red time stories

Don't put off until tomorrow that which you can do today. Wise words, some consider, but with a bit of thought I came up with Red's revised real-world version. How about: Don't put off until tomorrow that which you can put off until the day after tomorrow. Sometimes there are just too many things to squeeze into your daily diary.

Oh, but you've committed yourself to something. No problem. Honesty may be a virtue, but delaying is no sinful vice.

The key is the method employed in the deferral procedure. It's no good coming in 10 minutes after you're due at a managerial meeting and expecting the boss to swallow a "my dog died" story. You have to deliver it better than FedEx and throw in a healthy dose of creativity. Like standup comedy, the golden rule is to never use the same gimmick twice.

If you're in Russia, you've already got a strong hand and I'll even get you started -- this could backfire if your boss reads this column. Red warns readers that these excuses are about to be included in a "1000 Excuses for $19.95" dodgy e-mail marketing campaign; stay clear of it.

Although annoying when checking documents, your friendly neighborhood militsia are a godsend when it comes to that soccer game inconveniently scheduled at the same time as your girlfriend's birthday party. Forget the girl, strap your hooligan gear on and don't be shy with the vodkas. When you see your beloved tomorrow, she has to believe that last night was hell, because you're going to tell her you spent it in jail when a policeman wouldn't believe your visa was real. Sell the story hard and don't hold back when you're describing which body parts the interrogators strapped the electrodes onto.

For those in need of a two-week extension to study time but unable to induce a convincing fever, I have the answer. Head injury. That's right -- concussions are diagnosed based on the symptomatic behavior of, well, being concussed. The trick is to repeat yourself as often as possible, and don't be afraid to fake a seizure if the doctor doesn't take you seriously. Remember, first impressions count, so always ask the doctor who he or she is at least seven times.

Be careful of pulling out "traffic was terrible," as everyone's used that one before. Unless you're prepared to go old-school and cause a 12-car pileup for the required dose of realism, I strongly advise a different approach.

Don't let yourself be discouraged by some initial setbacks. Sure, sometimes they'll be suspicious, but hey, we live in a suspicious world -- just make like OJ Simpson and say "I didn't."