The Art of Playing Hooky

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you a step-by-step article on the craft of obtaining pay-without-work; a schooling in deception and creativity alike. It must be noted that these lines are not intended for the faint of heart or the unsuspecting innocent soul. Nay, if any of these descriptors fits your bill then turn your eyes from this page and read no more for fear of being tainted…

Ah, I see you are still here. Jolly good – let’s begin.

Step Number One – Quasi-Strategy

I do not suggest for an instant that you premeditate your next day off.  Quick – abstain from all thoughts of your schedule this instant!  In order to pull this off masterfully, the event must be as random and unlikely as the bullshit excuse you will cough-up in justification of it. Do not, however, mistake this with being unprepared.  You should always be ready to skip work, class or some other responsibility.  Your health might depend on it. All too often we work our lives away only to find ourselves retiring to attend our own funerals.  I am sure it is safe to assume that no one on their death beds says to themselves ‘oh how I wish I had just worked  another day at the office’. Therefore, I charge you to start thinking about your plan of attack by planting deceptions.

Step Number Two – Artful Dodging

Set up luncheons, seminars and sporadic fun at work.  Throw in a few meetings for good measure too. You can never be too safe. The secretary (your boss’s right hand) will be less likely to suspect you are having copious amounts of fun without her when you sadly miss the drinks for two at the local.  If you planned an interactive luncheon (food and seminar on the corporate gold card) your coworkers will love you. They’ll also be less likely arrive at the fact that you planned such an event without ever intending to go to it.

Step Number Three – Academy Award Winning

You must believe everything you are going to say from here on in.  I want you to repeat your family emergency, bout of food poisoning or excruciating migraine over and over again to yourself – in your head, in front of the mirror – whatever it takes.  If you are touting illness as your reason for absence, look it up first!  Know the symptoms, treatments and oddities of your case: inside and out.  Wikipedia can help with this as can the majority of medical blogs.  DO NOT USE A RARE ILLNESS – YOU’LL LOOK LIKE AN ASSHOLE!  I advise against using the flu too unless you can pronounce the miracle antibiotics you received and/or can fake a doctor’s note on command.  Instead, use that which cannot be easily disproved.  Migraines are great – who better than you knows what is happening inside your head, right? Exactly. Another good excuse is food poisoning – but do your research.  I learned the hard way once and want you to benefit from it.  I told my boss  I was gravely ill – that the surf and turf from the evening before must have gotten the better of me.  Turns out people are not as stupid as you think.  He was a restaurateur and he knew damn well that it is pork and poultry that cause this 99.9% of the time – not the former.  Check Mate.

Art by Malcolm Jamison (Click for more in new tab) 

Step Number Four – Mastering Disguise

After you have started engaging in a lifetime of hooky you begin to get jaded.  The Challenge begins to wear off and the soul starts to search for an adrenaline rush elsewhere.  Slowly at first, then faster and faster until benefit dwindles significantly and you find yourself out of a job and a hobby  .To avoid  such a fate we must keep it fresh and infrequent.  Never visit the same place twice, and never travel within a 10 minute drive from your place of work.  That is unless you are willing to go incognito in which case I fully support this choice of action.  It gets the blood pumping.   In mastering disguise, it doesn’t hurt to  possess a  few different wigs, ostentatious sunglasses , and hats for the rare occasion of playing hooky.

Step Number Five – Becoming Bonnie and Clyde (minus the mass murders and thefts)

This is the fifth and final step.  It is not for amateurs or intermediates, but remains reserved for the significantly advanced.  When you grow as a person and crease to be satisfied by flying solo you may be ready to select a partner in crime.  What makes this task extra difficult to pull off is the fact that you choose to do this with a coworker.  The success of this is heavily reliant upon mutual trust, coordination and chemistry.   Your alibis must complement one another and yet remain distinguished; they must be flawless and yet evoke the sympathy of your peers.  This is your raison d’etre of the art of playing hooky.  Here you will have to come up with your own ideas though as a magician never gives away their secrets nor an actor their method.

Now is the time for all of us cogs in the wheel to reclaim our lives, one illegitimate absence at a time.  May this guide not influence you to go beyond your better judgment but rather act as a stepping stone towards a better future!  I look forward to hearing your tales of trickery and sham and us such I invite you to tweet your feats @ProvocativePen #AOPH (Art Of Playing Hooky).

About Mata Hari

Although the particulars of her past are sketchy at best, the following has been touted as being pure Mata: Possessing a gift of the gab and love of fine brown liquor, she enjoys drawing back on a Montecristo number four before sun-down many a day. She revels in ambiguousness and sly behaviour; often employing her knowledge of culture and language in clandestine ways. An able markswoman and a challenging poker player – skilled in the art of deception, she is one to be reckoned with. She has a particular weakness for shiny buttons and biscuits as well as a certain fellow by the name of Reginald Swithin, the 3rd Earl of Havershot - who has been known to get her panties in a twist on several occasions.