a pro at crastination

This is Harvey doing the dishes

This is Harvey doing the dishes

Weekly Guest Spotlight Featuring Harvey Chute, author of the upcoming Stone and Silt.

Thanks to Erica for honoring me with a guest post on her blog today. I'm filling in while Ms. Dean deals with the aftermath of her incinerated laptop - which likely got overheated from writing her little drabble, "Payback" last week.

Today is a perfect day for composing a blog post, as it offers me an excuse to avoid some needed household chores. Like clearing out the lush overhead gardens that are supposed to serve as our rain-gutters.

I live in the Pacific Northwest. Here, we get excited when the forecast calls for light showers with occasional drizzle breaks. The wetness of our lives surrounds us with greenery. That's all well and good when you’re walking in the woods, but distressing to see in our fuzzy moss-covered roof, which makes our home look like a set location for Peter Jackson's Shire.

The last time I cleaned out our gutters - during the Clinton administration, I believe - there were ferns growing up there. In lush soil that was home to healthy earthworms. Yes, I said earthworms! Yuck!

I'm a master at avoiding those unpleasant tasks. Procrastination is much maligned these days, but I take pride in elevating it to an art form.

This started in my college days, when I became a proficient juggler while avoiding my pile of calculus practice sheets. I started with three bean bags, which tended to stay put when they fell to the ground, and by the end of my first term progressed to four tennis balls. Differentiate that, Mr. Leibniz!

Then I learned a series of Beatles riffs on my cheapo guitar while avoiding English Lit reading assignments. I improved my frisbee-throwing skills while dodging chemistry labs. And, while carefully steering clear of my biology textbooks, I made progress in my ability to talk Daffy Duck-style. It's not as easy as it looks, folks.

I graduated from college with a middling GPA and, more importantly, a host of skills that have equipped me well to serve as everybody’s favorite uncle.

I tell you, though, I’m concerned about the next generation. My twin daughters have not acquired this procrastination skill. They should be genetically predisposed to the pursuit of frivolous avoidance activities. Like the ability to spin a quarter with one hand while catching a stack of them from the opposing elbow.

But no, not my girls. They come home from school and dutifully open their backpacks, covering the kitchen counter with their planners and textbooks and lined paper. Heads down. Pens skittering across the pages. They refuse to be diverted, and take pride in the impressive bumps of their writing calluses.

My wife and I worry for our offspring. We wonder where this sense of responsibility came from, and try to impose breaks for them. "Come on, girls, Jeopardy's starting!" But no, the little workers persevere, hunched over their books like two mirror-image Bob Cratchits.

Now school's out, and summer is here. The pace of our lives changes. I’m pleased to report that, on a ferryboat ride this week to the nearby San Juan islands, my girls spent an hour learning the Disappearing Quarter trick.

Perhaps there's hope for them yet.

~ ~ ~

Harvey Chute is the author of Stone and Silt, a historical mystery to be released on August 19th. Harvey blogs at harveychute.blogspot.com Well, when he isn't busy procrastinating, that is. 

Until the next time...I'll be back with our regularly scheduled programming


Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on June 29, 2013 .