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Posts Tagged ‘laziness’

 

John Steinbeck, writing in “The Log from the Sea of Cortez” says; “Only in laziness can we achieve a state of contemplation which is a balancing of values, weighing of oneself against the world and the world against itself. A busy man cannot find time for such balancing.” Steinbeck suggests that lazy men (presumably mankind not gender specific) cannot commit murders, nor theft, nor lead a mob. A nation of lazy people would be incapable of fighting war. Wars, murders, thievery, evil deeds are all activities Steinbeck contributes to busy people.

When I was still in the academic life and a department head my waking hours and some sleeping hours, were dominated by deadlines. Deadlines for grant proposals, deadlines for a myriad of administrative details, deadlines for articles to scientific journals and to review papers for those journals, deadlines to prepare for classes and for exam preparation, deadlines for reviewing grant applications for NIH, deadlines for budgets, for reports, for meeting with and advising students, you get the idea, lots of deadlines. I was a busy person, busy in the classroom, busy in my lab, busy in my offices, both at the University and at home. There was always something that needed to be finished, deadlines to meet. I was a busy person.

After I retired Rosalie insisted that I cultivate some laziness. The problem is that I am easily bored. So, after moving to the Seattle area to be closer to our two sons and their families I renovated the house we bought, finished the third edition of my reference textbook, started writing fiction, took up fly fishing again after a fifty-year hiatus. I am working hard at avoiding deadlines, but find them still unavoidable. I am still a busy person.

Lately I have started paying close attention to the way Charlize lives her life. She doesn’t have any deadlines but is pretty insistent about her two constitutional walks a day. As I pick up after her and carry the biodegradable green bags I wonder who, exactly, is in charge, but that’s the subject of a whole separate column. Charlize plays fetch with me for ten or fifteen minutes, she eats what I put in front of her when I put it down, she asks to be petted from time to time and is either hard asleep or dozing for at least twenty hours a day. Her only responsibilities are to comfort and guard me. I think she has the whole lazy thing figured out. She is unlikely to start a war but she will steal the treats from my jacket pocket if I leave it where she can get to them.

Here is a busy Charlize at the dog beach at Delmar, CA.

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