knocking on strangers' doors and saying, 'Excuse me, but what would you call this, and what would you call that stuff you paint on your floor?'

'Plastic sheeting' did the trick for polythene but it was a cosmopolitan building, and I learnt that Indians also say polythene (and wrestle with similar AmE/BrE issues that way). But most curiously, in Australia, apparently condoms are made from from polyurethane - so rather an odd things to plaster on your front door.
Anyway - the movie was great and thank you for recommending it!

popps said...

Vicki, my mind is boggling even more, do the Australians really put condoms on their front doors?
By the way i think you are my ONLY reader at the moment - certainly none in Japan or Australia that have ever said hello.
By the further way I was born near Bromley in England, birth place of Marianne Joan Elliott-Said who had an interesting approach to Poly.
Thanks for being my reader - i'm honoured.

popps said...

PS Vicki.
I know two people who go HA! when they laugh - one is American from Philly who lives in London, the other is English who lives in Philly or somewhere nearby.
Is it cultural?
And why is American gender free and English not if you put an indefinite article before it?

Janet Bianchini said...

From your SECOND reader of the day, a hello from Abruzzo, Italy. Lovely image as usual.

Do pop by this morning at 11 am Rome time if you are free to the Reform symposium e-conference. I'll be presenting on images. Joey has an obligatory starring role. Olive trees also participate!

popps said...

Welcome again, hooray.
I'd love to be in Rome at 11 but i have to be in the market, sorry.
Thanks for inviting me.

Janet Bianchini said...


No worries! You can catch up with my presentation over on my blog, if you like. It's been an illuminating e-conference so far, and soon you can view all the recordings on the Reform Symposium website.

It's been hectic the past few days and I'm looking forward to getting back to normality by mid next week. I'll have much more free time then to keep up with all my fellow bloggers!

Have a nice Sunday.