Excuses, excuses

We just discovered a new family game!  My 12-year-old daughter, who taught it to us, scornfully insists that it’s actually called “Excuses,” and not (sneer) “Excuses, Excuses,” but I think it’s funnier my way, and anyway, who is she?  Does she have a blog?   Oh, well, actually, she does.  But we are good parents, and don’t let anyone look at it.  Ha ha!

Anyway, we’ve been playing this new game in the evening after supper, when it’s too darn hot to be inside, but no one wants to fish the football out of the bushes.  It’s good for ages 6 to adult, I would say, and it’s very easy to drop in and out of.  It’s also entertaining to watch, if you can’t, won’t, or are too fat to play.

The basic set-up is this:  one person is the boss, one person is the employee who is late for work, and one person is the co-worker.  The boss faces the employee, and the co-worker stands behind the boss, so the employee can see him, but the boss cannot.

The boss barks at the employee, “Why were you late?”  The employee starts to make his excuses — but he has to describe what the co-worker is miming.  Remember, the boss can’t see him.

So the co-worker is marching, dancing, swatting imaginary flies, being strangled, fighting invisible gorillas, etc., and the employee is narrating it.

Then the boss, at any point he wants to, whips his head around to and yells at the co-worker, “What are you doing?”  And the co-worker has to instantly come up with a plausible explanation for whatever he was caught doing.  If he was acting out “killing a bear with my teeth,” for instance, he might say, “Oh, I was just eating one of these crullers.  Thanks for the crullers, boss!”

If the boss likes the excuse, he says, “Okay,” and the game resumes.  But if he doesn’t, he says, “You’re fired!” and the next person gets to be the co-worker.

Did I explain that right?  It’s seriously a lot of fun, and I’m so happy to know it, because if we had to play Simon Says one more time, Simon was going to say–

Well, I gave it a whole hour and a half, and even Googled “go play in traffic,” but I didn’t get to the end of that joke.  Sorry, folks.  Refunds at the door.


  1. Cool! I’m wondering, though, if my kids will even understand the concept. In fact, I can hear it now:

    “You want me to what? Act something out? Wait – make it up and act it out?”

    “I can’t tell what he’s acting out! He’s not doing it right!”

    And, finally,

    “Waaah! I don’t want to be fired! I quit!”

    What are you guys? The Waltons?

  2. This sounds like SO much fun! I can’t wait for my kids to get a little older so they can play. (But yes, I can see my oldest child dissolving into hysterics if/when she gets fired.)

  3. I … I don’t know what to tell you. It’s possible that I wrote “ages six to adult” even though the only people who play it at our house are between ages 9 and 12. Also, I was going to demonstrate the game by posting a video, but nobody was being very funny because I had just finished yelling at them for not doing it right.

    I think it helped that I didn’t teach them the game. The other day, one of my kids was telling me, “You know, we never learned all those typical childhood songs when we were little.” I said, “That’s because you moaned and howled whenever I tried to sing to you. She said, “Yeah, that sounds right.”

  4. sounds like fun. and what is it with kids telling us not to sing? I NEVER let my poor mother sing to me, my brother and I couldn’t stand the cheerfulness or something. Alice likes when I sing with/for her, but unless it’s at bedtime Thomas always yells “stop it, stop it!” And unlike my mom, I can actually carry a tune. 😛

  5. I love that game. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

    I invented a game when I was a kid that I called for some unknown and unrelated reason Don’t Spill the Beans. One person would be It and the others stood still as a statue. When the It person passed by the other players, within touching distance, one person would decide to say/yell “Don’t Spill the Beans”. Then the “It” person would chase the speaker around the yard. But if the speaker passed within touching distance of another statue player and that player yelled “Don’t Spill the Beans” then the first runner would have to stand still immediately and the “It” person had to chase the new speaker. The round was over when someone was caught.

    It was actually a pretty fun game, especially when the first runner would freeze and fall to the ground and the “It” person would have so much momentum that they would go flying in the air over the newly frozen player.

    Oh, and my oldest loves being sung to. My second absolutely hates it and has since she was a baby. The third likes it at bedtime if she picks the song. We’ll see about new #4.

  6. Heck, we’ve been playing a version of this for years. It has endless variations. My favorite is, “Why did you leave a popsicle on the piano keys?” or “Why is there a lizard in the microwave?” Whichever child I find first is “It” and makes up brilliant excuses while the other kids hide.

  7. Of course, what really makes the awesomeness of the game shine through is the photographic illustration. The boss is reproving, the employee is dissembling, and the co-worker is…Frankenstein?

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