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It's Tết: The Liberating Magic of Using Tết as an Excuse for Everything

I hate excuses.

The only thing worse than lying to oneself is lying to another person, and whether it's feigning previous plans to justify turning down an invitation, or disingenuously blaming traffic for a late arrival, at the core of most excuses rests a lie.

Yet, my disdain for making excuses has one exception: Tết. The Lunar New Year is used to justify all sorts of professional and personal shortcomings. Payments not made on time? Emails not responded to? Construction left unfinished? Irresponsible spending at the mall? Drunk at 10am? It’s Tết (or It’s almost Tết or even, Tết just ended.) The phrase is close to a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card in the real world.”

I’m not suggesting that all of the behavior the holiday makes accommodations for is good, and there are of course annual actions such as increased crime and bribe harvesting that should never be waved away with a sheepish sentence, but don’t we all deserve a break? A break from expectations, arguments and disappointment. The explanation of It's Tết is an invitation for blind, beautifully unencumbered acceptance. Take a deep breath and relax, everything is going to be okay. What else is there to do about it, after all, It’s Tết

The nostalgic slumber of Tết time may be slowly disappearing, as evidenced by more shops and entertainment venues staying open, international trips gaining popularity, and laborious meals swapped out in favor of convenient pre-fab feasts. For years, editorials have been announcing its demise, but I will know it's truly changed only when I offer up It's Tết as an excuse and it's not accepted.

Vignette is a series of tiny essays from our writers, where we reflect, observe, and wax poetic about the tiny things in life.

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