We all have excuses, and that's a feeble excuse for my own failure to donate my own Type B+ blood as often as I should. But an announcement by the Red Cross suggests that all of us excuse-givers show up in the next few days to make sure the region's hospitals have enough blood over this holiday weekend to meet the demand for both emergency and scheduled surgery patients.

Terming the Labor Day weekend as critical, Dr. Paul McCurdy, the Red Cross regional director of blood services, said his agency has been able to "fill the orders of the 60 hospitals we serve but we have been unable to meet the increased demand that usually occurs right after Labor Day" when vacationers return for scheduled operations.

An average of 800 pints of blood must be collected daily, McCurdy said, to meet normal needs. Type O donors are especially needed, because half of all patients need that type. (Hey, there's an excuse for a Type B donor!)

Seriously, now: the Red Cross' main Charles Drew Blood Center, 2025 E St. NW, will be open today and tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The blood center at Children's Hospital, 111 Michigan Ave. NW, will be open today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Monday, Labor Day, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

They serve good doughnuts and coffee. And you leave with a sense of well-being.