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Too lazy to make an excuse? Here you go
Scripps Howard News Service


December 05, 2005

Now that the holidays are upon us, let's talk about one of America's dark secrets: Many of us plan to play hooky from work.

We're all overwhelmed and time-crunched during the holiday season, and the weekends are jam-packed. When are you supposed to do the Christmas shopping? When can you find time to cook a 20-pound turkey and scrub the shower and otherwise prepare for the annual in-law invasion?

You won't admit it (certainly not to your boss), but you've probably held back a sick day or two for this very reason. You call your workplace, put on a hoarse voice, maybe even cough into the receiver a few times. You say you've "caught a bug" or "woke up feeling lousy" or some such tripe, then quickly hang up to avoid pointed questions about your recovery time. Then it's off to the mall for shopping and funnel cake, with only a smidgen of traditional holiday shame.

Some companies have changed policies so workers get a certain number of days off each year and can use them in sickness or in health. Employees can even plan days off ahead of time, with the full knowledge of the boss, and can put aside the sickbed theatrics.

Other managers recognize the daily stresses of the job and encourage employees to take the occasional "mental health day." These could also be called "we-need-you-here-so-take-a-day-off-before-you-go-completely-nuts days."

Whatever you call them, they're a good idea.

Alas, many employers aren't so enlightened. For them, we need to cook up excuses. But there's no reason to stick to the tired old "calling in sick" routine. Be creative! Some suggestions:

Call in harried: Say to your boss, "I'm facing too much holiday prep to waste time at my desk. See you after New Year's."

Call in ill-prepared: "I didn't get that report done in time for today's presentation. Tell the clients I'm sick."

Call in well: "I'm sorry, but I simply feel too good to come to work today."

Call in sleepy: "I can't (yawn) possibly make it to work today. I can't even (yawn) get out of bed. Nighty-night."

Call in fat: "Can't work today. Too much turkey. I can't fit into any of my pants."

Call in ugly: "Sorry, but I look too hideous to work today. Woke up with a nose zit the size of a chestnut. My eyes are puffy and my hair's all on one side of my head. I'll return when I won't scare away the customers."

Call in psychotic: "Trust me. The mood I'm in, you don't want me in the office. Not if you want everyone to survive the day."

Call in bored: "Won't make it today, boss. The job is simply too tedious to face. I'll do something interesting today, then come back there tomorrow for another dose of ennui."

Call in hammered: "Too much (hic!) holiday cheer last night. Didn't get home until 4 a.m. Expecting a hangover to hit about noon. See you tomorrow. Maybe."

Call in guilty: "Um, yeah, listen, I won't be in today. I've got to dig a shallow, er, hole in the back yard, and there's a big mess I've got to clean up. Don't mention it to anybody."

And my personal favorite:

Call in 6: "Hello? Hi, it's me. I'm too fun-loving and immature to come to work today. I'm gonna build a fort out of blankets under the dining table and read comic books with a flashlight. I'm gonna play outside this afternoon, then watch cartoons until bedtime. See you tomorrow, after I'm all growed up. Bye-bye!"


Redding, Calif., author Steve Brewer's latest book is called "Bank Job."
Contact him at ABQBrewer(at)

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