Slipped Disc Celebrates 10th Year As Excuse For Everything

Top Headlines


Grin Slowly Spreads Across Mom’s Face As Meal Revealed To Contain Healthy Ingredients

‘The Mashed Potatoes Are Actually Made With Cauliflower,’ She Announces

VERONA, WI—Having waited until everyone at the table had finished their dinner Monday, a knowing grin reportedly spread across local mother Angela Hopkins’ face as she announced to her family that the mashed potatoes had in fact been made using cauliflower as a healthier alternative.

Sudden Death Of Aunt Creates Rupture In Family Gossip Pipeline

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA—Grieving family members of local aunt Laurie Shelton confirmed Monday that the 48-year-old woman’s unexpected death had caused a major breach in their gossip pipeline, suddenly disrupting access to the latest dirt on all their relatives.

Man Really Letting No One Have It During Exit Interview

SPRINGFIELD, MA—Keeping his voice at a measured volume and holding everything back, departing employee David Hughes was really letting no one have it during his exit interview Monday, sources at local accounting firm Grier and Associates confirmed.

Conceptual Genius Goes As Self For Halloween

‘He Himself Is The Costume,’ Say Amazed Onlookers

SHERMAN OAKS, CA—Brilliantly subverting the very idea of a costume, conceptual genius Mark Richards, 27, reportedly stunned his fellow partygoers Friday when he announced that he had dressed as himself for Halloween.

No One In Gym Class Volleyball Game Willing To Set Ball

LITTLE ELM, TX—With neither team having completed more than two hits during a rally before sending the ball back over the net, sources confirmed Wednesday that no one in Jefferson High School’s third-period gym class was willing to set during a volleyball game.

Impressive New Hire Figures Out Bare Minimum Of Work Job Requires On First Day

MILWAUKEE—Marveling at his extraordinary ability to learn the ropes at the technology firm and quickly fit right in with the rest of his colleagues, sources at Starpoint Solutions confirmed Thursday that impressive new hire Eric Myers has already figured out the bare minimum of work his job requires on the very first day.

45-Minute Phone Call To Credit Card Company Goes Great

FORT WAYNE, IN—Grinning with contentment as he reminisced about the call he placed earlier in the day, 31-year-old accountant Greg Schulhoff told reporters Thursday that his 45-minute phone call with MasterCard regarding late payment fees went “really great.”

Mom Keeping Tabs On Coyote Situation

WAYZATA, MN—Regularly updating her husband and children on the frequency and location of sightings around the neighborhood, local mother Dana Salisbury continued to keep close tabs on the coyote situation this week, sources confirmed.

Teen Coming Out Of Shell Giving Bully Lots Of New Material To Work With

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Claiming he “hit the jackpot” when his victim began displaying an increased level of confidence and expressing his personal interests, local bully David Macomber told reporters Tuesday that he has had loads of new material to work with since 14-year-old Andrew Reid started coming out of his shell several weeks ago.

Boss Able To Seamlessly Blend Constructive Criticism With Personal Attacks

SAN JOSE, CA—Marveling at the ease and deftness with which he communicates the two messages simultaneously, employees at local advertising firm Wavelength Solutions told reporters Tuesday that their supervisor Eric Crowell has a unique ability to seamlessly blend constructive criticism with cutting personal attacks.

Neighborhood Starting To Get Too Safe For Family To Afford

CHICAGO—Explaining that the sense of unease she felt walking to and from her home had declined markedly over the years, Humboldt Park resident Kirsten Healy expressed her disappointment to reporters Thursday that her neighborhood was becoming too safe for her family to afford.

Area Dad Informs Busboy He’s Ready To Order

NASHUA, NH—Raising his arm into the air while leaning outward from the table in a bid to command attention from the other side of the restaurant, area father Walter Bierko called over a busboy at DiCapri’s Italian Eatery to inform him that he was ready to order, sources reported Wednesday.

Winning Argument With Aging Parents Less Satisfying Than It Once Was

CINCINNATI—After firmly telling them that she was okay paying city prices and that she would not move back to her hometown just because it was cheaper, local woman Ellen Wallace, 40, confirmed Thursday that winning an argument with her parents has become much less satisfying as they have gotten older.

Rescuers Heroically Help Beached Garbage Back Into Ocean

ATLANTIC BEACH, NC—In what many described as an inspiring display of selflessness and teamwork, a group of rescuers heroically saved a beached mound of garbage by helping the stranded trash back into the ocean, eyewitnesses reported Thursday.

Man Races Against Time To Take Out Trash Bag With Widening Puncture

RIO RANCHO, NM—His pace steadily quickening as he rounded the corner out of his kitchen and made a beeline for the front door, local man Henry Parnasse reportedly found himself locked in a race against time Wednesday morning to take out a trash bag with a widening hole in its side.

Man Pushed Off Plate Of Chicken Wings By Larger Male

WARMINSTER, PA—Looking on as the intense display of aggressive behavior played out over several minutes, sources at Flannigan’s Bar & Grill confirmed Thursday that local man Pete Samuelson was pushed off a plate of buffalo wings by a much larger alpha male.

