Top 15 Most Bizarre Reasons for Calling in Sick

According to this press release from Career Builder, over one-third of U.S. workers take fake sickies (sick days when they're not really sick). Personally I think that number is too low. The real number should be closer to 90 or 100 percent, because I don't know anyone who hasn't taken a fake sick day at some point. But then again, maybe all my friends and family members are slackers. The same press release also offers the 15 most bizarre reasons that people have offered for taking a sick day:

  • "I was sprayed by a skunk."

  • "I tripped over my dog and was knocked unconscious."

  • "My bus broke down and was held up by robbers."

  • "I was arrested as a result of mistaken identity."

  • "I forgot to come back to work after lunch."

  • "I couldn't find my shoes."

  • "I hurt myself bowling."

  • "I was spit on by a venomous snake."

  • "I totaled my wife's jeep in a collision with a cow."

  • "A hitman was looking for me."

  • "My curlers burned my hair and I had to go to the hairdresser."

  • "I eloped."

  • "My cat unplugged my alarm clock."

  • "I had to be there for my husband's grand jury trial."

  • "I had to ship my grandmother's bones to India." (note: she had passed away 20 years ago)

Business/Finance Health/Medicine

Posted on Wed Oct 20, 2004


At a place I was working at in 1999, someone once phoned in sick saying "I think I've got that Millenium bug that's been going round".

Two years ago, a colleague decided to phone in sick saying he'd been struck by lightning, in the middle of a great spell of weather, and there hadn't been a thunderstorm anywhere around at all.
Posted by Andrew Nixon  on  Thu Oct 21, 2004  at  05:26 AM
Well, at least some of those reasons could happen. Have you ever been sprayed by a skunk? That stuff doesn't come off. The rangers said to bathe in tomatoes/sauce, but HELLO!!! Where does one get a bathtub full of TOMATO? I was not going to the grocery store like that. Besides, where I work, HR will come to you and let you know that if you need help with your personal hygiene to please see Employee Assistance. I work for an insurance company, lots of people total their vehicles hitting cows.

The reason so many people play hookie, is because there's no longer "personal days" in the workplace. Only sick or vacation. And often, both sets of hours are in the same bank. (You get 40 hours of vacation, but if you're out a day, you're now down to 32 vacation hours...)
Posted by Maegan  on  Thu Oct 21, 2004  at  08:10 AM
Why don't they just say they have a vision problem!
They are in a situation in which they can't see themselves coming to work today-- Works for me!!
Posted by Glen K  on  Thu Oct 21, 2004  at  08:23 AM
But there is also a huge problem with people going to work when they are sick. They both delay there own recovery (and work with greatly diminished productivity while working sick) and increase the spread of infectious colds/flus to co-workers.
Posted by Floormaster Squeeze  on  Thu Oct 21, 2004  at  11:15 AM
I worked in a deli that had signs hanging in it that stated that if you were sick, you weren't allowed to work. Makes sense, but management didn't REALLY see eye-to-eye with that. Good luck trying to go home before lunch hour just because you had the sniffles.
Posted by Mark R  on  Thu Oct 21, 2004  at  11:41 AM
We have a sickline & I always just say, "I won't be coming in to work today." I don't make anything boss thinks that's a good enough reason...besides my work ethic prevents me from staying home b/c I'm "sick" of work. It does not however, prevent me from looking at websites all day. =o)
Posted by Maegan  on  Thu Oct 21, 2004  at  12:05 PM
How about "I choked on a pretzel, collapsed, hit my head,fell unconcious and I'm sorry but I won't be able to run the country today...".
Posted by Jo  on  Fri Oct 22, 2004  at  03:26 AM
I don't think all of these excuses are so dubious. Several of them have actually happened to me: a) an automobile accident b) getting mugged c) my cat didn't unplug my alarm clock, but he walked on it an changed the settings (the buttons are on the top), and I didn't know it until I slept late the next day d)the bus I was riding to work broke down. The last two didn't make me absent from work all day, just late for work.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Sat Oct 23, 2004  at  11:05 AM
The skunk one isn't so fantastic. Obviously you haven't smelled the results of a skunk squirting someone. up close it is a nauseating, eye-tearing smell. A dead skunk can leave an overpowering, nauseating, eye-tearing smell for over six weeks. Rain doesn't wash it away! Someone who got squirted by a skunk _should_ stay home sick!
Posted by John  on  Sun Oct 24, 2004  at  01:13 AM
i am currently at one of my jobs... and will be (in one and a half hours) headed off to my second job. and its beautiful and sunny out. so i was scanning websites to find a reason to call outta work... and i read another page that reccomended "my mom is sick" sounds great. its unusual. and works for me aspecially bc my mom watches my son when im at my night job... so i guess i wont be going in tonight!
Posted by sersha7  on  Sat Jun 21, 2008  at  12:25 PM
Hey, well if you want that your gonna have to have a bit of imagination and ALOT of skill, once you can do something that is difficult, hasnt been done before and you've perfected it. Name it and advertise it! Good Luck
Posted by Bridges To Recovery  on  Sun Feb 21, 2010  at  05:20 AM
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