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Chances are you're doing it right now: Slacking. Procrastinating. Reading this Cracked article with your cursor placed on a work-related tab, prepared to click away should your boss walk by. We've all done it at some point -- but there are a few people who have taken the time-honored tradition of slacking and raised it to levels of epic proportions.

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State Employee Skips Work Every Friday ... for Almost 20 Years

The Job Description

Besides having the honor of sharing a name with a failed presidential candidate, Howard Dean was the food services director at the Department of Correctional Services in New York, running a facility that provided meals to 57,000 inmates. For nearly two decades, Dean put your tax money to good use by tirelessly feeding the hell out of those inmates, day in, day out, eight hours a day, four days a week.

Wait, what?

Four days a week? Oh, that's right -- Howard Dean didn't do Fridays. Ever.

And Thursdays were the company "nap days."

The guy didn't just skip one work day a week for 17 years without telling anyone: To avoid getting caught, he also charged his employer (you know, the U.S. government) $240,000 in gas money for some nonexistent trips to and from the state's Food Production Center. And because pretending to travel long hours by car can get pretty exhausting, he also got paid for 75 bullshit hotel-room stays at the Quality Inn. All in all, Howard Dean's 17-year streak of three-day weekends cost taxpayers half a million dollars.

The most unbelievable part of this story? The fact that nobody noticed.

"That's Howard -- he's invisible near weekends, due to a gypsy curse."

In fact, all of this came to light only after Dean's retirement, when someone in administrative noticed that the $57,381 in state pension money he was drawing may not have been going to the most deserving of candidates. A criminal investigation was launched, and Dean admitted submitting tons of fraudulent time cards. We're not sure what's going to happen to him now, but at least he can rest assured that wherever he's going, he'll be well-fed.

And prison doesn't even have casual Fridays.

Bored Secretary Turns Laziness Into an Art Form

The Job Description

As a sales coordinator for Sheraton Hotels in Elkhart, Iowa, 25-year-old Emmalee Bauer was responsible for providing secretarial and administrative support, reporting directly to the director of sales and marketing, and handling all group inquiries either generated by the direct sales associates or by other booking channels -- riveting stuff. You could write a 300-page book about how boring this job was. While pretending to do it.

So that's exactly what Emmalee Bauer did.

Wait, what?

As soon as Bauer realized that her job in sales coordination was not a good career fit for her, she did what most people in her situation would do: She began spending her entire workday writing about the fact that she wasn't working.

Since this is how many of us spend our workdays, none of us can judge her too harshly.

This method of procrastination turned out to be extremely effective, since the act of enthusiastically typing on her work PC about how much she hated working totally created the appearance that she was, in fact, working. She was effectively being paid for moving her fingers eight hours a day.

"Good job on having hands, Emmalee. Keep it up."

Thus, the 300-page Laziness Journal was born. That's 300 pages in single-spaced, regular-size font, not in bullshit "biology school paper" format. Day after day, Bauer came into work, sat down at her computer, opened her Laziness Journal file and mused on the subject of being a slacker while appropriately avoiding any of the work she was being paid for. An excerpt from the book:

"This typing thing seems to be doing the trick. It just looks like I am hard at work on something very important. I am going to sit right here and play Elf Bowling or some other nonsense. Once lunch is over, I will come right back to writing to piddle away the rest of the afternoon."

"Maybe I'll write slash fanfic about Elf Bowling."

Apparently playing Elf Bowling was not a safe way to goof off at work, because Emmalee Bauer was eventually caught and fired, with her Laziness Journal coming to national attention during her unemployment hearings. Yep, she actually had the nerve to go before a judge and appeal for unemployment benefits after writing 300 pages full of reasons why she didn't deserve them. On a work computer.

We don't know if Bauer has published her book yet, or if she ever will. For all we know, entire sections of it could be at the same level as Jack Torrance's novel in The Shining.

Except in this case, the "All work" part wouldn't really be accurate.

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The Japanese Ministry of Procrastination (and Robots)

The Job Description

The Japanese agriculture ministry is responsible for overseeing the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries in Japan. We would be indulging in a tired cliche if we told you it is also in charge of giant robots fighting with one another, so we won't say that ... even though, for a while there, it looked like it totally was.

