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The weather’s getting nicer, and three-day weekends are looking more and more tempting. But with the constant weight of the collapsing world economy and threat of job loss, calling out sick might seem like a thing of the past. And yet, maybe there’s still hope, lying within each and every one of us, that we can pull it off… provided we don’t screw up our carefully constructed excuses. For best results, follow these tips, and you’ll be enjoying an impromptu vacay day in no time.

1. Know Your Boss’s Style
Does he or she like you to call in so you can call out? Maybe they prefer a text message. Or maybe they need you to email them and CC anyone else who may need to know so your responsibilities can be deferred to them for the day. Get a feel for your manager’s preference. Getting the details right will ensure that your boss and co-workers stop short of disemboweling a voodoo doll with your name on it.

2. Lie Like a Champ
Keep it simple. Say it’s a 24-hour virus and leave it at that. Don’t add unnecessary details like, “It must have been the generous helping of Ethiopian food I ate last night” or “And then I projectile-vomited a Guinness world record of eleven feet.” Bad liars always try to beef up the details of their story, and that’s where they run into trouble.

3. Don’t Try to Sound Really Sick
No coughing between each breath, pretending to pass out mid-sentence, excusing yourself because you need to spit out something “otherworldly” or doing your best Harvey Fierstein impression. (Oh man, now I need to go watch Mrs. Doubtfire.) Seriously though, since your best bet is to draw as little attention to your situation as possible, over-acting is uncalled-for.

4. Be Cool With Co-Workers
Don’t ever talk about your partying exploits to your co-workers. They’re already depositing any excuses into their “Oh, it’s another hangover” mental file. Instead, pre-empt their suspicions with a story about how one time you went out for a drink on a Saturday night, and it was too much for you to handle. The next day the police found you romantically spooning a homeless person. And from then on, a single wine cooler, imbibed over the course of 4.5 hours, is all you will partake in… on a wild night.

5. Beware Social Media
On your fake sick day you should treat Facebook, Twitter and any other social networking platforms you frequent like minefields. Even if you aren’t “friends” with your boss, he’s probably only one or two degrees removed from your status updates. In other words, today’s not the day to post about how you Man v. Food’ed your favorite burrito challenge, bench-pressed two cheerleaders and washed it all down with a pitcher of rum. Remember, buddy, you’re “sick.”