Conor Cawley: Technology – Your Best Excuse

You wake up and your alarm clock reads, “10:38am.” Your brain kicks into overdrive. “What day is it? Is it the weekend? Is it a national holiday? Do I have work today? I do have work today. I’m an hour and a half late to work. I’M AN HOUR AND A HALF LATE TO WORK! How is that possible?!” You forgot to set your alarm. And while this excuse reeks of laziness and disorganization, it is still a relatively viable excuse for your agonizingly silly blunder.

As a young child, I always assumed that this poor excuse for an excuse would fall by the wayside. The primary line of thinking being that, eventually, alarm clock technology would become so hi-tech that there would be no way that anyone could possibly roll into work late because they clicked “PM” instead of “AM.” But that has not happened, because there isn’t enough technology in the world to make people remember the simplest things. And if it did exist, it wouldn’t be wasted on waking you up in the morning. After all, alarm clock-related incidents are almost exclusively caused by human error.

So if alarm clock malfunctions are the bottom of the excuse totem pole, then what other technological advancements with unavoidable electronic downfalls can be used to your advantage? How about email? If I can be completely honest, at least one out of every four college papers I wrote were submitted late because I “typed in the wrong teacher’s email address,” which is the “my dog ate my homework” of college excuses. But a teacher isn’t going to fail a student for spelling their name wrong on an online document. And I know I’m not the only one who did this so don’t go getting all judgmental on me just yet.

Oh come on, don’t get all bashful. You’re telling me that you’ve never seen a text message from a friend and ignored it. And then, when confronted by that person days later, responded by saying, “Oh man! My texts haven’t been coming through. It’s a new phone. And I lost my charger and the screen cracked and blah blah blah…” It happens! And it’s a reasonable and polite excuse for the alternative which is, “Sorry, I have a super bad memory and you’re not a priority!”

So why do teachers and friends believe you when you say that you didn’t turn in that paper or return that call due to a technological mishap? Mostly because nobody wants to discover that their friends, students or just people in general are liars. It is also partially because society will always prefer new technology with fancy features to old technology that works flawlessly every time. In a few years when email IS perfect, nobody is going to be using it. We are going to be sending our messages via holograms like Princess Leia. “Help me move, Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope to get this couch out of my living room.” And of course, Obi Wan Kenobi is going to respond a few days later, “Oh man, I’m so sorry I just saw this! My R2-D2 has been on the fritz lately because I lost my charger…”

If you really think about it, technology is not the downfall of society that everyone deems it to be. The year 2015 is not that different from the year 15 when it comes whether or not people will make up excuses to avoid doing things they don’t want to do. So, honestly there isn’t really any hope for technology not to fail on us for our own personal gain. The chain of inconsistency goes back as far in time as you can remember:

“Sorry I didn’t turn in my paper, my typewriter broke down.”
“Sorry I didn’t turn in my paper, our only candle went out last night.”
“Sorry I didn’t turn in my paper, my parents died of smallpox.”
“Sorry I didn’t turn in my paper, fire hasn’t been discovered yet.”
“Sorry I didn’t turn in my paper, need food.”

There will always be a reason not to do something. As the undeniably crude yet wildly appropriate saying goes, “Excuses are like assholes; everybody has one and they all stink.” So, instead of using technology to do as little as possible, use it to motivate yourself to create something great. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll be the next generation’s fool-proof excuse.



  1. Regarding employers, I find that it helps to admit something completely true but embarrassing once (Ex: “I’m sorry I’m so late. I had a few too many drinks last night. Won’t happen again.) and then they will be more apt to believe any other excuse you end up using.

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