Need a Day Off? Here Are the 8 Worst and the 8 Best Fake Excuses

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We already know Americans really stink at taking vacations.

But when it comes to faking a sick day to get some rest and relaxation — or even run a few errands — we’re pretty bold.

Forty percent of U.S. workers faked a sick day this year, which is up from 35% in 2016, according to a survey of more than 5,900 people commissioned by CareerBuilder. That’s two-fifths of the working population.

Of those taking a (wink, wink) sick day, 30% had a doctor’s appointment, 15% said they needed to catch up on sleep and 23% said they just didn’t feel like going to work. Is that you, Peter Gibbons?

But even for employees at companies that have a bona fide paid time-off program, 60% surveyed said they STILL need to come up with an excuse to take the day off. And, the excuses they used are, uh, not good.

Human resources managers shared the most, let’s say, interesting excuses with CareerBuilder.

These 8 ‘Sick Day’ Excuses Will Totally Make You Cringe

First off, if your company has a PTO program, you don’t need to dream up an excuse to take a day for yourself. And second, you can do better than some of the ones survey respondents shared.

Here are the eight most unbelievable day-off excuses and why they’re awful:

1. A bear is in my yard and I’m afraid to come out.

OK, this one is my personal favorite. It’s not a terrible excuse on its face, but it’s not specific enough. What type of bear? Is it eating from the trash? Have you tried offering it a pic-a-nic basket or pot of honey?

2. My phone exploded and it hurt my hand.

With all the news about the exploding Galaxy Note 7s, I can see where you’re coming from. Still, it didn’t hurt you anywhere else? It just happened to explode while it was in your hand but didn’t singe your eyebrows?

3. I ate a toothpick that was in a dish at a restaurant.

This one is weak because it’s not clear enough that it wasn’t your fault. Be specific: “The little frilly thing fell off the toothpick in my club sandwich so I couldn’t see it!”

4. I broke my arm wrestling a female bodybuilder.

Just because someone’s a bodybuilder doesn’t inherently make them a good fighter capable of breaking an arm. Next.

5. I’m calling in “fat” because my uniform doesn’t fit.

Did it fit yesterday? Did you eat an entire Thanksgiving turkey last night?

6. My dog swallowed my car keys and I’m waiting for them to pass.

Ah, an absolute classic. While this is a tried and true excuse for lazy middle school students everywhere, it doesn’t translate well to the work world. Also, if you’re not fibbing, you should probably throw away the bacon keychain.

7. I left my clothes at the Laundromat.

As much as I like to imagine someone absentmindedly leaving the Laundromat in their birthday suit, I’m assuming he meant his work clothes. This one isn’t quite outrageous enough for me. Boo.

8. I’m not sure how the solar eclipse will affect me, so it would be safer to stay at home.

The only thing bad about this excuse is that you can’t use it every day.

Here Are 8 Sick-Day Excuses You Should Use Instead

While the eight excuses above aren’t terrible, they do have their flaws.

Here are eight flawless fibs you can use to take a day off tomorrow:

1. A vampire is living in my basement, and I’m scared if I leave for work he’ll turn Sparky into Dogula.

This one has everything: fear, mythical creatures and puppies.

2. I put my suit on backwards and now I can’t get it off!

The key to making this one work is to shout it with a lot of emotion — you’re really frustrated. You want to come into work so bad, but this dang suit! Bonus points if you send a picture of yourself in a backward suit.

3. It’s too windy outside, and I’m afraid if I leave I’ll lose my lucky Mets hat.

Like I said before, specificity is the key. Also, they’ll probably feel too bad to question you because you’re a Mets fan.  ¯_(ツ)_/¯

4. My evil twin has escaped from an underwater prison, and he might attack me on my way to work.

They say everyone has an evil twin. Use yours to stretch the truth for a day off. (But, seriously, be on the lookout for your evil twin.)

5. I need to spend the day coming up with schemes to get out of jury duty.

Jury duty is a drag, so surely your boss can relate. Right? If your boss asks what excuses you have so far, say you’re workshopping this one: “I can’t serve on the jury because it was actually me who committed the crime. It would not be fair.”

6. I need to go back in time and stop the assassination of Lincoln!

This is another one that will require acting chops, as your voice should quiver with imperativeness. And your boss should be prepared, since you took off last Thursday to finish building your time machine.

7. My large adult son has trapped me in in my bedroom for forgetting to buy milk for his Lucky Charms.

Your boss should understand the predicament. What would you do if you had to eat dry cereal?

8. I saw Bigfoot walk across my lawn yesterday, and I need to stay home to snap a picture and document his existence.

Again, mythical creatures are always a solid play. But this one works because you can say you’ll donate your reward to the company’s fantasy football pot.

So there you have it, eight foolproof excuses for you to take a day off of work. Who feels like adulting today anyway?

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. He was going to turn this article in earlier, but a giant bird stole his pants and he had to run home to change.