I need a new excuse...

… or just more of them. My standard answer when I’m asked to do something I have absolutely no desire to do (like move cinderblocks from a friend’s basement Saturday afternoon) is “I’d love to but I’m washing my hair that day. Or I have a cake in the oven. Or I have an arms deal in Tangiers. I don’t remember which.” Well, that’s getting a bit old; I think I got it originally from Bored Of The Rings. So, are there some different excuses I could put in there? I’d like to still keep the one about the arms deal in there. It lead to an amusing conversation with some guy I knew who lived in a barnhouse and had a cinder block problem.

I’m surprised you still have friends.

I’m having my house moved six inches to the left.
I’m shooting an ad with Linda Ronstadt for my snow plowing company.
I’m having a kidney transplant.
The Pulitzers are going to be announced that day, so I need to stay close to the phone.
I have a friend who’s a rodeo clown and I promised I’d fill in for him.

So, what do you say to a friend who lives 3 states away asks you to stop by to move some cinderblocks from his basement?

My work bestie and I were just talking about “excuses that no one will challenge you on, ever.” In our case, we were fantasizing about ways to get out of a monthly, extremely boring and unproductive meeting.

Best one: “I’ve pooped my pants and have to go home.”

“That’s when I’m scheduled for a colonoscopy.”

And don’t forget, Jeff, if they’re doing it on Saturday, “Can’t; it’s Shabbes.”

A friend would not ask me to do that.

I like them both.

Oh, I just remembered, “I can’t, I have cramps.”

I find that no-one ever questions an excuse that makes you look stupid. So something like, “Sorry I can’t because I fucked up my hand by closing my own car door on it,” works. Maybe, “For the next year I’m not allowed out on weekends without Betty because I was fucking some woman I work with. And Betty isn’t free that day.”

Weekend detention used to be a fine excuse until they did away with it. No-one likes to ask why you are doing time, even if it’s only weekend time.

Howard Wolowitz (Big Bang Theory) has some hilariously horrific ones. I don’t have specifics, but along the lines of “That’s the day I grate the dead skin off my Mother’s heels.” It’s really the squicked out shudder that sells it.

I volunteered for a medical trial so I’m in quarantine on the weekends. Yeah, they’re using live virus apparently . . .

I have a weekly appointment to get my abscess drained.

The voices said “no.”

The Mothership will be in range soon; I have to get the beacon going.

I’ll be working on my car. Yeah, gotta replace those muffler bearings.

I’m already scheduled on a charity cinder block moving that day.

You want me to do what? Drive three states over and help you move cinder blocks?

Nope. I don’t like you that much.


I’ve got a lot of work to do around the bed to do first.


Sure thing, just let me finish this 12 pack first.


Do as Nancy Reagan told us. Just say no.

Moving cinderblocks?

You have a bad back.

If the date is far enough in advance:
[li]I have a funeral that day.[/li][li]I have an emergency scheduled for that day.[/li][/ul]

Miss Manners (columnist Judith Martin) says you don’t need an excuse not to do something. In fact, offering an excuse only gives the OP something to react to, attempt to work around, offer an alternative, etc. She says all you have to say is, “I’m sorry, it’s just impossible.” No more. And keep repeating that until the OP stops asking.

“Hey, Bob-- can I count on your to come by next weekend and help up move those cinder blocks?”
“I’m so sorry, but it’s just impossible.”
“Wha–? We were expecting you. We really need the help. There’s lots of beer in it for you.”
“Sorry, Impossible for me to make it.”
“Why? What’s so important?”
“No can do.” <shakes head> “Just impossible. Gotta run. Talk to you later.”

I can’t; I am installing sky hooks that day.

“I have a prior engagement, which I shall make as soon as possible.”

“I would if I could, but I don’t want to, so I can’t.”

Something like this?

Sorry — I have a life. Or my usual fallback of walking my goldfish.

(I had a pair of those shoes way back when)