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If you don't believe me...

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Speech, tool use, retractable pencils and self-awareness have all been proposed, at one time or another, as factors that distinguish us from other animals. Yet, as we learn more about the natural world, animals have been found to use complex vocal communications (dolphins), to use and even make tools (crows), to use retractable pencils (pygmy anteaters) and to be self-aware (elephants).

No. What truly distinguishes us from other animals is our ability to invent excuses. Three hours late for a dinner date? The Piccadilly line was closed due to an escaped lemur. Missed a job interview? My house was struck by lightning and my alarm clock got fried. Failed to settle the Final Demand bill from the gas company? I was on my way to the post-box when I was mistaken for Kevin Keegan and had to hide from autograph hunters. We are the most creative species in this specialized area of invention.

Howevertheless, many of these otherwise excellent excuses fall apart upon closer scrutiny. Why was there nothing on the news about the lemur, the lightning, or the claimed sightings of Kevin Keegan in Chelmsley Bottom high-street?

Fortunately, these issues can now be resolved if you subscribe to If You Don't Believe Me, Inc. Simply send us a brief text message describing your predicament and excuse (for example "late 4 date - escaped lemur picadilly line - three hr delay from 6pm"). Within a few moments, you will be texted back with a 6-digit code (for example "123456", not that you needed an example of what a six-digit code looks like).

Now, if your date doubts your excuse, you can just borrow her smartphone and navigate to "Dailynews4ulocal.com/123456" and there, in all its glory, you will see news of all the day's events including, prominently, a report on the escaped lemur which held up trains on the Piccadilly line earlier that evening. Photographs can be included, for an additional fee, which is of course billed to your own phone.

If you take out Premium Membership, IYDBM will also subtly feed the news to the Daily Mail, who will reliably embellish it to involve immigrants and then print it on actual paper in tomorrow's edition.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 12 2019

[link]






       // distinguishes us from other animals is our ability to invent excuses //   

       To quote Homer Simpson: Weaseling out of things is what separates us from the animals. (Except the weasel.)
mitxela, Jun 12 2019
  

       [+] But a bit baked by Fox News - Trump's own private television news network.
xenzag, Jun 12 2019
  

       Ugh, not MORE fake news. What if my excuse conflicts with your excuse? It'll just end in a big pile of self- contradictoryness.
Which is pretty much "the internet", these days...
neutrinos_shadow, Jun 12 2019
  

       //What if my excuse conflicts with your excuse?// The two sets of excuses will never meet each other. You'll have your page of {news+excuse-support}, and I'll have mine. Two different web pages. Not the same web page. One web page, and then another one.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 12 2019
  

       // subtly ... the Daily Mail //   

       Yer 'avin a larf, ain't yer ?
8th of 7, Jun 12 2019
  

       That's what I went to college for. To become a Professional Excuse-Maker. And I was good. Very good, until I got old and then no one asked me to do anything anymore. Hahaha
blissmiss, Jun 13 2019
  

       Unfortunately, the "[+]" key on my keyboard has just been struck by lightning...
hippo, Jun 13 2019
  

       Should be possible to do it in a simpler way. Submit only your predicament, and the system's algorithm and highly-paid* offshore teleworkers will match it to a genuine item of real news.   

       So you text "late 4 date 12 Jun 19 22:15 - Wagfield - Piccadilly line - Thorpington - Dr. Beano's Indian Pizza Emporium" and the system will comb through the news feed to find a plausible story and will text you back with a complex narrative, with embedded links to Reuters and gov.uk and TOC refund pages along with other supposedly respected sources of information confirming the story.
pocmloc, Jun 13 2019
  

       ...waiting to see what footnote the asterisk in the annotation above will eventually link to...
hippo, Jun 13 2019
  

       //What if my excuse conflicts with your excuse?// Two late parties to the same affair? if not the host, someone is going to be embarrassed .
wjt, Jun 13 2019
  

       // waiting to see what footnote //   

       You may have to wait some time, as the cable carrying [poc]'s internet service has been severed by an incorrectly deorbited Nepalese surveillance satellite.
8th of 7, Jun 13 2019
  

       //severed by an incorrectly deorbited Nepalese surveillance satellite// - oh yes, I think I read about that
hippo, Jun 13 2019
  

       fake news [-] funny idea[+] original idea [+] well written idea [+] the fact that I can't award multiple buns [-]
Voice, Jun 13 2019
  

       So that's a [+] by majority, then?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 13 2019
  

       Don't thank me, thank my internal constituents.
Voice, Jun 14 2019
  

       [Max] It depends how many constituencies the electorate is divided up into and how the electorate is distributed. For example, if [Voice] is composed of two constituencies and the votes for constituency 1 are [-], [-], [+] and for constituency 2, [+], [+], then, on a first-past-the-post system, it's a dead heat, and you get a neutral vote.

In theory, [Voice] could be divided into three constituencies with votes distributed: 1 [-], 2 [-], 3 [+], [+], [+], in which case you would get a negative vote - but the Electoral Commission would have something to say about gerrymandering, and the unequal sizes of the constituencies.
hippo, Jun 14 2019
  

       // [Voice] could be divided into three constituencies //   

       Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres ? We have always thought there was something a bit odd there ... turns out [Voice] is french.
8th of 7, Jun 14 2019
  

       I'm pretty certain that the people who buy the actual hard-copy Daily Mail are only doing it because they need something to line the bottom of their bird cage with.

I would give this idea a bun but a herd of migrating wildebeests stole my left mouse button just as I was typing this. Bloody migrants!
DrBob, Jun 14 2019
  

       That's clearly fake news - the plural of wildebeest is wildebeest.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 14 2019
  

       It might have been an African swallow ...
8th of 7, Jun 14 2019
  

       I've never seen an African swallow. Dutch girls will, though.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 16 2019
  

       Huh? I thought at first it was some sort of blowjob joke, but that didn't end up making sense.
notexactly, Jun 19 2019
  
      
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