My father’s family is from rural Georgia, and his uncle, Lloyd Whippoorwill Harris, was known for being quite a character; among other things, he was infamous for his awful excuses. Whether out of distaste, disinterest, or sheer laziness, Lloyd would avoid partaking in unsought activities by crafting thinly veiled, and often nonsensical, explanations for why he couldn’t participate. He would use these silly alibis to avoid going to anything from a theatrical production to brunch with his wife and her bridge (the card game) friends. Every time, his goal was to make his resistance seem as though it had nothing to do with what he wanted, but, rather, was a function of variables that were out of his control. His most notorious and ludicrous excuse came one fateful Easter Sunday morning, when Mimi, his wife, demanded he accompany her to church. Lloyd was from a less religious background than Mimi and had no desire to sit in an uncomfortable pew and mingle with those obnoxious bridge women. According to the story, the first time she asked him why he couldn’t go, he responded that his back hurt, but she dismissed this excuse by reminding him that staying at home and watching TV was just as bad for his back as church and left him just as damned as before. The second time she asked him, he said that he needed to do some handy-work around their house. This attempt to dodge the bullet was even easier for Mimi to put down as she simply reminded him that he hadn’t done any work around the house for years and any claim that he was going to start all of a sudden was a barefaced lie. Flustered, and running out of generic defenses, Lloyd rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, paused, and, before Mimi could interject, proclaimed: “It’s too damn windy, I’m staying home” and walked away, victorious. These days, at family reunions, family holiday functions, and in day-to-day life around Harris kin, whenever someone doesn’t want to do something but doesn’t have a good reason why, he or she can simply say “It’s too windy” and get off the hook practically every time and make everyone laugh in the process.
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