“I have half a week until my thesis is due and I”m writing a column for The Daily?”

Paul Wong
First year nursing student Sarah Martin holds a teddy bear neighbors gave her after her sister”s death. Each of Amanda Martin”s five siblings, her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend received one of the bears as a show of sympathy<br><br>BRENDAN O”DONNELL/Daily

If I can offer you one piece of advice, my friends, listen to me when I say: Don”t ever get into a situation in which you”re likely to ask yourself this question.

Take that as you will. Don”t write for The Daily. Don”t write a thesis. Drop out of school. Arrange your column to run on a bi-weekly basis so that your last mad, panicked rantings of partially thought out quasi-insights can be reserved for that 50 plus page document you”ve supposedly been plotting nigh on a year now.

Run away to Utah, just don”t ask yourself that question. Because once you”ve gotten that far, once you”ve actually asked it, you”re likely to answer yourself:

“Well, it”s not like they could just run one of my old ones. Somebody might notice, and then the shit would really start flyin”.”

Which only leads to a bizarre kind of self-crucifixion, because of course no one would notice and, yes, you”ll still write a new one anyway.

But it”s too late. By now you”ve committed, you”ve virtually talked yourself into whole-heartedly undertaking …

The Worst Kind of Procrastination Ever.

One might be surprised to learn that a certain type of procrastination is better than another. One might think that, if procrastination is simply any means of wasting time, that every means is equally wasteful.

Video games, computer solitaire, e-mail, cyber porn … all are infamous for being able to direct one”s attention away from the task at hand quite successfully. Column writing, then, could even be considered a relatively productive means of spending this otherwise splurged time, which, it only seems natural, would render it a more constructive endeavor than recounting over and over again in my head that story about the sorority girl who thought she could unboil an egg.

The thing about procrastination is that it”s an activity that, much like masturbation, no one needs an excuse to do and yet everyone does. An exercise that no one allots time for, that no one goes to bed excited by the prospect of being able to indulge the next day. It”s just something one finds oneself doing from time to time.

Elusive as pinpointing the precise moment of decision, that instant in which one ceases to be not-procrastinating/masturbating and begins to procrastinate/masturbate … as abstruse as that moment may be, it is nonetheless instigated by some sort of motivational desire.

Something must arouse this new occupation, and it”s always worthwhile to ponder the inspiration of one”s compulsions: Why do I continue to procrastinate even though I”ve been told it”s bad for me to do so often?

Well, just as no one would deny that certain adventures in self-love are more gratifying than others, the same conclusion can be drawn concerning procrastination: One method can be (quite a bit) more satisfying than another.

If I continue this masturbation comparison until it”s longer than anyone would like, let me suggest that both activities ultimately aim to achieve a catharsis one from not having thought about anything other than the shape and strength of your polemic for the last two hours, and the other from having to write so damn much.

Thus, if some types of procrastination are better than others at relieving the tension that comes from an approaching due date, it”s implicit that one type would be the least effective and, hence, The Worst Kind of Procrastination Ever.

The reason why writing this column is The Worst Kind of Procrastination Ever is twofold:

1) My thesis consists of constructing and relating some personal thoughts of mine on paper my column consists of constructing and relating some personal thoughts of mine on newspaper. The difference here is aesthetic, which is to say nonexistent, and so any attempt to relax or avoid thinking about the structure of my thesis by instead formulating an argument for my column, even if that argument is essentially about nothing (which just makes this whole rotten mess seem even more pathetic), is futile. I”d do much better to simply begin counting and continue to do so until I felt refreshed enough to concentrate on writing again.

2) The likelihood of more than a handful of people reading these words at all is pretty slim, which just makes what was only a moment ago “pathetic nothing” also seem irrelevant. As in, I put a lot of thought into a complete waste of cheap ink.

Still, there”s some solace in thinking that the handful of people who”ve read this far probably did so in the name of procrastination as a means of avoiding the lecture they”re listening to or the classes they”re on their way to or having to get up off the toilets they”re sitting on. Which is an ironic circularity that allows me to end this column here without any sort of definitive conclusion.

If you want to give John a good, vacuous reason to procrastinate, e-mail him at juhl@umich.edu, so that he has an excuse to send out a buncha messages that make even less sense than what you just read.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *