Why the Airline Pilots' Excuses Aren't Cute

Only little kids get laughs for their outrageous explanations.

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GL Hoffman
Do you have a grandparent like this? A middle aged friend of mine recently visited her 90-year-old grandma in a local nursing home. “Oh my God, Joan,” Grandma said. “What happened to you? You are so fat.”

The older we get, the less we can count on the filtering system that allows us to think before we speak. It becomes—like standing up straight or smooth skin—just a fond memory. Like Grandma, or my Uncle Curly, older folks start saying what they want because, in their minds, it sure makes sense.

[See 20 temptations to fight at work.]

Every day, those of us who have not yet reached that age bracket fight this filter battle. Do we not? For example, you're thinking jerk when the boss stops by, but you are perfectly nice and smiley. "Everything is fine," I tell the waiter, when my eggs were cold enough to cool my coffee.

Even kids learn how to do this. Who among us didn’t try the old, "My dog ate my homework," excuse? We also learned our lesson—after being embarrassed in front of our fifth grade class, including little Suzie with the really cute smile. We learn that the things that sound so good in our minds need to be filtered a bit. We must ask: How will this play? Does this pass the smell test? What will others say? Do we care? Should I think a bit more about this excuse or this thought?

So, now we come to the airline pilots who missed Minneapolis by 150 miles. At first, they said they were arguing over airline policies. Oh.

[See 5 lessons from Brett Favre.]

Now, they say they were on their laptops checking out their schedules. (I see. Everyone can identify with spending too much time on the ‘puter. )

I think it is cute to visit Uncle Curly just to see what the heck he will say. His filter is broken, and so what?

Somehow it is less cute when airline pilots don’t know better.

G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig, which operates LinkUp, one of the fastest growing job search engines. His blog can be found at WhatWouldDadSay.com.