AMBIENT THOUGHT – EPISODE One Hundred Ninety One: Is Your But A Joke?

The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.



“I attribute my success to this:—I never gave or took an excuse.”
― Florence Nightingale


Oh, man. When I was a kid, I always tried to come up with excuses for things my mom or dad wanted me to do.

Take out the trash.
In a minute. (it was always longer)
Clean out the cat box.
Why do I have to do it?Or ‘In a minute.’
Junior, you need to mow the lawn.
Ugg, again?’ Or… ‘In a minute.’

OK, my excuses were weak. And it was usually just ‘In a minute.’
But… I tried.

BUT… why?

These were things I knew I needed to do. I mean, I wanted that allowance to buy my books or my GI Joe’s. And the chores weren’t hard. Two of them took a minute or two and cutting the grass was actually fun. We had a riding lawn mower and I could listen to my Walkman. Plus, I could pretend I was driving a tank or cutting a path in the jungle to save some girl I had a crush on at the time.
Thanks to my imagination, I made my chores sort of my playtime.

BUT… getting me started was the problem.

I eventually started doing my chores without being asked. It finally sunk into my head that if I wanted new stuff (new adventures to go on in pages of a Stephen King book or adventures to do on with new GI Joe’s), then I need to do my chores and get that cash.

BUT… I think the main reason I started doing my chores without being asked was because of my dad.
No, he didn’t threaten me.
No, he didn’t hit me (or whoop me, as they say).
No. It was because he made my excuses into a joke.


Abbott and Costello

I need you to straighten up the garage.
Yeah, but…
‘Yeah but and Costello.
Or ‘It’s Abbott, not Yeah, but.’

It got under my skin every time. And he knew it.
That world-famous Elmore quick-wit.

And he never changed it. It was the same old joke every time.
I guess not only did I want the allowance but I just didn’t want to hear that joke again.
It worked with chores, school work, and, eventually, the world of actual work.

And now, at the old age of forty-eight, I always want to get my chores done before anything else.

BUT… it seems some people have not learned this.

They refuse to do the things they need to do because they are told to do so. They simply become unmovable and become deaf. They become defensive and standoffish. Their pride grows to such a degree that they become blinded and can’t see the truth just because somebody told them to do something that would be helpful and help them progress.
I can
excuse a child (like young Loyd Elmore Jr) because children can be lazy or going through an age where they start to push boundaries.
But an adult… well, my patience can quickly be strained and eventually cause my eyeballs to pop out of my skull and the top of my head blows off with the force of a plump of smoke and fire.
Or… I just walk away.

You see, very few excuses can be, well, excused.
Sickness or death of someone’s loved ones OR of the person that was supposed to do something is worthy of excuses. Their ‘buts’ can be accepted.
But… when an adult uses horrible excuses to keep from something they should do or have given their word to do so in the first place should be ridiculed and drawn and quartered. Especially when it’s a constant thing from a particular person, over and over and over.

BUT… am I being too harsh?

Perhaps… perhaps.

To spill my guts, I can still be guilty, from time to time, of spewing a few ‘buts’ and excuses when there is something I need to do. I can become complacent in my comfort and I don’t want it to be interrupted. And maybe a degree of that old laziness creeps in like when I was a kid.
I’m guilty of it.
But… it’s rare. There are a few things that I like about myself and that’s not letting chores and ‘must-do’s’ getting too long in the tooth. I like getting things done. That way, I can get them out of the way and put them in the past. THEN, if I choose, I can get lazy and make a place on the couch and veg out. I’ve earned it.

I thank my dad for making me that way. his silly joke that would get under my skin helped make me a person that you can depend on, that you can rely on, to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.

Plus, I don’t want to disappoint those that depend on me. It doesn’t matter if the chore is big or small, I want to do it quickly and correctly.

I’m not perfect by any means. I laugh at the thought.
BUT… I do wish a few more people kept their tried excuses and do what they should do.

BUT... I’m not holding my breath.

-Loyd Elmore Jr


I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.


One thought on “AMBIENT THOUGHT – EPISODE One Hundred Ninety One: Is Your But A Joke?

  1. I like that story about your Dad, and I’m glad that you link action with character and keeping our word.

    I have to admit that I often made excuses for not doing something a lot when I was a young adult, and after years of fussing at myself I eventually figured out I was often paralyzed with my own perfectionism. If the task was new to me, I was overwhelmed with fear of doing it badly. I disguised that fear because of false pride, I’m sure. I’m much better about accepting less than perfect results because of the level of courage that helped me do it at all. Helps me understand others who struggle to get something done sometimes, too. I see another crippled perfectionist.


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