A Silly Game: Work Excuses That Require More Explanation

So here’s the game.

Pretend you have to explain why you aren’t coming in to work, class, home, or another essential destination, and pretend that (for whatever reason) your boss, spouse, professor—whoever has the right to the full tale—is absolutely, positively going to find out some portion of the truth.

You don’t have the time, the desire, or perhaps police permission to go into the whole explanation, so you hone it down to thirty or fewer words. But the excuse you come up with HAS to keep your phone call recipient awake until he or she gets the full explanation.

“I can’t come in today because…” is a given. “Gotta go now!” is a given. You don’t have to count those words.

Just come up with three amazing excuses that will require some major explanation later. And keep them PG 13 clean. 😀

Here are my three examples:


  • I’m on my way to the ER because I caught my nipple in a chain-link fence.
  • The National Guard has cordoned off the space ship and my house is inside the perimeter.
  • The other tiger is still loose.


(Once you’ve played, go here for the REAL story behind this game…)

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.

403 comments… add one
  • Kate Jun 3, 2013 @ 7:43

    True story:
    Because I can’t get out of my apartment. The door is jammed and the window to the fire escape is painted shut. The super is on his way.

  • Rachael Jun 3, 2013 @ 7:40

    Okay, these aren’t “can’t come in” excuses, they’re “gotta leave work” excuses – the ones that got me the best expressions from my supervisor, yes, real life…

    I have to leave early because…

    …Endust on the floor made my Mom slip, fall, and broke her arm, but she scooted to the door to let the re-fi adjustor in; I told her call 911…

    …my cat had a psychotic break and is trying to kill my brother; no one can calm him down so I have to go…

    Yes, the cat did try to kill my 6’3-ish brother, who had to lock himself in the bathroom after getting bitten on the button (while running; that cat was a good jumper). My brother had been away for over a month and had gotten food poisoning; he looked jaundiced to me, and apparently he smelled really weird to the cat, who flipped out and tried to save us all from the evil imposter… they got along fine again after my bro was completely better.

  • Bill Jun 3, 2013 @ 7:33

    • the voices won’t let me, ssshhhh don’t say anything they’ll hear you!
    • I’m busy learning how to use the mind mapping software so I can decide what three wishes to have.
    • I’ve been made the King of England and have to learn the proper etiquette for meeting an emperor.

  • Susan Jun 3, 2013 @ 7:12

    I can’t come into work today because:

    The hamsters broke out of their cages and I’m too far from a gas station.

    I got out of bed, turned on the TV and the weatherman on the news said it was going to be another bad one, so I went back to bed.

    It’s Monday…need I say more?

    Gotta Go!

  • Chiara Jun 3, 2013 @ 6:58

    ~ The monster under the bed is asking for Tums and I can’t find my 3 year old.

    ~ I forgot to collect my skin suit from the cleaners last night.

    ~ Turns out the judge didn’t think “cleansing the gene pool” was sufficient reason for composting my brother-in-law.

    ~ My husband turned up at the door last night. Apparently, you really shouldn’t count on assassins who offer their services on bathroom walls.

    • Eileen Jun 7, 2013 @ 0:38

      Brilliant – all of them

  • Michele Jun 3, 2013 @ 6:54

    I can’t come into work today because…

    The gerbils are attacking! The gerbils are attacking! Quick, someone get Richard Gere!

    You know how I told you that my writing sometimes comes to life? Well, I’m afraid my characters have become three-dimensional, leapt from the page, and now they’re holding me ransom until I write them some better story lines. My hero’s upset that he never gets the girl.

    I’ve developed a rare disease, which only gets worse the longer I’m out of the sun. My doctor says it’ll take weeks to fight, but in the meantime, I’m under strict orders to spend every day at the beach, sipping Mai Tais. It’s the only known cure. What was that? You don’t believe me? COUGH! HACK! HACK! COUGH!! Sorry, gotta go, the disease is acting up again.

  • Hetty Jun 3, 2013 @ 6:45

    So this is one I actually used when I was a young twenty-something…

    Hi boss, I can’t come to work today because:

    I was getting a ride home from friends, fell asleep in the backseat, and they kidnapped me and drove me to Florida.

    — The kicker is I was believed. O.O

  • Gina Hilario Jun 3, 2013 @ 6:44

    Because… there’s a unicorn hanging around my mom’s garden and I need to ask her some hard questions about my point of origin.

  • ellen Jun 3, 2013 @ 6:42

    Totally great excuses!

  • Charlotte Jun 3, 2013 @ 6:35

    I can’t come in to work today because the octopus figured out how to open doors.

    • Eileen Jun 7, 2013 @ 0:39

      Love it

  • colleen Jun 2, 2013 @ 19:52

    I cannot come into work today because half my kitchen is gone.

