Drugan-Eppich: Let me waste your time

Bret Belden

From the Loser

By Tim Drugan-Eppich

It struck me the other day that I spend an enormous portion of my time wasting it. If I were to calculate the amount of daylight I use constructively, it would be such an embarrassingly miniscule number I would share it with no one. It is fantastic how little of my life is productive.

A brighter soul might take this as a kick in the butt, as it were, to reconfigure his priorities to more effectively and efficiently utilize his or her time. I, however, intend on doing no such thing. For I have come to realize that often the most enjoyable moments in my day stem from the long blocks of chronic dillydallying, goofing off, and otherwise burning up the daylight hours.

Take one example. I spend extended periods of my day blundering about in the dark corners of my head. Just today I spent more than a little bit of time pondering the notion of surprise birthday parties. For instance, was the first one ever given actually a regular party thrown for someone with memory loss? And only after seeing the honored guest’s reaction, the idea was hatched? I know when my grandfather was in his last years, every birthday party was a surprise whether it was planned that way or not. Or perhaps the first surprise party was thrown by a boyfriend who forgot his significant other’s birthday and managed to pull together a wide array of people by the end of the day so as to save himself from the doghouse. And has anyone ever tried a reverse surprise party? One where you tell your spouse all about the fantastic party you have planned for her, only to not have a party at all. You see? This is a ridiculous way to spend a day. And yet, a very satisfying one.

While often it is only my time I’m wasting, on occasion I like to rope others into a similar endeavor. Recently a friend and I engaged in a lengthy discussion about the issues had by an inchworm that was not actually an inch long. Consider, if you will, an inchworm that grew to be two inches long. So it would be a two inch inchworm. Can you imagine the difficulty its friends would have making plans? Imagine trying to make a reservation for a table with your friend if that friend was a 2-inch inchworm.

“Hi there, this is inchworm and I’d like to make a reservation for me and my friend two inchworm.”

“Alright, so that will be a table for three?”

“No, a table for two: me and two inchworm.”

“Sir, one plus two is three.”

“No, I think you’re misunderstanding me. It isn’t me and two inchworms. It is me and a 2-inch inchworm.”

And so on and so forth. I don’t even want to think about the issues of a three-inch inchworm. Or maybe on the other end of the spectrum, an inchworm who is only half an inch long, a half-inchworm. Every time he introduced himself he would have to explain that his name was just a reference to his length, and not a horrific accident where he was separated from his other end.

I have even managed to pull one of my coworkers into the vicious spiral of lollygagging. While we were waiting to run food up from the kitchen to the dining room, I noticed a Psalm tattoo on his arm. After seeing this I felt the need to ask him about the gun habits of religious folks. It seems to me that most people that are crazy about guns are also intensely religious. A fact which I find odd, because if they believe the world ends in a rapture, aren’t they set? They’re going to be sucked to safety to hang out with Jesus. Meanwhile I can’t remember the last time I went to church, or made it through a day without doing or thinking something horrible, so shouldn’t I buy some guns? I mean, I’m going to be the one down here fighting off all the demons and stuff! This left my co-worker pondering and falling behind in his work, an issue I have been struggling with ever since I entered the workforce.

Am I illustrating my point in a way that makes sense? Can you understand my predicament? I don’t want to work harder because I enjoy the time I fritter away. But I have realized an interesting phenomenon. Since everyone else is intent on using their time as productively as possible, it seems impossible to them that that I wouldn’t want to as well. This means that when I don’t finish what I was expected to, more often than not they will assume it was because I was so busy working on other, more important, things.

I am in the practice of making a long list of things I “need” to get done; then, at the end of the day when I have completed none of them, I won’t get questioned. Because when there is such a long list, how could I afford to waste any time at all? At least this is what everyone else thinks. It would never occur to them that I actually spent the afternoon making faces at myself in the mirror, teaching myself the charleston, or climbing very tall and thin trees that bend so far over by the time I get to the top, I am standing back on the ground.

Yes, I do think I will continue to slide through life using my time as effectively as a monkey uses a telephone. Because while everyone else is making money and working for a better world, someone should be left to ponder the important issues. Like if owls could drive they wouldn’t need rear view mirrors. But they might need thumbs.

Tim Drugan-Eppich is a junior majoring in English-journalism.