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13 April, 2008

Pro Crastination

[Here it is 5 days later Egad! Blogspot posted this as April 15, which was Tuesday, and I did not really post this until Saturday], and I am almost embarrassed to post this one. It seems like a gimmick to post this after tax day, but that's really how it turned out. And my blog has no deadlines, so I am not late.]

It's the last gasp of weekend before Tuesday's tax deadline.

How many other losers are blogging about taxes? (However many there were a second ago, plus one).
What to say, to avoid lumbering along with the same tired tropes?

Best to say nothing, I guess, but then I might have to get back at the taxes, and I am nothing if not a master procrastinator. Partly because it's easy to slip into. But procrastination is also freedom, slipping the yoke and ranging where you like. And then swooping back in and getting the job done. That's why the cringeful tension between the task at hand and the flight of fancy is the essential element of procrastinatory art. Putting off work on an ironclad deadline, where failure to deliver could have dire consequences, now that is some sweet sweet stuff.

And then, just when people are worried, some panicked, most ready with their "Can you be-lieve he has a drawer full of Leggos?" Then, you show up at the last minute with the goods. Because when you play, become a renowned lag-about, and still get the job done, you are sticking it to the Man. You become legend faster than the spieser down the hall who works 60 hours in the week before a deadline and some up with prompt mediocrity.

Sometimes I like my procrastination to have some direction. Maybe I think if I can use my stolen freedom to accomplish something, then I'm not a bad boy. Maybe it's because the carving, or gardening, or writing done on the procrastination clock is pure joy. And when you do something with a tangible result, you can re-enter the bliss every time you see said object. Most of the things I've carved of stone and bone and wood have emerged slowly, through a series of stolen intervals. In the subtractive arts, where one hasty move can ruin a piece, this is a good pace, and when the piece is done it contains all those days when you had the wisdom to put aside some chore and make art.

Procrastination is also a good thing for someone who travels to work, and is away from family for long periods. I put off really thinking about a trip until the night before, and escape most all of the anticipatory dread. Experience makes this a lot easier, for every good procrastinator develops a sort of peripheral vision, a background awareness of things to be dealt with. Short of an acknowledgment, but enough to cover essential duties. You learn to see where a slight nudge a few days out--nobody even has to see you put forth the effort--can keep things on track for the endgame.

When you procrastinate, you are
potentate of Penultimacy, my favorite place. You take the wee hours before dawn and dance them away, you escape Pinch Time.
The lead-up to deadline is that time when Bosses feel their most powerful, and when you flaunt urgency and fritter away your hours, you are a god.

As long as you get the job done in the end.

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