Wait, what?

Between 2003 and 2007, an alarming number of the ministry's employees spent considerable amounts of work time on something completely unrelated to agriculture, forests or fish: Wikipedia edit wars. Most of them about the popular anime and toy series Gundam.

Giant robots: Way more exciting than trout.

Within that four-year period, one employee alone contributed 260 times to the Japanese-language Wikipedia entry on Gundam. Five other employees were verbally reprimanded for repeated contributions to other Wikipedia articles on subjects such as Japanese movies, local politics or typographical mistakes on billboards. Granted, if there's one government that should pay more attention to what's on billboards, it's probably Japan's, but this was still pretty ridiculous.

Meanwhile, the neglected fish the department was supposed to be looking out for
began to evolve and march on downtown Tokyo.

The Gundam guy was apparently the worst, but he was by no means the only one suffering from a severe case of Wiki-fever: Together, various other employees in the same ministry contributed to a total of 408 Wikipedia entries while at work. That's more pages than the website of the place they worked in seems to have. It got to the point where the minister of agriculture himself, Tsutomu Shimomura, had to step in and clear up what had apparently become a common misconception, publicly stating: "The agriculture ministry is not in charge of Gundam."

"That would be the transportation ministry. Come on, people."

Despite the minister's efforts, however, the Japanese agriculture ministry will forever be linked to Gundam, and vice versa, as demonstrated by the fact that they're both mentioned in each other's Wikipedia entries.

Mailman Turns Jury Duty Into Paid Vacation(s)

The Job Description

If we told you Joseph Winstead was the laziest mailman in the world, you'd probably assume he dumped the mail in trash cans instead of delivering it, or maybe took it home and burned it in a fire pit (like this guy used to do). You'd be wrong. Winstead went much further than that. He figured out a way to stay home all day, not even touching the mail he was supposed to deliver: fake jury duty.

Wait, what?

In October 2003, Winstead was chosen for jury duty. He actually served on the jury for a couple of months -- getting a paid leave of absence from his job to do so -- but quickly found out that there were many days when the jury did not meet. It was on these days that Winstead realized another thing: His bosses didn't seem to notice the difference between the days when he was actually serving on the jury and the days when he was just sitting at home, getting paid to eat Doritos.

We, the jury, find this chip delicious!

And so, for the bulk of an entire year -- 144 workdays in total -- Winstead enjoyed a paid vacation from his job as a mailman, probably keeping his co-workers convinced that he was trapped in a yearlong version of the plot of 12 Angry Men.

We assume he's the one on the far left with the grease-stained shirt.

Winstead's scam went on without a hitch that first year, but then, since he'd done such a bang-up job the first time around, he was called for jury duty again. A huge fan of pushing his luck to unreasonable limits (and not so big on the whole "honest work" thing), Winstead decided to give his scam a second go. But this time, his supervisors realized something funny was going on and launched an investigation that ultimately led to Winstead being sentenced to prison. He was also ordered to pay the Postal Service $38,923.95 in compensation, a fair numerical measurement of how much his story pissed the jury off.

The jury's suggestion that the defendant should be forced to "eat a bag of dicks" was sadly dismissed.

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Real-Life CSI Couldn't Give Less of a Fuck

The Job Description

Forensic scientists may not be as sexy or as explosion-surrounded as TV has led us to believe, but their work is still pretty damn crucial to that whole "justice" thing we've got going. As a 24-year veteran of an NYPD forensics lab, Mariem Megalla was responsible for conducting the sorts of tests that help police find dangerous criminals and keep innocent men out of jail ... as long as those tests didn't involve walking too much, that is.

Wait, what?

Megalla's extreme slacking caused an all-out nightmare in New York's legal system in May 2010, when thousands of court cases were thrown into question after an NYPD internal affairs investigation discovered that Megalla often came into work with a distinct "not in the mood for doing science-y things'' attitude. More specifically, she was caught switching the labels of suspected drug samples just to better suit her needs -- her needs being "not having to walk all the way over there."

"Yep he's dead. Case closed."

In one case, she was caught labeling as positive a crack pipe that had tested negative for drug residue, "because she allegedly didn't want to walk to another part of the building and fill out paperwork to have it tested further."