Grandma Guts It Out Through Lunch On Sunny Patio

MALVERN, PA—Making the audacious decision to dine outdoors with her family despite a noticeable lack of umbrellas or awnings, grandmother Diane McGilvery, 83, reportedly gutted it out through lunch Friday on the sunny patio of a local restaurant.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

Motorcyclist Salvaged For Parts

SIOUX FALLS, SD—Following a multiple-vehicle accident on Interstate 90 that temporarily halted traffic in both directions, sources reported Friday that a motorcyclist involved in the crash was hauled off and salvaged for parts.

Detective Not Sure He Was Close Enough To Partner To Endlessly Pursue Killer

DETROIT—After his partner of three years was gunned down last week while the pair were on duty, Detective David Killian of the Detroit Police Department’s Major Case Squad told reporters Wednesday he was unsure whether he had been close enough to his murdered colleague to single-mindedly pursue the killer for as long as it takes.

Man Pretty Cocky Since Beating Cancer

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—Whether he’s bragging about his newfound appreciation for life or arrogantly refusing to take anything for granted, local man Daniel Oretsky, 38, has been acting insufferably cocky since winning his two-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, sources confirmed Tuesday.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage


  • How Theaters Are Trying To Win Back Moviegoers

    The number of Americans who went to the movies hit a 20-year low in 2014, leaving theaters scrambling to find ways to incentivize the public to see new releases on the big screen rather than watch films at home or on the internet. Here are some methods theaters are using to win back audiences and increase box office sales:


Slipped Disc Celebrates 10th Year As Excuse For Everything

CHARLOTTE, NC—Friends of 33-year-old Matt Breunich quietly observed the 10th anniversary of his lower-back problem, a chronic condition that has served as an ongoing reason to excuse himself from such diverse activities as taking out the trash, helping friends move, and making love to his girlfriend.

Breunich, unable to visit his sister in the hospital after she gave birth, nurses his "back thing."

"No matter what's going on, you can always count on Matt's slipped disc to act up," said longtime friend Janet Wolck, who joined 13 others in an evening of reminiscence at a local restaurant Tuesday. "It's been one heck of an excuse-laden decade."

According to gathering organizer Tony Kairns, it was in April 1996 that Breunich first revealed the existence of a herniated disc in his lower back when declining at the last minute to  help a group of friends move into their first off-campus home.

"While we've never verified the exact date of the alleged injury, everyone agrees that that was the first time they heard the excuse," said Kairns, who has known Breunich since they were college freshman roommates 12 years ago. "Everyone was so concerned because it sounded serious. None of us suspected the excuse would last this long."

In that time, Breunich has used the slipped-disc excuse a number of times estimated by friends to be between one and three zillion. It has served as Breunich's ticket out of stripping paint, attending a coworker's going-away party, changing a tire, holding a friend's baby, setting up a tent, conveying pitchers of beer from the bar to an awaiting table, making a bed, vacuuming, retrieving an escaped guinea pig, shoveling snow, kissing the Blarney Stone, cleaning out a garage, and going on approximately 14 second dates.

Even as friends' concern over the injury gradually grew into bemusement, then indifference, the excuse persisted. Ex-girlfriend Lauren Vargas marveled at its longevity, saying that as recently as February, Breunich "trotted out the old chestnut" when asked to deliver canned goods to a local homeless shelter.

"It's fun to feed him terms like 'torn lumbar region' and 'bone chips' and so on," Vargas said, "then watch him find a way to incorporate them into the excuse next time around."

"Does your back need to be in peak condition in order to watch a pro basketball game?" said Charlotte Bobcats fan Kyle LaGrange, echoing the evening's trend of rhetorical questioning.

Though no one has been able to determine whether Breunich ever truly  slipped a disc, Kairns said he felt especially privileged to "be on the scene" when the excuse transformed from a casual complaint about his lower back to a full-blown prolapsed vertebra. Breunich told Kairns that a first-year medical student he had met at a bar said that his back pain might be due to a slipped disc.

"I don't think he's ever seen a doctor or a chiropractor about it," Kairns said. "You'd think that he would, with all that pain and apparent immobility."

Despite his unwillingness to consult the medical establishment, Breunich remains attentive to his condition, often requiring the most comfortable chair in a given room "for his back," according to Kairns.

Though admitting they had no specific knowledge, Breunich's friends were fairly certain that modern medicine had devised treatments for the condition, with a few guessing that proper care and bedrest could allow slipped discs to mend on their own.  Some were also baffled by the injury's versatility, specifically its ability to travel from the lower back to the neck region.

Jeff Lewis, who works with Breunich at a Charlotte-area data-recovery firm, noted that back complaints disappear during activities Breunich enjoys, including company softball games, where he is the team's leading hitter and hasn't missed a game in four years.

"That can't be good for his back," Lewis said. "But I guess he fights through the pain, like he must when he's hunched over playing Quake 4 for hours on end."

When coworker Dave Amato added that Breunich had recently complained of possible carpal tunnel syndrome, excusing him from three major projects, it inspired lively speculation from the group about a new era of potential injuries.

"This has the potential to be a real 'stealth excuse' for Matt," Lewis said. "There are times when a headache or a backache just isn't appropriate, and I'm sure those will be exactly the times when his carpal tunnel will flare up."

Breunich was invited to the gathering, but canceled due to an unspecified medical ailment.