Order of Business: A Procrastinator’s Timetable

8:00 – Receive a message via my Blackberry calendar reminding me to submit a Claymore blog post by midnight.

8:01 – A very specific memory flashes before my eyes. It’s 5th grade all over again. The science fair is more than two weeks away. I have two entire weeks to come up with a simple yet effective research question and a kick ass hypothesis. Two weeks to come up with some bullshit results, print them out on my Dot-matrix, and slap them on my bright green three panel display board. Two weeks, to stick some equations and graphs in a Trapper Keeper that would blow the judge’s minds due to my breathtaking organizational skills. But I hadn’t given it much thought on that dreadful Monday morning, because after all, I had TWO WEEKS left… or so I thought.

8:03 – Present. Begin to hyperventilate. Break into a cold sweat. How in the world will I finish an entire blog post by 12:00. I should have been working on this post all week. I’m such a lazy ass.

8:04 – Avoid responsibility. Blame it on my Blackberry Curve. After all, I swore that I had set a reminder on my calendar to notify me at 8:00 on Friday night.

8:05 – Vivid flashback occurs. I’m back in 1995. As I step on the school bus I notice other children holding giant display boards. I panic for a moment and then regain my conviction. The science fair wasn’t for TWO WHOLE WEEKS. I know this to be true because I wrote it down in my daily planner. There’s no need to even double check, I’m filled with such certitude. Than Donny walks on the bus holding a 48″W x 74″H display board. I scramble into my backpack and pull out my planner. I frantically turn the pages to the day’s date, February 15th, 1995. Science Fair Due Today. F&$#!

8:07 – Present. Look back at my Blackberry calendar and notice my error. Still not entirely convinced it wasn’t a vast conspiracy, but knowing that I must move forward I abandon these silly notions… almost as quickly as Alcmene abandoned Heracles or Gary Busey abandoned sobriety.

8:10 – Sit in front of my computer for a solid twenty five minutes wondering what I should write about. Maybe I should write a blog post about the Claymore Live Internet Sketch Comedy Show Fundraiser? No, no… that’ll come across as too needy. Maybe I should write a blog post about Tiger Woods? Overdone. Oooo… I know! I’ll write a blog post about how much I hate the Twilight series. Wait! Shit! I already did that.

8:15 – Flashback Numero Tres. I’m teleported back to the second floor bathroom of my elementary school. What am I going to do? I HAVE to turn in a science fair project. I have three options.

1) I can go to the nurses office, feign illness and hope that I’m sent home early, giving me a full 24 hours to complete my project and turn it in a day late.
2) I can beat up a fourth grader and steal their science fair project effectively claiming it as my own.
3) Bite the bullet and come up with something in the next half hour before the science fair begins.

Option 2 was never a viable choice, so we can scratch that right off. I simply don’t have the physical capacity to injure a fourth grader. Option 1 would be equally hard to accomplish, especially since the school nurse was a Nazi. I knew a kid once who fell off the jungle jim and dislocated his shoulder. She gave him an ice pack and told him to go back to class. So Option 3 was my last hope. Luckily there were some extra display boards in the science room and I could steal some construction paper and markers from the art closet. I had half an hour.

8: 30 – Present. I can’t think on an empty stomach. I retreat to the kitchen for my favorite evening snack. Some Nutella and Graham crackers. I contemplate, who was the brilliant mind behind the creation of Nutella? My interest gets the better of me and I search Wikipedia for a history of the delightful treat. I discover that Nutella is “a modified form of gianduja” which is “a type of chocolate containing approximately 50% almond and hazelnut paste.” I learn that Nutella was essentially invented by Michele Ferrero who revamped an ingredient that his father Pietro had created called Supercrema. With a few modifications Michele named his product Nutella and the rest was history. How wonderful.

8:45 – I come to my senses and realize that I still need to finish my Claymore blog post. But what will I write about? My stomach begins to ache and my palms are soaking wet. The feeling is all too familiar.

