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  • I explained that my schedule could not, at this time, accommodate such a task, seeing as how I was up to my ears in oversleeping, unfounded rumors and superficial friendships.

  • I'm so sorry not to have answered: like many people I toppled over into a flower bed in a faint that hot day and have been in bed.

    • Virginia Woolf,
    • in Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann, eds., The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume V: 1932-1935 ()
  • Excuse me, everybody, I have to go to the bathroom. I really have to telephone, but I'm too embarrassed to say so.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Margaret Case Harriman, The Vicious Circle: The Story of the Algonquin Round Table ()
  • When asked by Harold Ross, editor of The New Yorker, why she hadn't been in the office for a week to write her article:] Someone was using the pencil.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in S.T. Brownlow, ed., The Sayings of Dorothy Parker ()
  • When you're counting alibis and not apples, one plus one equals none.

  • When someone gives me three reasons instead of one, I'm inclined not to believe any of them.

  • There are reasons, and then there are excuses.

  • The trick is not how much pain you feel — but how much joy you feel. Any idiot can feel pain. Life is full of excuses to feel pain, excuses not to live, excuses, excuses, excuses.

  • It is little consolation, and no compensation, to the person who is hurt that the offender pleads he did not mean to say or do any thing rude: a rude thing is a rude thing — the intention is nothing — all we are to judge of is the fact.

  • Who is not apt, on occasion, to assign a multitude of reasons when one will do? This is a sure sign of weakness in argument.

  • Too many escape into complexity these days. For it is an escape for persons to cry, when this question of the equality of peoples is raised in India or in our own South, 'Ah, but the situation is not so simple.' ... no great stride forward is ever made for the individual or for the human race unless the complex situation is reduced to one simple question and its simple answer.

  • If me no ifs ...

  • I can't help it ... that's what we all say when we don't want to exert ourselves.

  • A multiplicity of explanations undermine their own credibility.

  • I attribute my success to this. I never gave or took an excuse.

  • There are always two reasons for anything. There is always the good reason, and there is always the real reason.

    • Michèle Bernstein,
    • 1957, in Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century ()
  • [To people whom she had not invited:] I wanted to ask you to my party, you know, but the State Department crossed you off my list.

  • I’m sorry I was / sick / on the road / at the gym / on retreat / meeting a deadline / buying socks / freaked out / watching baseball / painting / grieving / when you came to town.

  • I was too / broke / tired / busy / discouraged / dirty / unhinged / […] / to answer yr letter.

  • I’d love to send money (if I only had some) to / the UFW / Nalanda Translation Committee / […] / the Society to Lynch Newt Gingrich / & that new one: People Against Impermanence / (such a sweet idea) / ... / I don’t mean to ignore you / or hurt your feelings / but if it helps at all / feel free to ignore this note / I will understand.