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Excuse, Me?

September 30, 2008

When did the words "Excuse me" become a license to interrupt?

 

Ask your parents and they will tell you that the children of today are little undisciplined heathens who need a good spanking, not a time-out. Sorry Mom and Dad our generation does things differently – not always better, sometimes worse, but definitely different.

 

We are admittedly a more casual society these days allowing children to call us "Miss Amanda" instead of using our last names. It is especially hard for daycare kids to break this habit because their teachers are almost always addressed this way.

 

"Yes Sir" and "Yes Ma'am" have largely been ditched. Luckily "Please" and "Thank you" are still in vogue.

 

Okay, but here's my pet peeve, you knew there had to be one-excuse me. I've taught my children say it when they bump into someone or pass gas, but I've noticed a disturbing trend of children saying it over and over again in order to get your attention when you're in the middle of a conversation. Most of the time their needs are not urgent.

 

"Excuse me," a child says.

 

"Yes, hold on," I say hanging up the phone.

 

"Why is it raining?"

 

"Because God thought the grass needed watering," I say masking my passive aggressive frustration. I pick up the phone again and begin to re-dial the person I hung up on.

 

"Excuse me," the child says with even greater urgency.

 

"Yes," I put down the phone again.

 

"How does He know the grass needs watering?"

 

One question is fine, but it often goes on and on and on. The words are nice in theory, but not if they are overused. Its like saying it's okay to punch someone as long as you say "sorry" every time.

 

When my kids interrupt me I just put my hand up and say: "Mommy's talking, you'll have to wait until I'm done."

 

Now if the house is on fire or someone has a broken bone feel free to interrupt – and don't worry about saying "Excuse me."

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