8:46 – Flash to the flashback. My stomach is growling and I’m sweating buckets. I’m sitting on the bathroom floor putting the finishing touches on my… errrr… science project? I have five minutes before my board needs to be on display in the gymnasium. I think I’ve come up with a fairly clever title for my project “Ferrets: Are They Faster then Rabbits?” As you can see from the title, I’ve come up with a rather compelling question. As for my hypothesis, I decided that “No, I believe ferrets are not faster then rabbits.” I sketched a few pictures of rabbits and ferrets with a small notation apologizing for my lack of actual pictures, but due to my father’s recent job loss the purchase of film and cost of development was simply out of the question. This, of course, was all elaborate bullshit. I then came up with some fictional statistics, drew a graph and even included a venn diagram (which in retrospect seems like it may have been entirely unnecessary.) I pasted my final conclusion, “I was correct, a rabbit is most certainly faster than a ferret,” on to my display board and headed for the gym.

9:00 – Present. Feeling uninspired. Let’s see what’s on TV. Oooo Castle! Castle’s watchable. I’ll watch Castle.

10:00 – I had no idea Castle was an hour long. I admire the blend of comedy and drama that the series has to offer. I mean he’s a mystery novelist who helps the NYPD solve crimes, what’s not to love? That Nathan Fillion is one charming fellow. Why does he look so familiar to me?

10:01 – Look up Nathan Fillion on IMDB. No way, he was in Saving Private Ryan. I loved Saving Private Ryan! God, Steven Spielberg is awesome! Wait a tic. He was a producer on Lovely Bones? That movie sucked. Steven Spielberg gets deducted one point on the Awesomo Meter. No worries Steve-o you’ve still got 88 out of 100. What? You produced Eagle Eye, too? Maybe I should stop looking at your credits before I deduct all your points. I wouldn’t want you to fall behind Martin Lawrence on the Awesomo Meter. Oh shit, my blog post!

10:10 – FUUUUH- lashback! I’m standing in the gym with my science fair board. I’m still a nervous wreck. I’m between a kid who did a project about pollution in the Chesapeake and it’s effect on subsidiary streams, and a kid who did something about the solar system or something. I’m SO going to get an F. I see the judges as they pace up and down the aisles, examining each board with the utmost meticulousity. Is that a word? Meticulousity? Probably not. As they approach my project, my heart begins to race. They’ll know I’m a fraud! James, you moron, why didn’t you do your project on time! And then one of the judges looks at me and says “Hmm… interesting. You found the rabbits to be faster after all.” I couldn’t believe it. Was he actually buying this bull? I nodded, as if my conclusion was even remotely the result of any actual research and with that the judges made a few notes and were gone.

10: 30 – Present. As I stare at the blank page on my computer, I realize that I consistently procrastinate. Perhaps I should document my procrastination from the moment I realized I had a blog post to write until the point when I’ve completed my post. Not sure whether this is a stroke of genius or not, I realize that it’s better than nothing and set off on the not so difficult task of documenting my activities from 8:00 until 11:38.

10:32 – I spend the next hour and five minutes working on the blog post which you are currently devouring. I only take two breaks. Once, at 10:52 to grab a cup of water and once at 11:22 to take a pee. At exactly 11:37, I finish typing this exact sentence and effectively finish this blog post.

11:38 – Flashback to the Science Fair. I didn’t win any ribbons that year. Nor did I deserve to. Was my procrastination and forgetfulness worth the stress that it induced? Probably not. But in the end I had accomplished something, no matter how pathetic. I had convinced four judges, two of whom worked for NASA that rabbits were indeed faster then ferrets. In recent years I’ve come to discover that ferrets are actually faster than rabbits. Actually almost twice as fast. Sometimes when I hear about a terrible NASA disaster, I think to myself… “Am I in some tiny way to blame for that?” Could my inaccurate data have acted as a sort of butterfly effect that changed the course of history. Did those two NASA scientists take my data to heart and because of my ineptitude, did some important satellite explode or was the Apollo 13 disaster actually my fault? Sometimes I think about these things. Not very often and not with much concern, but sometimes these thoughts haunt my psyche and I just now wonder will this blog post have an effect on the course of history. Maybe Gary Busey’s career will be resurrected? Or Nutella will go out of business? Or maybe…. just maybe…. a little boy will sprout wings somewhere and learn how to fly. I don’t know. And you don’t either. Anything’s possible in this crazy crazy world.

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