    I am waiting for the president to show up.

    The dog is lying on my shoe.

  • Aaron Pace Jun 2, 2013 @ 19:12

    I can’t come to work today because . . .

    I just inked a deal for my first (of many) bestsellers and I don’t need this stinkin’ job anymore.

    My tyrant of a landlord has locked me IN my apartment until I pay three month’s of back rent.

    I invented a time machine, and you’ll be dead before you read this message.

  • eric Jun 2, 2013 @ 15:01

    My time travel device malfunctioned, and today is already tomorrow.
    The bloodstains won’t wash out.
    Velociraptors have me cornered in my kitchen, but I don’t think they can see me if I just move my foot like

  • Jesslla Jun 2, 2013 @ 13:46

    I can’t come in to work today because…

    My car is upside down in my garage. It was right side up last night.

    My refrigerator started talking to me. No, I’m still on my meds. Yes, there’s a mouth. I’m not crazy!

    The alligator won’t let me out of the bathroom.

    Gotta go!

    • Chiara Jun 4, 2013 @ 5:54

      love the upside down car and the alligator, these are fun

      • jesslla Jun 4, 2013 @ 9:45

        Hey, thanks. These are fun. 🙂

  • Jean Delaney Jun 2, 2013 @ 12:11

    I can’t come in today because

    • Homeland security has quarantined my house until the decon is finished. I’m not supposed to contact anyone, but get out of town now. Oops, here comes a hazmat suit.
    • the fire trucks just got here.
    • my sister was just murdered in my living room and I hear sirens.

    Gotta go now!

  • Yvonne Gray Jun 2, 2013 @ 11:49

    “This horrid sunny weather has caused my solar allergy to flare up. I’ll be self medicating at home today. It’s a shady business but if I have any chance of working tomorrow, I’ve got to do it!”

    “Estrogen is flooding my neural net and I won’t be able to function at work today. So I’m rebooting at home and I’ll update you on my progress tomorrow.”

    “My telly (television) died last night and I’m so depressed I can’t tune in the reality of work today. Life’s too short isn’t it? Why? Why? It just isn’t fair!”

  • pj-jough-haan Jun 2, 2013 @ 11:09

    My refrigerator died and all of the food in my freezer needs a new home. Am hoping that our Pastor and neighbor who indicated it was especially important to rely on “Laying thy meat on thy neighbor,” REALLY got that from the Bible. (I gave this one years and years ago to someone on THEIR way to work (swing shift) . . . )

    My cat DID pee all over my underwear. That said, my call: “I can’t come to work today because I have plumbing issues. It’s less expensive if I call during regular business hours. . . . . Am I due for a raise?”

    “I think one my tenants about to commit suicide. . . . After I kill him.”

  • Claudio Jun 2, 2013 @ 10:57

    I cannot go to work today because…

    Someone stole my sweet roll.

    I woke up in Canada.

    I was told not to by your boss.

    • Eileen Jun 7, 2013 @ 0:41

      love the boss one.

  • Karen Jun 2, 2013 @ 9:49

    ………because I read some of the book you gave me on Developing a Magnetic Personality, tried a few things , and am now stuck to the refrigerator.

  • Adi Jun 2, 2013 @ 9:06


    • I need to explain to Animal Control what happened to the giraffe in my backyard.
    • I have to dig my husband out from the Cheerios before he suffocates.
    • I confused letch and litch, and now I have a steaming phylactery on my hands.


  • Aimee Jun 2, 2013 @ 8:38

    I can’t come in to work today because…

    Prince Charming just showed up.

    Orc invaders are camped out on my lawn, they want me to translate for them and they aren’t taking no for an answer.

    The president of our homeowner’s association is having a psychotic episode and is now hunting me down for various and sundry transgressions.

    • Hugh Jun 27, 2013 @ 13:27

      Hey, I’ve met that guy from the homeowner’s association.

  • Judy corduan Jun 2, 2013 @ 7:56

    I can’t come into work today, because my shirt is too stiff. I can’t move. (Actual excuse from an employee)
    I won’t be making it home tonight. My car is stranded crosswise on an icy road and won’t move. It’s so slick I can’t even walk home.(actually happened to me)
    I can’t come in to work today. I’m busy chasing the rainbow. I know there’s a pot of gold at the end. Then I won’t need this job.(wishful thinking)

  • Geraldine Ketchum Jun 2, 2013 @ 7:07

    I can’t come in because:
    You should SEE the back yard. Since when are Zombies real?

    There’s water pouring out of the dryer.(this happened. A kid put the end of the water hose into the dryer vent and turned on the water.)

    I TOLD him to turn off the electricity first. But would he listen?

