AS a manager I’ve heard most of them in my time.
“Sorry, boss, I can’t come in today because I’ve got beubonic plague. But I should be in by Wednesday ’cos the doctor says it’s just one of those two-day things.”
Well okay, I’ve never actually had that one but I have heard ones almost as ridiculous.
And then there was the time I rang the mother of a young woman colleague to ask why she hadn’t shown up for work and was told it was “a woman’s complaint”.
Forbearing to do the old music hall response about having had to put up with women’s complaints all my adult life, I made the big mistake of enquiring exactly what was wrong with her, only to be asked in return exactly how much I knew about gyneacology.
That soon shut me up.
What’s for sure is that delving into the reasons why people take time off work on the sick is like stepping into a minefield.
But it seems that is exactly what the Government is planning to do.
Apparently, Ministers want to get 20,000 people off incapacity benefit and cut down on the number of people who, for instance, claim to be too fat, too nervous or too depressed to work.
Or those who have acne, or hang-nails or sore bottoms, or whatever.
According to what I’ve read, they’re going to introduce a couple of really tough tests for suspected bogus claimants like getting them to operate a computer mouse or walk for a short distance carrying a container of liquid without spilling any of it.
If they can do it they are fit enough for work and their benefits will stop.
Er, has it occurred to HM Government that the benefit twisters could just pretend to fail these tests?
After all, that would be a mere bagatelle to anyone who has been artfully ripping off the state for many years.