Here are things you can say on the phone to get out of it, in order of most effective:
“My (family member/friend) died”
Ole’ reliable. When you use this excuse, work contacts won’t really bring it up with you later (and if they do, it will be an brief and easy conversation to handle). The key is to use someone close enough to warrant you taking a day or two off, but also won’t require much of a backstory.
Oh yeah, backstories. ALWAYS HAVE A BACKSTORY. They are an essential part of excuses like these. You can’t just drop the “D” grenade and not be prepared for follow-through lying. ALWAYS HAVE A BACKSTORY… it could save your job.
As I was saying, the “dead” person can’t just be anyone. If it’s a parent or sibling, you are bound to this lie for as long as you know your work contacts (not an easy thing for most). It has to be someone relevant enough to play the death card, like a cousin or close-ish friend. You could also go the “make up a fake person” route, but this requires more backstory. From experience, I can tell you that these lies are hard to keep track of years later. You run the risk of someone bringing up Frederick Schmelding, and you’ll be caught red-handed if you respond with a quizzical look or a straight-up “who the fuck is that?”
The most ideal scenario is to use a real person; preferably someone you are not terribly fond of, but are still connected to in some way. The reason? There’s a backstory foundation you can draw from, even if you fabricate a few things just to solidify the pseudo-bond. Plus, if someone brings it up down the road, it’ll be much easier to remember the lie.
“My (immediate relative) had a stroke”
If you are uncomfortable saying that someone passed away, you can always play the reliable “dad had a stroke” angle. Some may argue that this is a more effective excuse, simply because this baby can buy you up to a week off of work. However, the effort that can be required post-excuse sneaks it behind the “someone died” standard-bearer.
Despite the risks of the “stroke” excuse, when deployed correctly, it can be a stroke of genius (pun deliciously intended). For starters, most co-workers will leave you alone and maybe even take the load off you for a bit. Your manager? She will be too busy feeling sympathy to notice all that porn you’ve been downloading on your work computer. Yeah, life at work is pretty sweet when everyone thinks something terrible has happened to your family.
Of course, it should be noted that novice liars or genuinely good people should not use this excuse. You will have to be a bit… no, a lot of a scumbag. Ideally, your father would’ve left you when you were young, this way you don’t feel so bad inside when you tell your boss that the poor sap looks like Jim Ross now.
“My kid is sick”
This one is great because it is a well that can be drawn from over and over. The perception is that children get sick all the time, so it’s rare that you’ll get questioned too much about it so long as you don’t abuse it. Even if someone asks how little Bernie is feeling a day later, a quick “much better” or “well enough to go back to school” gets the jackals off your back. The only drawback is if you have a spouse who lives with you… most jobs will probably expect each parent to share the load in staying home with a sick child. If this becomes an issue, refer to excuse #1 on this list.
Important tip: However often you decide to use the “sick child” excuse, make sure you have enough days left to use for when your child actually gets sick (they always find a way to ruin things… excuses, lives).
“Something has happened to my home/method of transportation”
Busted pipes? Shucks, have to stay home and wait for the plumber. Leaking car engine? Rats, looks like I’m spending the day in the “auto repair shop” (aka, a cloud of marijuana). These types of excuses require a bit more creativity as you definitely need a backstory. Nothing worse than some handyman douchebag at your job asking what kind of lug nut your plumber used to stop the flooding (I’ve got a good comeback for that one: “the same one he used to start the flooding of your mom’s cooch”… then slowly back away while a chorus of laughter ensues). There are always lies layered under lies that expert grifters like myself can use to talk their way out of any situation, but if you find that you are not good on your feet when it comes to making shit up on the fly, you shouldn’t be yielding any of these work excuses anyway.