Like many of you, I live in a world of deadlines. I’ve got one for this very column you’re reading, another for a contract I’m reviewing and one for a church project. I’ve even got one for my wife’s upcoming milestone birthday. Naturally each carries penalties for being late, and you can guess which deadline would be the most painful to miss.
Through the years I’ve become a certified blue ribbon-winning deadline misser, an expert at massaging my way through excuses and negotiating extensions. It’s a vicious cycle: If I had a nickel for every occasion I had to buy myself more time, I would have spent all those nickels.
I’m not a newbie to this game. I’ve been waving to passing deadlines since I was a kid. You said that book report is due by what day? Tomorrow? My room cleaned by what time? Six? Potty trained by what age? Seven?
The latest deadline costing me sleep is for my fall 2011 novel. I can’t tell you the title yet, and I can’t tell you what it’s about, but I can share one juicy nugget: It’s not done. Let me clarify: It’s kinda sorta done. And by kinda sorta I mean – not really. I’m still editing, proofing, dotting my I’s and squiggling my S’s.
To keep my editor and his trusty assistant from hunting me down and handcuffing me to my laptop, I’ve rolled out some of my time-tested, mother-disapproved excuses. They’ve served me well through the years. May you find them equally useful.
The top 10 excuses for missing a deadline:
1. Did you mean Eastern Standard or Hawaii Standard Time? I’m 1/64th Polynesian, plus I had ham and pineapple pizza last night.
2. “The Brady Bunch” was on, the one where the boys want a rowboat and the girls want a sewing machine, and they compromise on a color television. That episode taught me something your science project couldn’t.
3. My teddy bear bore a cub overnight, but it wasn’t stuffed. We had to rush him to Build-A-Bear.
4. Two words: "American Idol."
5. I’m late with this assignment because I haven’t actually read the book, and I thought your keen sense of morality would appreciate honesty much more than a faked report.
6. I got a flat tire on the way to school but had no spare. I’d forgotten that I put it on my elderly neighbor’s station wagon during last week’s hailstorm.
7. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately. My DVR is almost out of space, and I’m still behind on "Cake Boss."
8. My kids needed some daddy time, and I felt it was important to take a few days off. Why don’t you want my children to be happy?
9. My crops have been struggling with the harsh weather, and I’ve had to commit a lot of extra time to working the fields. Farmville is a lot more difficult than it looks.
Whoops, no time for No. 10. My deadline has passed. If you have a spectacularly bad excuse you’ve heard or used, share it in the comments.