Procrastination was first developed in Italy five hundred years ago, over a long lunch, with many bottles of wine.
All kinds of people were at that lunch; scientists who cured diseases, geniuses who invented amazing technology, aliens from Vulcan, you name it, they were there.
We have never heard of them, nor are we able to benefit from their achievements, because they never achieved them. That lunch is still going on.
Procrastination is a fine art, and may possibly be genetic. I meant to ask my parents if they were procrastinators, but I never got around to it, and now they are gone.
It should have been a clue when they both put off ‘going’ for a long time.
After coming up with some sketchy ideas about the concept of procrastination, and drawing pictures on their cocktail napkins, this Italian coffee klatch drank some more wine, and put off further development until the next meeting.
Which may or may not be tomorrow. The cocktail napkins were used to mop up wine spilled by Leonardo (no last names, please), and are lost to history.
According to the dictionary, which always mean Wikipedia, (what happened to Mr. Webster? Did he put off promoting his client’s work?) procrastination means, ‘Putting off impending tasks in favor of doing something more fun, preferably involving wine, food, sleep, or drugs’.
Wikipedia did not use those exact words, but we know what they were thinking. They are a bunch of ’60s wannabes over there, committed to Truth, Justice and the American Way.
At first, only the rich were allowed to procrastinate, but gradually of course, whatever the rich do, the poor eventually do, also.
For instance, a celebrity grows her armpit hair, or gets her bottom enhanced to the degree that it can be seen from space, and before you know it, all kinds of poor people are doing these things, too.
Now, pictures of earth from outer space look like a hot air balloon fest, only with balloons shaped like two moons.
Occasionally, it works the other way around.
Ripped jeans, which only the poor wore at first, because they couldn’t afford new ones, were soon being sported by the richest celebrities, and sold for the price of a new, small car.
The rich even compete at cocktail parties to see who had the poorest childhood and the finest, most flavorful mix of ethnicities in their family trees. The poor used to keep this info on the down low, but when the rich started bragging about starting out poor, the poor did, too.
I have put off the true topic of this post long enough. You know, when I was a child in the seventies, we often talked about procrastination, but we rarely did anything about it.
Instead, we’d….oh, sorry. Back to procrastination, then.
Procrastination is highly personal, besides crossing all economic lines. For instance, I never procrastinate filing my taxes, because I get a refund.
Reading an educational book is another matter. I started thinking about procrastination while riding my stationary bike (even the bike has never gotten anywhere) and I saw a book I’ve had checked out from the library for a really long time, The Fall of Berlin.
I’ll open it now and then, and flip through it, to see if I can pick up any interesting nuggets of knowledge that can be thrown out in passing to someone. This may be enough to fool them for a few minutes into thinking I am an expert on World War II.
( I do know how it turned out, but I’m saving that piece of the puzzle for when the conversation lags.)
I have forgotten the reason I checked out this book. It is buried in the mists of time, but the book remains, silently reprimanding me with the legions of the dead soldiers of the Red Army, the Third Reich, and the residents of Berlin, many of whom did not vote for Hitler, and didn’t like the Nazis being in power.
See? I have learned something from the regrettably few pages I have read.
Some of these Knuggets of Knowledge I pick up are quite valuable. For example, The Pomeranian Offensive was an important part of the war in eastern Europe. When I ride my outside bike, I notice that this strategy is still in use by small dogs.
The usual assortment run along beside me for awhile, yapping at my ankles, and trying to intimidate me into going home to Germany.
If I should fall off my bike, I am toast. I will lie there indefinitely, while little dogs eat my face. These dogs could have changed the entire complexion of the war, had they been put to better use, thus ending it much sooner.
The Allied Forces should have dropped them by little parachutes, behind enemy lines.
They would have scattered all over the place, especially anywhere there were bicyclists, and yapped at the ankles of soldiers. As soon as one soldier began yelling and doing what appeared to be a hyped-up version of the mambo, all the others would join in, with shouts of joy and shots of vodka.
You cannot conduct a war this way. Everyone would have gone home and had more vodka.
The dogs would have done a number on the cavalry, too, because horses hate having small things running around their feet. This is why horses make lousy babysitters. These small dogs would have been known as WMDs, Weapons of Mass Distraction.
We would still be looking for them, today, or at least their descendants, and spending millions on the effort. The only thing we would really need to do in our search is drop giant liver snaps over the European countryside.
As for the Fall of Berlin. reading it shall remain one of those ongoing lifetime achievements I can’t enjoy being admired for, because I’ll be dead, and the book will be seriously overdue.
At my memorial service, a relative, most likely my son, will hold it up, marked still at page 30 twenty years hence, and declaim it as a symbol of my passion for learning, or something equally misleading.
I’d better write the eulogy out for him. He’ll forget about me reading this book, and just say that I rode my bike once in awhile, was deathly afraid of losing face during the Small Dog Retreat, read a little, and liked to poke fun at him on my blog.
I’ll get around to writing it soon. More wine?