The nation excuses...

The Canadian alibi.

A colleague of mine just returned from her holidays in Canada. She went back late to the office, one day after her planned return date and simply pretended that she got stuck in a chalet after some
rocks fell on the road and blocked the traffic up and downhill for several days.

Credit: JONATHAN HAYWARD / AP on Seattle Times site

Rocks? Well, back home, we call that pebbles or possibly stones, but rocks? That must be this classical North American enthusiasm for superlatives, I guess.

Cultural story-telling.

Anyway, I could not stop thinking that the rock slide story was probably one of the greatest excuses I have heard for long. That and its contender "I could not finish my paper yesterday because my parents were kidnapped by extra-terrestrials" are certainly amongst my favourites. But you must acknowledge that the advantage with Canada is that it makes the excuse plausible. Where else on earth could you pretend to be isolated in a mountain resort due to a rock slide?

Now that raises an interesting question: are there any cultural bias in alibi and excuses? If you live close to Roswell maybe the above-mentioned claim becomes credible. If you are a French citizen, you can always claim to have been stuck due to unforeseen strikes. And again it is a very probable story. As a matter of fact during one of my last trip back home I almost missed my late night Eurostar connection after some Britons decided to blow up train voltage transformer to protest against some random political decision around closing a hospital (what would have happened if they got injured doing so? Where would they have gone to?).

Up to you.

The thing is, I am a traveler and tend to move from country to country. As a result, I need to enrich my portfolio of excuses in case one day I oversleep with locally suitable alibis.

This leads me to the following question to you: Wherever you are from, can you share with us the most probable excuse you have or would use to explain a delay?

I am looking forward to reading you, and remember: "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
Winston Churchill (1874-1965)


  1. Canada again, although in fact it was more of a US tweak... A colleague who was in Atlanta a few weeks ago for our big summit I mentioned earlier in my posts, had an extra day off offered by his ariline company. The reason? On their way back to Paris, a young boy had written on the toilet mirror that there was a bomb in the plane... Obviously no joke accepted in that kind of threat, so they were forced to land in Canada and all the passengers had to go through individual investigations. Just in case. 24 hours isolated in Canadian hotel for a pseudo terrorist attack. Nice excuse again, although it starts to be overused. Terrorist threats tends to be a nice alibi to deploy military operations in other countries. Thank you W.

  2. Just received this one from my colleague, and to be fair, the Batman excuse is very very very valid!!!