Workers monkey around with sick-day excuses

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

There's nothing too mundane for humans to study.

Some researchers even have found time to study the excuses Americans make for staying home from work.

According to CareerBuilder.com, more than a third of U.S. workers said they played hooky from work over the past year.

Thirty-five percent admitted to calling in sick at least once when they felt well.

One in every four workers treated sick days as extra vacation days.

An acquaintance once told me she'd rather work when she was sick and take her sick day after she got well.

She said if she was feeling bad anyway, she might as well be at work.

You have to like that kind of thinking.

After all, it's absolutely no fun to stay home when you're feeling miserable.

Some Americans clearly have a creative style when it comes to sick days.

Some of the more unique excuses include being knocked unconscious after tripping over the pet pooch, losing one's shoes, and having to go to the hairdresser after burning one's hair with curlers.

Others have blamed their cat for unplugging the alarm clock or complained that their brains went to sleep.

No one's brain seemed asleep Saturday at a new store opening in Cape Girardeau. Shoppers crowded into the store, filling out entry forms for future prize drawings. The winners will get cash discounts on store merchandise.

One shopper described it as sort of a scavenger hunt.

What more could we want in life?

In our household, shopping seems to be an art form. Joni, Becca and Bailey have no fear of wading into a store clogged with shoppers.

I need a road map to make my way through one of these mega stores. But my wife and daughters have natural skill when it comes to maneuvering down the aisles.

For them, it's pure entertainment.

I admit I wanted to go, too. After all, the store does have power tools.

But Becca and Bailey weren't interested in the power tools. They preferred to inspect the vast array of clothes.

Sociologists would have had a field day in this kind of environment where even picking up laundry detergent excited some shoppers.

None of this probably would interest biologists who have been studying wild gorillas in the Republic of Congo's rainforests.

The scientists seem more excited about the fact that gorillas apparently can use simple tools.

Gorillas can poke sticks in swampy water to check the depth or use a detached tree trunk as a bridge to cross a muddy patch of ground, biologists found.

Such research is no doubt valuable. With any luck, we may one day find that gorillas can shop, too.

That would be a major scientific discovery.

Shopping is one thing, but there's no evidence that gorillas would call in sick.

If they did, they'd probably come up some better excuses.

Of course, there is one reported excuse that even wild gorillas would understand: the death of a pet monkey.

Mark Bliss is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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