Liar! Liar! Zoom's on fire!
Got your invitation. I really wish I could Zoom with you, but (choose one):
A. I've already scheduled a high-level Zoom meeting with Oprah.
B. I've been abducted by Martians, and Martians, as everyone knows, prefer FaceTime.
C. I don't have a computer.
Did any of these lies satisfy you? If not, I've got plenty more. Once you've given up your childish belief in telling the truth, there's no limit to what you can get away with when it comes to getting away from a Zoom.
And that's important. For all the improvements going virtual has made in our work lives, a few elements of the bad old days still remain firmly in place. For example, whether in the conference room or in the ether, meetings still go on too long. Way too long. Personal conversations between you and your annoying co-workers can also go on too long, especially if you're the one who has to pretend to be listening.
Unfortunately, the tried and true excuses you could count on to extract you from a torturous meeting or a break-room confession are suddenly and sadly ineffectual. Case in point: You can't use the classic move of jumping up in a meeting, clutching your stomach and announcing you are sick and have to rush home. You already are home! (I suppose you could claim to be sick and have to rush into the office, but I'm not sure where that would get you.)
Other great "I have to rush home" excuses you can no longer use include, "I have to feed my dog" and "I have to turn off the stove." But let's be honest; those old chestnuts had lost their potency long before the coronavirus came along. Everyone knows you don't have a stove.
Joe Pinsker feels your pain. As the author of "The New White Lies of Lockdown," a recent and instructional post from The Atlantic, Pinsker doesn't castigate the new, new-age liars. He celebrates them.
"Between work, child care, and household chores, many of those currently cooped up at home have ample excuses for not socializing," he affirms. "Like poets working within a particularly constrictive rhyme scheme, they are innovating deceptions within the present limitations."