Last weekend, as I sat contemplating the three papers, six reading assignments and one at-home platypus dissection I had to get done by Monday, I realized something: I am a procrastinator.
OK, so I didn’t just realize this. I mean, I do still owe Sister James, my first-grade teacher/prison warden, a book report on “Clifford Makes a Friend” (I swear I am going to read it tonight).
I haven’t always been like this. There was a time when I got things done before they were supposed to be finished. I call this time birth. See, I was born three weeks early.
And it’s been pretty much downhill from there.
At least I’m not the only one. Everyone in college does it to some degree or another. I take comfort in the fact that I am not as bad as the guy I saw writing a thesis on his laptop while riding his bike into Tuttleman, 10 minutes late for class.
I’ve also done some pretty odd things to meet my deadlines. Typically, this comes after ignoring four weeks of reminders from professors, planning my “thesis strategy” and then joining in a marathon 12-hour Dance Dance Revolution 2 tournament the day before a paper is due. (Hey, my brother triple-dog dared me. You can’t back down from that.)
I always get weird looks on the bus when I ask people to pretend they are female college students so I can interview them for an article about sorority mud wrestling for one of my journalism classes. Or when I start attacking a trashcan on the subway platform with an antenna I broke off a Mini Cooper, so I can at least act like I have been practicing fencing all week.
It’s not just school either. I told my girlfriend I would take her out drinking when she turned 21. She’s 27 now.
And Dad, if you’re reading this, I promise I’ll get the yard cleaned up before President Bush comes by and declares it a federal disaster area again. (Living in a swing state is fun. Bush and Kerry keep dropping by to out-macho each other. Last week, Kerry bench-pressed my dog and Bush scissor-kicked the guy who digs through our trash for aluminum cans.)
Here is one thing I have learned so far about trying to cure procrastination: worry about it tomorrow.
It’s been working for me since Sister James gave up trying to get me to fix the inflatable Letter Person I popped during phonics class. (Poor Mr. M. He was only trying to show off his Munchie Mouth.)
One final confession: I wrote my column Sunday night to avoid my homework.
But I should get back to work. I just have to figure out where that platypus wandered off to.
Brian White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.