Weekend Conversation: What’s The Best Excuse You Used To Steal A Day Off?

I don’t care what you say, you’ve lied to get out of work or school, and in those moments, your soul surely screams, Ich bin ein Ferris Bueller, baby. The only question is, how creative have you gotten? In honor of the 30th anniversary of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, we decided to ask some of our writers about their own imaginative sick-outs.

Sudden Blindness And Grandma’s Fake Funeral

When I was a kid we moved around a lot and I developed a pretty strong hatred toward school. Especially when I knew the situation was temporary, like when we were living in a hotel for a few months when my father had been transferred. During one such educational layover, I dedicated myself to absenteeism. I think I must have been 12 at the time. Unfortunately, the problem got so bad that a truancy officer and a teacher had to come fetch me. Flushed with the realization that I wouldn’t be able to chill out and watch cartoons all day, I panicked and declared that I was blind. They were unconvinced.

A decade later, while working in retail, I again tried my hand at a grandiose performance piece in an effort to get time off; this time, so I could hang out with my then-girlfriend (now wife) for the weekend. This attempt involved a staged phone call and an emotional breakdown that went from the front end of the store back to the break room and out the front door as my girlfriend consoled me. At its height, I sort of threw myself into the arms of the manager on call as I fake cried about the loss of my grandmother (she was fine) and how she had raised me (she did not). Ah, youth. I had a great weekend, by the way. Thank you for asking. – Jason Tabrys

Calling In Sick

I’ve never been one to take unnecessary days off work, maybe because I’m terrified I’ll be caught in my lie. The one time I tried to call in sick, though, was the afternoon of my baptism. Straight out of the cleansing waters, I called up my manager, put on my roughest, most weary voice, and told him I was ill. Unfortunately, it didn’t work at all — I’m pretty sure he just thought I had a hangover. He told me to take some Advil, come into work, and go from there. – Emily Huffman


This isn’t my excuse, but it’s too good not to share. The best get-out-of-work excuse I’ve ever heard belonged to my friend Jason, who, some time during our college years, told a place he worked for that he’d taken a shortcut through a construction yard the night before and fell in a hole too deep to climb out of, and had to wait for a worker to come by with a ladder. He was betting that this fake excuse would be too bizarre to question, and he was right. Only a certain kind of genius could pull something like that off. – Vince Mancini

Back Sprain

I had a minor back sprain once when I was freelancing so I couldn’t use it as an excuse to miss work. This bummed me out and I made a mental note to use the excuse in the future. A couple months after it healed and I had a regular job at a warehouse and didn’t want to go in one Friday, I called and told them “I sprained my back, nothing major, but I don’t wanna come in right now.” They understood. And everything I said was technically true just shifted through time a few months. – Jimmy Andreakos

Chunk Got Me Out Of Going To Church

My family lived right across the street from the church we attended. It took 30 seconds to arrive at God’s front door, so aside from a divine act by the man (or woman) upstairs, me and my brothers had no excuse to miss the latest sermon. Or at least that was the case until my prepubescent brain discovered the canned food we fed our dogs looked like puke. So I dumped some in the sink and smeared the rest of my face. It worked a little too well. – Andrew Husband

MLK Day, Learn About It!

In 2012, I was working a job I loathed as a social media manager at a horrific payday loan company, and it was very hard for me to pretend to give a f*ck. So, on my first Martin Luther King Day there, I just didn’t go in. I knew damn well that the company didn’t celebrate that holiday with a day off, I just didn’t care. When my boss called, I told her, “Oh, I never imagined that companies didn’t celebrate MLK Day! I thought we had the day off! I’m so sorry I didn’t come in!” She TOTALLY UNDERSTOOD and didn’t even count the absence in with HR. I went to a movie with my kid and husband (who both DID have the day off) and had an amazing day. – Jennifer Martin

So, what’s your “day off” excuse?