Turns out this was a legitimate household crack pipe.

Megalla's work also involved appearing in court and testifying in front of a judge, a part of the job she reportedly was fine with, since it could be performed while sitting. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne stated that "Right now, it looks a lot like either sloppiness or laziness." The NYPD is still waiting on the lab results to find out which one it was for sure.

As a result of the ensuing shitstorm, every forensics case that Megalla has ever been involved in has to be reviewed, all the way back to 1986. That's thousands of ongoing cases and prior convictions that could be overturned, all because of one woman's laziness.

"I'm only here to look good and deliver one-liners. Clipboard? No idea."

Lazy Cremator Has the Creepiest Backyard Ever

The Job Description

As operator of the Tri-State Crematory in Noble, Ga., from 1996 to 2001, Ray Brent Marsh was there to honor the wishes of those who wanted to skip that pesky postmortem decomposition process and go straight to the "ashes to ashes" part, reliably carrying out his cremation duties and providing journey vessels for the remains of loved ones passed.

Or not.

Wait, what?

Turns out that, in Marsh's words, the cremation oven was "broken" -- meaning that, for five years, Marsh saw no other viable option besides dumping the bodies he was supposed to be cremating in various locations in the crematory's backyard. Oh, and what did Marsh put in the urns that went out to the families? Concrete dust.


When a propane delivery truck driver happened to notice the unusual number of decidedly noncremated bodies lying around the property, he alerted the authorities (with his horrified screams, we're guessing), and the jig was up. A total of 339 corpses were discovered in the crematory's backyard, 100 of which were never identified because of their advanced states of decomposition. Hundreds of grieving families lost their loved ones all over again.

During the ensuing trial, Marsh offered no other explanation for his negligence, presumably standing by his original excuse of the cremation oven being "broken." The only problem? Someone actually tested the oven and found it to be largely in working order. Not to mention that, even if it had been completely broken, he could have just called someone to fix it. You'd think that within those five years of smashing concrete and not cremating people, he would have had a spare moment to sit down and pick up the phone.

"No ... that's also broken."

Marsh was charged with a grand total of 787 criminal counts, including theft by deception, burial-service-related fraud, giving false statements and last but not least, abusing a corpse. All charges tallied, Ray Brent Marsh stood before the judge facing a well-deserved 8,000 years in prison, although he got off with a slightly lighter sentence of 12.

Which was served by a brick in a classic case of bait-and-switch.

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The Cave of Sloth

The Job Description

As state employees of the Office of General Services, Louis Marciano and Gary Pivoda were supposed to provide on-site maintenance and janitorial services in the Empire State Plaza garage in Albany, New York. The OGS website explains that the agency has "developed expertise in centralizing critical support and service functions leading to more cost-effective government," which says absolutely nothing to us. Apparently, Marciano and Pivoda themselves weren't too clear on what the hell it was they were supposed to do, because we're guessing their official job description didn't mention drugs, board games or a secret underground lair.

Wait, what?

Every day from 2004 to 2009, Pivoda and Marciano would show up for work and immediately descend into the secret "man cave" they had fashioned for themselves in a tucked-away maintenance room within the garage facility. That was the easy part. The hard part was deciding what to do next: Light up a joint ...

Via NYPost.com

... watch Office Space for the umpteenth time or play some Yahtzee. Yep, besides stacking the place with drugs, junk food, a TV and a DVD player, Pivoda and Marciano also made sure to keep plenty of board games -- you know, as a way to keep themselves occupied. Needless to say, all this excitement usually left them pretty spent.

Via NYPost.com
Ninety percent of the security tape looks like this.

The closest thing to actual work they ever did was when Pivoda hopped into their state-provided car to deliver drugs to other state employees. Investigators found a scale for weighing marijuana inside their secret room, which authorities dubbed "the man cave" because apparently they have a horrible opinion of the entire gender. Once they were exposed, Pivoda was sentenced to one year in prison and Marciano to five years' probation plus 250 hours of community service.

Via NYPost.com
"Totally worth it."

Jason Edward Harrington is a writer based in Chicago. Find him at quixoticoreo.com or follow him on Twitter.

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