Today, fewer and fewer jobs are offering vacation time and school study schedules are continually becoming more intensive… Leaving us with precious little time to rest, relax, and prevent that nervous breakdown that perpetually seems to be looming on the road ahead.
We therefore sometimes need to take a page out of Ferris Bueller’s book and learn how to convincingly fake an illness in order to secure some much-needed R and R. Fortunately, we’re armed with a secret weapon that even the cunning Ferris didn’t have: The Internet.
Let this online guide be your starting point as you learn to navigate the “dos and don’ts” of playing hooky:
How To Fake An Illness In 4 Easy Steps
1. Choose an illness that’s easy to fake. Ideally, you should choose an illness that is serious enough to exclude you from major activities like work or school, but not so serious that it will cause extreme concern (or prompt someone to take you to the doctor). Though faking a cold or flu will usually work, most people agree that faking a stomach illness is your best bet. Stomach viruses and food poisoning symptoms often come on suddenly, most certainly exclude a person from leaving the house, and also resolve themselves quickly. This means that you won’t have to fake the lingering symptoms of a cold for days after you return to work (remember that the average cold produces symptoms for 7-10 days). Likewise, if you do get taken to a doctor, stomach illnesses are much harder to disprove than a cold or flu as there are no outward signs (such as a red, swollen throat) to verify. The doctor has to go on the patient’s description of his or her symptoms alone.
2. Research the exact symptoms of the illness you choose. You don’t want to get caught out on a minor detail, after all. Make a list of all the major symptoms of the illness you want to fake, memorize them, and spend some time “rehearsing” until you can convincingly act out each one.
If you need to produce proof of your illness to someone else in your house, try jogging on the spot for 3-5 minutes to produce sweat and raise your heart rate and body temperature. If you need to “fool” a thermometer, try holding it under a hot lamp or dipping it in a warm cup of tea or coffee briefly.
3. Prepare others around you. If you’re bouncing around the office one day and calling in sick the next, it’s likely that you’ll arouse at least a bit of suspicion. Prepare others to accept your illness by getting into the act a day early: Behave more sluggishly than usual, complain about a headache or general feeling of malaise, wonder aloud if the chicken salad you had for lunch didn’t agree with you, etc. Likewise, if you’re planning to fake sick in front of someone in your home, make sure that you go to bed early after mentioning feeling unwell. If you have chosen to fake a stomach illness, display a distinct lack of appetite at dinner.
4. Cover your bases. In addition to planning who should cover for you at work or pick up assignments for you at school, you’ll need to make sure you don’t slip up during your sick day (or days) and get caught in the act. If you’re planning on going out while faking sick, make sure not to do something like, for example, post to social media with your location information switched on—if you make a Facebook post that shows your location as being at the local beach while you’re “home sick,” someone’s sure to notice and call you out.
You should also familiarize yourself with your school or workplace’s rules on sick days. Many colleges and workplaces only allow a certain number of sick days per year and require that sick employees/students prove their illnesses with a doctor’s note. If this is the case where you work or study, purchase a fake doctor’s note ahead of time. This will put the final believable touch on your fake illness and allow you to enjoy your time off without a care in the world.