IT’S NOT MY FAULT
By W. Bruce Cameron
I now have three teenagers under my roof. This is not my fault. It can’t be my fault, because with teenagers, nothing is anybody’s fault. Stuff just
happens for no reason, like floods, and with no explanation, like Wayne Newton.
Take, for example, the collision of our automobile with our mailbox. This is how my older daughter described what happened: “It wasn’t my fault. I was
just pulling up to get the mail and the stupid mirror hit the mailbox. It’s not my fault it sticks out so far it runs into things! They should make
You might suspect that my younger daughter’s room was at least partially the responsibility of my younger daughter, but you’d be wrong. “Oh, it’s not
my fault it’s so messy! Mom keeps bringing in laundry that falls on the floor!”
It’s not my son’s fault that at ten o’clock on the night before his science project is due, we’re running around trying to think of something that
doesn’t involve preparation. “The teacher said we weren’t supposed to ask our parents for help! I knew if I told you I couldn’t think of anything,
you’d try to help me!” he points out.
It’s clearly somebody else’s fault that my older daughter’s jeans went through the laundry with a lipstick in the pocket, so that now everyone in the
house owns an item of clothing scarred with splotches of greasy red. True, she put the pants in the laundry hamper, but “doesn’t anybody even bother
to check the pockets?” she demands, outraged.
It is the fault of neither of my daughters that most of our silverware is chipped and marred from being given a grinding ride in the garbage disposal.
I demonstrated how a quick probe of the fingers–with the unit turned off, naturally–could determine whether anything had fallen into the
rubber-ringed hole, but this was met with scorn. “Like, I’m sure we’re going to reach our hands into the garbage,” they scoffed.
It’s not my son’s fault that he was kicked off the school bus for “playing catch with a foreign object while the bus was in motion, striking other
SON: It wasn’t foreign, it was an apple! Where do they think apples come from, France?
FATHER: I think the point is, you hit a girl with a piece of fruit. If I were her father, I’d be pretty angry.
SON: Yeah, but you’d be an airline pilot.
FATHER: I…Okay, look. It causes us a lot of problems for you to not be able to ride the bus. We have to arrange rides, now.
SON: Well, that’s not my fault! It was the driver who kicked me off the bus!
FATHER: Because you hit the pilot’s daughter with an apple.
SON: That wasn’t my fault! She stood up just as I was throwing! You’re not supposed to stand up while the bus is moving; she’s the one who should have
been kicked off!
FATHER: But you threw the apple!
SON: Hey, it wasn’t my fault. Elliott threw the apple at me in the first place. All I did was catch it.
FATHER: And tossed it back.
SON: Well, what was I supposed to do, sit there holding Elliott’s apple? It’s not my fault, there shouldn’t be a rule against throwing something back
if while you’re sitting there Elliott yells “free apple” and then heaves it.
FATHER: I thought he threw at you?
SON: Well not exactly, I mean, he just threw it. Everybody went for it, but I got it after Adam dropped it on the floor.
FATHER: You mean to tell me you didn’t actually catch it? That it was just rolling around on the floor after everyone jumped for it like it was a
SON: Yeah, because at that point it was a free ball.
So now we all take turns driving our son to school. Theoretically, this gives him more time to get ready, because the bus leaves far earlier than we
do. Yet the first morning he was 45 minutes late, coming out to my car with a scowl on his face. “You’re going to be late to school,” I chided him as
I backed out of the driveway.
“Well that’s not my fault,” he advised me. “I’m used to riding the bus!”
Copyright 2005 W. Bruce Cameron. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.
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