Monday, 9 July 2007

Excuses published July 8
There comes a time in everyone’s life when certain behaviours we are not proud of insist on taking themselves for a walk on a repetitive basis. Eventually it becomes evident that you need to come up with an explanation for these stray puppies of abnormal conduct.
For celebrities this is not a problem. Paris? ADD. Lindsay? Addiction to painkillers. Britney? Addiction to painkillers and buying wigs.
It could be reasonably argued that celebrities actually need a bit of a disorder to do what they do so abnormal is the desire to be famous, to give up any pretence of privacy and find God.
But when it comes to being just a normal person with an annoying tendency towards bad behaviour then we have to work harder. Which is when the disorder de jour becomes very useful.
A few years ago Autism was all the go. Don’t feel like mixing and mingling? Keep laughing at the wrong place in the joke? Can’t look anyone in the eye? You’re not rude you’re Autistic. Feel free.
Then along came Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD. Can’t be bothered listening? Keep walking out of the room at the wrong time? Always on the go? This one can cover a lot of ground on any given day.
And lately Aspergers is all the rage. Bit clumsy? Not good in a social situations? Can’t read body language? Go for it.
The wonderful thing about having a disorder de jour in your back pocket is that no one questions it. You can be in the middle of the most disgraceful behaviour in a busy restaurant such as pulling a woman’s hair while screaming abuse at your boyfriend about supposed indiscretions and simply ask that people respect your behaviour due to a diagnosis of ADD combined with a touch of Dyslexia. You can guarantee they will back off in an instant in an effort to be seen to be a caring politically correct member of society. And no one will ask you to sign the bill thinking Dyslexia means you can’t write your own name and go around the place marking “X” on legal documents.
You can also use it for explaining away work issues such as boring everyone rigid with extensive logic arguments about the storage of paper clips (Asperger's) or repetitive behaviours such as insisting on stacking the toilet paper rolls neatly in the toilet (Asperger's, Autism) or just losing it on any given day (Autism).
Which takes care of the behavioural side of your demeanour. But there are still certain behaviours that require excuses such as not turning up at work. What you need then is the disease de jour.
For many years the two words “women’s” and “problems” were sufficient to buy you anything from a day off work to a full scale six weeks if “surgery” was required. Although it can also be categorised as a disorder de jour to explain away general moodiness and hypersensitivity.
But then male bosses stopped turning pale and shaky at the slightest mention of “down there” because they were cool and modern and with it. Suddenly they started actually asking how heavy your flow was and had you considered the possibility of fibroids? Apparently his wife has them. Now you’re pale and shaky.
These days we’ve had to be a bit more creative and call in Irritable Bowel Syndrome but even then they insist on suggesting that your farting was actually getting a little out of control in the office.
The key is to find something no one knows about. Can I suggest Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome which according to Paula Abdul is why her behaviour on Idol was so loopy. Not the drugs after all. Hard to diagnose, this disease causes the nervous system to begin behaving erratically. Brilliant.
Or how about Simmering Kidney Disease or one of the many illnesses caused by mosquito bites? Allergies are also ensured a long life span due to pollution of our environment. All you need to do is sneeze a lot and remember not to eat dairy when the nibbles tray goes around at staff drinks.
At the moment I’m working on a suitable disease to explain why I went to the Kathmandu sale 10 days ago, bought six thermal tops and haven’t stopped wearing them since, even to bed. Ah yes, SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Apparently I can also gain weight and refuse to get out of bed. Loving it.

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