02:10:51 am on
Friday 24 Mar 2017

Excuses Oft Used
David Simmonds

Web sites are hacked all the time, data stolen and web site users indignant. Suppose the hacked site has thirty-seven million users. What if every one of them registered in order to conduct some business he or she wishes to keep secret from someone else?


That is the dilemma facing Avid Life Media (ALM).

ALM owns AshleyMadison.com, a website for adulterers. The hacker, taking the credit, is the Impact Team. It has no sympathy for either the site or its, presumably, mostly, male, clients.

“Too bad for these men, they’re cheating dirt bags .... Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy and you didn’t deliver,” it states. It’s particularly too bad for ALM, which was planning to puts its principals in clover with a forthcoming public share offering.

It’s also too bad for those thirty-seven million users, who are going to have to be prepared to come up with some quick explanations for their bemused spouses, as well as employers, children and mothers, for being on the site. To make it easier for them, I offer up the following ten most handy excuses for use when all others fail.

Number 10 is Brazen Denial. “This is all a hoax. It’s a crude attempt to blackmail me, by making it seem my personal profile was on the site. The only company I’ve ever created a profile for is Sears; even then, only in their lawnmower department.” Author’s note: specific examples may change to suit the circumstances. For example, ‘Sears’ may become ‘Leon’s’; just be careful to adjust ‘lawnmower,’ as well.


The Hail Mary Play.

Number 9 is Hail Mary Play. “I did it for us. I knew that if I registered, there was a good chance the information would leak. Now, that it’s happened, we can sue Ashley Madison for everything it has. We can retire together and be happy ever after.”

Number 8 is Mistaken Identity. “It’s not me. It’s another Herman Munster who lives in Wellington, is seven feet tall and likes to have his toes tickled.”

Number 7 is Legitimate Purpose. “I admit I registered for the site. I did so because I was doing field research for a presentation I have to make at work on ethical dilemmas.” Author’s note: there are many variations on this theme, including ‘client development,’ ‘marketing research’ and ‘website design inspection.’

Number 6 is Innocent Intent. “I was surfing the web and after I had finished scanning the ‘10 worst facelifts ever’, I became curious as to whether Laura Ashley and James Madison had ever met. I found this site and rather stupidly thought one of the members of the opposite sex profiled on the site would know the answer.”


Technical Ignorance is always good for a try.

Number 5 is Technical Ignorance “Yes, I admit we had a computer at the time, but the only thing I knew how to access the internet for was online poker. How could I have done it? It must have been our seven year old.”

Number 4 is Noble Purpose. “I felt just awful doing it, but I had this persistent feeling that your sister-in-law was cheating on your brother. I did it because I wanted to spare him any more heartbreak, and I know you’ve never really cared for her, although personally I’ve always considered her rather hot. Oops; strike that last sentence.”

Number 3 is Unexpected Inference. “Sure, I admit I registered on the site, but it was just a fantasy. How am I ever going to hook up in real life with someone as far away as Moncton?” Author’s note: if the apologizer is from Fredericton or St. John, this example may have to change to Penticton.

Number 2 is Traditional Male Imperfection. “Yes, I admit it. I did register on the site. I’m a man and not perfect, but is any man perfect? If so, I’d like to meet him. Speaking of imperfection, wasn’t that tuna casserole we had the other night a little bit on the overdone side?”

I struggled over whether to include this one. It’s not as fresh as some other excuses, but the vein it mines is very rich. Note that I have not included such other male classics as the Willie Nelson, “You were always on my mind.” It wasn’t fun anyway: “Yes I cheated, but I was wracked with guilt the whole time, so it doesn’t count.” Conditional capitulation: “Please forgive me for I have sinned. Maybe you’d like to try it, too, so I can forgive you and then we’ll be all square.”

Number 1 is Straw Man. “I have to read the Wellington “Times,” so I can keep up with the dates for the church dinners. Every time I come across an article about those darn fools that run municipal council spending my money in some cockeyed way, I get so hot under the collar I lose my judgment and do stupid things. So, if there’s any blame to be passed around, blame The Times.” Author’s note: this one seems to me to be unanswerable.

 

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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