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Oklahoma town creates work-day excuse business



Excuses, excuses. Come get your excuses.


It's not every day that entrepreneurs come along with something that really, really works " and this deal apparently works better than the Popeil Pocket Fisherman.


According to a story by The Associated Press, out of the mighty metropolis of Thackerville comes the "Excused Absence Network" company, where one apparently can find a plethora of ways to get a free day off from the job.


If you've ever tried to come up with an excuse to blow off the job and play hooky, for $25 these guys can get you the paper trail you need, the story states. They have real-looking doctor's notes, hospital forms, fake jury summonses, even funeral programs with poems of comfort and a pallbearer's list.


"Millions of Americans work dead-end jobs, and sometimes they just need a day off," said John Liddell, co-founder of Vision Matters, an Internet-based company that sells the notes as part of its Excused Absence Network. "People are going to lie anyway. How many people go visit their doctors every day when they're not sick because they just need a note?"


By gosh, these guys have our ear. A company disclaimer states "for entertainment purposes only," according to the story " and that makes it all OK, right? Heck, here at CFN, we think it is pretty entertaining. The Web site shows pictures of sunbathers, skiers and golfers, with one testimonial stating: "I've managed to take the nine weeks off using these templates! It couldn't be any easier!"


And it can't. Pony up the payment, then you receive templates to print the notes after typing the name and address of a local doctor or emergency room. Using jury duty as an excuse to miss work? Just enter the county courthouse information on the form, the story states.


It's a cinch, really. Vision Matters co-founder Darl Waterhouse said interlopers probably can't get caught because of recent federal laws restricting the release of patient medical information.


Piece o' cake. But employers (go figure) think the excuse site is a piece of ca-ca.


"At Lockheed Martin, we have a highly ethical culture, and it is extremely unlikely any of our employees would use these kinds of services," according to a statement the story printed from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, Texas.


Yeah, and being a defense industry, there are just two words to know what's at stake if one pulls this kind of stunt: security clearance.


"I can't speak for doctors in general, but for me this practice sounds awful," said Dr. John Z. Sadler, the director of University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center's Program in Ethics in Science and Medicine. "This business practice seems comparable to the ways 'diploma mills' and 'term papers online' are wrongful."


Buzz kill. Liddell said that if employers weren't often Scrooges, his Web site wouldn't be an issue.


"If employers would treat people the way they need to be treated, people wouldn't be using these notes," he said.


Do you think something like that could happen here at CFN? Bucky, for instance, has had to miss the last two Mondays. But the notes from his "¦ spleenorectomologist? "¦ his epiglottidemicalifragilisticologist? "¦ that doctor he went to looks pretty real.

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