Everyone needs a good excuse now and then. For when we forget appointments. For when we skip deadlines. For when we neglect homework. For when we fail to return from lunch.
Unfortunately, a snow day in late April is not all that convincing. And Spring Fever is not really considered legitimate. And "the dog ate my homework" is just so . . . old school.
But a volcano! Now we are talking!
My wife wants to know why I didn't wash the car over the weekend. Eyjafjallajokull I tell her. They can't fly rags in from Europe. Besides, in a few days the car may be covered with ash anyway.
And then, in convincing self pity, I inform her that my last minute plan to enter the Boston Marathon was foiled as well. My connecting flight through Reykjavik was cancelled. So there is no need to exercise anymore: I might have ash allergies. Plus ash is a carcinogen, and the last thing I need right now is lung cancer. How will I be able to wash the car if I am dead?
I gotta tell you, that Eyjafjallajokull volcano has screwed up my life!
Eyjafjallajokull. It rolls off the tongue like a good sneeze.
One of the more unfortunate aspects of the Eyjafjallajokull Glacier volcano, which has given so many people a legitimate excuse to spend a long, romantic weekend at four-star airline terminals throughout the world, is the poor choice of nomenclature.
Krakatoa! Now there is a volcano you can sink your teeth into!
And over the last week I learned that volcanologists are not, as I once thought, oddly dressed geeks who glorify Mr. Spock at Star Trek Conventions.
But worst of all are the brief clearings in the ash plume, which are embarrassingly called, well, let's just call them holes in the ash.
If you listen to the news commentators, then you no doubt know there are plenty of ash clearings in Washington DC, as well as several bright rays of executive sunshine illuminating Goldman Sachs right now.
It seems to me we live in a culture of blame. When things go horribly wrong in our lives, it is vitally necessary to find the people responsible and burn them alive at the stake; whether it is a lowly rogue mortgage broker, a greedy banker, George Bush, Baraq Obama, or Justin Bieber.
But in a refreshing turn of events, there really is no one to blame for the volcano. It is perfectly acceptable to smile, shrug your shoulders and say, Eyjafjallajokull!
That is of course, if you can pronounce it.
Heck, even lawyers are idle! Under normal circumstances I would expect to see suits with hefty damages brought against Iceland for igniting a volcano without a license. But thanks to Nancy Pelosi, all the crooked villains on Wall Street, and some others I am probably forgetting, Iceland has no money.
This leaves only god, who has even a worse credit rating than Iceland.
I tell my kids that blame is just a way to divert their attention away from the underlying issue. Fix the problem I tell them. And then I let them know I am not about to change the way I dress just so they can be less embarrassed in front of their friends.
This lesson has worked pretty well. Over the weekend they proudly identified me to their acquaintances as Eyjafjallajokull, a geeky foreign exchange student who is studying volcanology in Iceland.
My younger son even saw opportunity in the dramatic clouds of ash that brought Europe to a standstill. He wanted to set up a lemonade stand in Heathrow. My wife says he knows how to turn lemons into lemonade.
Given that we use concentrate, I am not sure what she means, although I was impressed with his entrepreneurial spirit. He will make a good Wall Street scapegoat someday.
Unfortunately I had to tell him that unless the British Navy wanted to pick him up, there was no way to get there. "Why don't we sell it over the Internet?" he asked.
I like that he looks for solutions.
But he brings up a very disturbing point: the volcano has done little to disrupt email. Which means I no longer have an excuse to abandon this column on a warm spring morning and go outside to wash the car. And worse, I don't even have anyone to blame if I do.
Oh wait . . . Justin Bieber. It's all his fault! Throw him in the lava and burn him!
Honestly, I fully intended to write something pointed and entertaining today, but my dog, Eyjafjallajokull, who I am training to eat email, is stuck at Charles de Gaulle airport and . . .