Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Friday, January 22, 2010

And Now, For Something Completely Different...

After two days of death and (not) mourning (all that well), a change of pace seems in order. Therefore, I present the following for the amusement of my husband, my sister, my one blog-visiting son and my daughter, my twelve selectively clued-in Facebook friends, and whoever has wandered here from New Jersey, Michigan, Alabama, and parts unknown. It is purloined from Basic Jokes:  Clean Jokes for a Dirty World.

The Procrastinators' Creed

  1. I believe that if anything is worth doing, it would have been done already.
  2. I shall never move quickly, except to avoid more work or find excuses.
  3. I will never rush into a job without a lifetime of consideration.
  4. I shall meet all of my deadlines directly in proportion to the amount of bodily injury I could expect to receive from missing them.
  5. I firmly believe that tomorrow holds the possibility for new technologies, astounding discoveries, and a reprieve from my obligations.
  6. I truly believe that all deadlines are unreasonable regardless of the amount of time given.
  7. I shall never forget that the probability of a miracle, though infinitesmally small, is not exactly zero.
  8. If at first I don't succeed, there is always next year.
  9. I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
  10. I shall always begin, start, initiate, take the first step, and/or write the first word, when I get around to it.
  11. I obey the law of inverse excuses which demands that the greater the task to be done, the more insignificant the work that must be done prior to beginning the greater task.
  12. I know that the work cycle is not plan-start-finish, but is wait-plan-plan.
  13. I will never put off until tomorrow, what I can forget about forever.
  14. I will become a member of the ancient Order of Two-Headed Turtles (the Procrastinator's Society) if they ever get it organized.

I have not personally upheld all of these principles, though I have seen most of them in action. Number 11--raising to the level of law the frittering that expands in proportion to the significance of the task we are putting off--is particularly useful. It apparently inspired my ex-husband, who finished his dissertation, to do so only after spending the better part of a month training a squirrel prodigy to approach our front steps and lie spread-eagle on the sidewalk in response to his command. 

Number 8, the "always next year" dodge, has been my personal mantra for as long as I can remember. Number 6, which proclaims the unreasonableness of all deadlines, claims the allegiance of generations of my family, thus being something of a legacy. (We don't even acknowledge the incontrovertibility of Christmas, often mailing gifts months later.) Number 14, however, with the two-headed turtle, I'm not sure I really get. I could try to figure it out, but Number 13 seems to advise otherwise. And besides, adhering to Number 4, I'm not greatly concerned about injuring myself should I fail to decode it. 

I am, of course, supposed to be in the process of putting all this procrastinating, and the religion it celebrates, behind me. It remains to be seen whether I will be able to free myself from this cult, or if kidnapping followed by intensive reprogramming will be necessary.

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