  • Lynn Jun 2, 2013 @ 6:53

    Boss, I’m not coming in today – or ever – because I just realized I put the decimal point in the wrong place on that big project we finished yesterday, so our company just lost $10,000,000.

    Honey, I’m going to be home a little late. My ex girlfriend, whom I haven’t seen in 7 years, just showed up at my office with a 6 year old boy who looks just like me.

    Teacher, I can’t come to school today. The dog ate my science project and now he IS a science project.

  • Geraldine Ketchum Jun 2, 2013 @ 6:49

    Shit! They’re coming for my brain!

    It looked like an easy recipe – I didn’t think it would – oh crap! Talk to you later, maybe.

    Damn it, they gave him the death penalty, and he just pulled in the drive. Gotta hide. bye.

  • marti Jun 2, 2013 @ 6:05

    I can’t come to work today because:
    Animal Control is rescuing the eagles locked in battle that are on my back patio.

  • Karen Jun 2, 2013 @ 5:51

    …because when I complained about the fruit fly on my orange, Disease Control control said, that until the eggs hatched and their DNA tested, nobody was going anywhere.

    ……….because I hit an albino deer with my brand new pick-up on the way in. These things happen. I knew that you would understand. Right, third time this week.

    …because one of the fly trap plants is a lot bigger this morning. Also one of the children is missing.

    …because the fire department is here to get Kitty out of the tree. It may be a while, they aren’t used to panthers

  • Melissa Jun 2, 2013 @ 5:41

    I can’t make it to work because…

    The trapeze snapped.

    They’re finally ready for me at the nuclear test site.

    Turns out what we ate last night wasn’t spaghetti…

  • Francine Seal aka DragonsLady. Jun 2, 2013 @ 5:19

    … because today is garbage day and I’m hiding in the toter…

  • Hino Jun 2, 2013 @ 5:00

    I can’t come into work today because…

    Look, I’m really sorry but somehow the dog’s gotten himself trapped on the third floor elevator and it’s stuck.

    Remember the fairly simple operation I was booked in for? They misplaced something in my stomach.

    The dingoes from across the block have gotten loose and I’m stuck in the butchers.

    Gotta go now!

  • Willem Verschoor Jun 2, 2013 @ 4:05

    I can’t come into work today because:

    – I have Multiple Personality Syndrome, and we played hide and seek last night. Now I can’t find the others!
    – I discovered a new word in Scrabble yesterday, and I can no longer be bothered to come in because I’m much too important now!
    – After seeing the Matrix, I now realize none of this is real, and I’m about to wake up.

    Two in a row, because I had so many…

    • Eileen Jun 7, 2013 @ 0:44

      the first made me laugh

      • Chiara Jun 7, 2013 @ 1:20

        ~ I’m still waiting for my housemate to arrive with the bail money. What’s that? No. It’s all just a big misunderstanding, after all, the officer admits to saying “Bite Me”

        ~ Word to the wise, don’t fall asleep in an armchair decorated with 100 helium balloons.

        ~ The door’s been unlocked and the basement’s empty. I have to go buy cartridges for the rifle.

  • Willem Verschoor Jun 2, 2013 @ 3:59

    I can’t come into work today because:
    – My aura is off colour today, and it would clash virulently with my office furniture.
    – Yesterday night I started my second youth, and I can’t be late for my first day of school!
    – While playing Twister with my cousins yesterday, we accidentally turned ourselves into a Gordian knot.

  • Rosie Jun 2, 2013 @ 3:30

    I’m going to be late home tonight honey because

    Jason Mamoa invited me to do some personal training with him.

    Alien’s the movie, isn’t.

    I’ve a ticket to the moon. Leaving in five.

    Gotta go.

  • Billydee Jun 2, 2013 @ 0:32

    Killer my pet Pit bull destroyed all my clothes. I had to order online which will take several days to deliver.

  • sallie Jun 2, 2013 @ 0:29

    I can’t come in to work today

    because the rattlesnake that curled up around the pipes in the kitchen needs to be removed and I’m waiting for pest control

    because I didn’t notice the little yellow scorpion in the bathtub until it stung me … seem to be allergic

    because I received the Book of the Dead I ordered and there seems to be an irate mummy with it …

    Gotta go now … yike!

    • sallie Jun 2, 2013 @ 0:34

      Urk, two doesn’t require further explanation ..
      . sigh.

      because the cat seems to have eaten the solution and is … er … growing … -+++++++++

    • Sallie Jun 14, 2013 @ 16:05

      Obviously, I did not get the point of the exercise. Too much information.

  • Chiara Jun 1, 2013 @ 23:02

    ~ My feet are still superglued to the ceiling.

    ~ We can’t find the key to the handcuffs.

    ~ The fairy mound at the bottom of the garden has started glowing again.

