10 Excuses That Will Always Work

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It was a wise man who once said, “Listen, I can’t make it to the game tonight. I, uh, have to tutor my…nephew – Yeah, he’s got an exam tomorrow…geometry…you know, trapezoids, rhombus…Anyway, listen, you take the tickets. They’re at the Will-Call window. And I’m really sorry…Have a good time.” That wise man was Jerry Seinfeld. He came up with this excuse on the spot, but quickly realized that, like a cat’s lives, these soon run out too. His solution? “Some kind of excuse Rolodex”—and a fine idea if I do say so myself.

1. “I have swine flu!”

The essential ingredient to this excuse is “swine flu,” or, the mention of a widely stigmatized and dreaded disease.

2. “I would, but Andy Samberg asked me out.”

You’d really have to be Stalin to insist on hanging out after your friend—or even an acquaintance—has told you that she has a date with Andy Samberg.

The key to this excuse is the man chosen as your “date” for the night. A hasty pick might yield an ugly face (say, Jason Biggs), giving your excuse zero weight.

3. “Ah…can’t tonight, got that Simon and Garfunkel concert I told you about.”

Notice the “I told you about”—it’s a nice touch, especially if you haven’t already told them about it. It gives off the impression that you care, when in actuality…you don’t. I chose Simon and Garfunkel here, but if you don’t think your friend would believe you when you claim to like 65-year-old dad music—it’s okay. Any band or musician will do, so long as they’re nearing death, very rarely go on tour, or are performing for their last time and after a very long hiatus.

4. “Ugh, I wish! But I tore my hamstring in trikonasana.”

If you’re thinking that a torn hamstring is not a serious enough injury to use as an excuse, then you’d be right, and a rather astute reader! For, the meat of this excuse does not lie in the actual injury mentioned, but rather the word choice of your excuse. Specifically the word “trikonasana,” a tongue twister, and a word that will surely leave the other person confused. You see, casually tossing in “trikonasana,” you divert the listener’s attention away from what you’re doing (making up an excuse) and on to this word, the meaning of which they’re probably curious to know. Remember: a distracted person makes a gullible person.

5. “Can’t, free trip to Vail FTW!!”

True, the delivery here is a tad dismissive, but it’s also realistic. Think about it: if you were invited on a trip to Vail, all expenses paid, you’d be in a FTW, self-important kind-of-mood too.

6. “Babe, you know I would, but I have to get a good night’s sleep for my klan meeting in the morning.”

The goal with this variety of excuse is to shock the listener into a state of fear and disbelief, wherein he/she wants to end the conversation as soon as possible without offending you. Vital to this recipe is delivering the haunting word(s)—in this case “klan”—with a tone that’s at once nonchalant and deadpan.

7. “You should’ve asked me earlier! I have to go teach disabled children.”

I hate to bring up Stalin again but you’d really have to be of his caliber to insist on tearing someone away from volunteer charity work.

8. “Damnit—it’s the same time I’m supposed to receive my Nobel Piece Prize.”

Integral to this flavor of excuse is, as you can probably guess, the type of award that you claim to be receiving. Choose the award wisely; even an Emmy these days will barely hold up next to a trip to Six Flags.

9. “Sorry, but there’s currently heaps of blood escaping my vagina.”

Note that this will work tremendously better if used on men rather than women. Here, the main ingredients are twofold: ambiguity and detail. “Heaps of blood escaping my vagina” could obviously imply your period, but since your period isn’t explicitly stated, the true meaning of this is really left up to the listener’s imagination. And though it is an ambiguous statement, it still contains enough detail to make the listener writhe in discomfort and lose interest in seeing you.

10. “Oh fuck me, I have jury duty.”

This one is by far the best excuse—it always works and it takes the blame entirely off of you. Because if there’s one plus to jury duty it’s that it’s the law, and therefore cannot be rescheduled or pushed back to make room for lunch with your aunt. Using jury duty as an excuse, the responsibility of conjuring up an excuse is naturally taken out of your hands. You can even put your hands up in the air when giving the excuse, as if to say, “Wasn’t my idea!” You’re welcome. TC mark

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