  • Karen Jun 1, 2013 @ 22:42

    A pirate ship crashed on my house. No, I don’t know where it came from, and . . . Oh, no, not my grandmother’s china!

    You remember those egg-shaped rocks in the garden? Turns out they’re dragon eggs and the baby dragons are now terrorizing the neighborhood!

    A pirate ship crashed on my house. No, I don’t know where it came from, and . . . Oh, no, not my grandmother’s china!

    You remember those egg-shaped rocks in the garden? Turns out they’re dragon eggs and the baby dragons are now terrorizing the neigborhood!

    That creepy house on the hill is haunted! And I really shouldn’t have hid in the kitchen. Uh, oh, the back door’s locked.

    • Karen Jun 1, 2013 @ 22:45

      Oops, sorry for the repetition. Need to be more careful when I copy and paste. -_-

  • Chiara Jun 1, 2013 @ 22:36

    ~ I’m stuck here waiting for the vet…the mailman bit the dog again.

    ~ I really don’t want to.

    ~ Darned dementia. Mother’s forgotten where she buried father, and she’s out now digging exploratory holes in the neighbour’s yard.

  • Dyre Jun 1, 2013 @ 21:01

    I can’t come in to work today because;

    “The last few raisins in my oatmeal are moving.”
    “Before I could start my car, it began chirping.”
    “The boa’s tank is open and I can’t find the cat.”

  • Yog-Sothoth Jun 1, 2013 @ 20:25

    I woke up in a bathtub full of ice and one of my kidneys is missing.

    My doberman is choking on a human finger.

    I found a hook-hand dangling from the door-handle of my car and I have to return it to the owner.

  • Sara Jun 1, 2013 @ 18:05

    I can’t come in to work today because …

    … there’s a mannequin in my front porch glider that looks exactly like my murdered aunt.

    … I lost all the clothes in my closet to spontaneous combustion.

    … I’m stranded on a drifting cruise ship in the Caribbean.

  • Linda H Jun 1, 2013 @ 17:43

    I can’t come in to work today because…

    My freezer stopped working and my husband’s body pieces have to be carefully transferred before they thaw.

  • Morgen Rich Jun 1, 2013 @ 16:57

    I can’t come into work today because . . .

    Hardware stores only carry 2 bags of lime each. I need at least 10 more bags.

    My dead ex-husband has my car keys in his jacket, and the shovel handle broke.

    The out-of-state truck I rented is stuck in the mud in the woods.

  • Bobbindale Jun 1, 2013 @ 16:52

    I can’t come in today because…

    * I was walking Phoebe, our dog, on the beach just now before work and we found that missing swimmer from Cabarrita the police were looking for. You know how Labradors love to eat anything. I gotta stay here ‘til the police come.
    * This man came to the door just now and said he was my father. I never knew my father. I can’t just run off to work and not talk to him.
    * I’m at the hospital. I just backed over Timmy, our six-year old. I think he’s going to be OK. This is going to take a while, and then there’s the police… Wow!…

    Gotta go now!

  • Betty Jun 1, 2013 @ 15:59

    Here is a true one:
    I can’t come into work today because this cockroach began flying at my face and a spider came out of the visor and began this weird over its head dance in front of me. I have left the car on the side of the road.Sorta. I was scared and accidently drove the car into the bayou.

  • Linda Jun 1, 2013 @ 15:21

    This morning when I woke up I didn’t.

    On the phone the plumber said he fixes leaks; got to my house and says he doesn’t do bladders.

    Green slime came out of the shower and I am really sticky.

  • Angela Croall Jun 1, 2013 @ 14:54


    The bus driver decided to stop the bus and eat a banana with a spoon and now I’ve lost the will to live

    I’m getting married today and I have to go and pick a husband

    I’ve just worked out the meaning of life and I’ve got to write it down before I forget


  • Dave Hawkyns Jun 1, 2013 @ 14:41

    • I’m resting up for the company Christmas party tonight.
    • I put instant coffee in my microwave. Now I’m stuck back in time.
    • I can’t get a babysitter because there’s a snake in the house who found the pipes are leaking and has a dentist appointment but the car broke.

  • John R. Sabey Jun 1, 2013 @ 14:10


    . I wasn’t paying attention when I pulled up my zipper and I need to go to the hospital to have it reattached.

    . The C.D.C. won’t let me out of the containment room.

    . My girlfriend’s father won’t put the shotgun down.


  • Kathryn Kistner Jun 1, 2013 @ 14:06

    Thanks to the snorkel, I’m submerged in a bathtub of tomato juice trying to get rid of the skunk smell.

    Last night I slept-over with a new friend, and this morning both eyes are swollen shut.

    I didn’t think my cute little mouse-friends would have so many babies at once!

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