“Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it and the time passed so slowly. He had figured out that a single hour on the skeet-shooting range with people like Havermeyer and Appleby could be worth as much as eleven-times-seventeen years.” – Catch 22, Joseph Heller

We’re now entering on prime idling season so it’s time to set our speed at the lowest possible RPMs. We want to see to it that time doesn’t pass by in such a hurry, being careful, of course, not to stall out altogether. If you carefully observe your modern techno-savvy types, you’ll find they operate at a feverish pace, moving at flank speed from project to project and constantly monitoring their electronic devices to keep up with the latest developments in news, sports and fashion. Avoid this lifestyle at all costs. Why? Because a life so jam-packed with stimulating activities and lively diversions will be over in nothing flat. Oh, sure, it may seem rewarding, what there is of it. But one minute you’ll be planting a kiss on Suzie at the junior prom, or sliding behind the wheel of your first new car and – boom! –  there you are flagging down the Access driver. So Rule #1 for successful idling is:

Persistence of memory

Lose Your Electronics –  Frankly, they can be downright dangerous. A New York City teenager, Chenelle Agnew, lost the grip on her iPhone and watched it tumble onto the tracks at the Bergen Street subway station. For Chenelle, death was apparently preferable to being temporarily phoneless. She jumped down onto the tracks to retrieve it, but she wasn’t quite fast enough. If you’ve ever ridden the rails in NYC you know how fast they move. Chenelle was run over, but miraculously sustained only cuts and bruises. Once strapped to a stretcher she immediately updated her facebook status.

Wean yourself away from them gradually. For people who insist on FaceTiming or Skyping you, arrange to be in the toilet when they call. For texting, get that Bitmoji app and build yourself a really distasteful avatar that nobody will want to have on their text feed.

Do Some Work –  Nothing too strenuous, mind you; we are idlers, after all. But if our project is to slow down the pace, dealing with the plant kingdom will be instructive. You can send a tomato plant all the texts, email and voicemail in the world and it isn’t going to grow any faster. But if you go about it on a plodding, methodical schedule of watering and weeding, it’ll be happy and you’ll be at least somewhat in tune with nature. By the time your crop comes in, they’ll be giving them away at Shop N Save, but that wasn’t really the point, was it?

Take Up Fishing –  No boats, though, okay? If you get into boating, you’re dealing with the trailer, you’re looking for a tow kit to haul it, you’re into engine maintenance, docking, it never ends. What you want to do is get a little bait-casting outfit at Walmart, grab a folding lawn chair and find your way to Ducktown or some deserted little spot along the Yough. Beverages and a couple of stogies. Strictly catch and release too, which leaves you nothing to haul, de-scale, gut or throw away. By the way, that gardening you were dumb enough to do in the last paragraph might yield you some bait.

Work On Your Tan –  We have to give the ladies in our lives some props here. All these years we’ve observed them positioning the chaise just right and reclining in their swim togs after first buttering up with Coppertone or something. You may have been ill-bred enough to inquire whether she was taking a nap, at which time she would patiently explain that she was tanning,you vulgar oaf. Well sunblock for the goose is sunblock for the gander, right? You just want to be wary of those harmful UV rays, especially if you’re already oiled up with some brewskis.

Child Care –  This can make the time pass at the rate of continental drift if done properly. There’s nothing like building and toppling the same lego tower a few dozen times to slow down the old second-hand. Sure, donning the hazmat suit for diaper duty can speed things up, but it only means that nap time is that much sooner. Be careful not to let any of the urchins get ahold of your special sippy cup.

There you have it, fellow idlers. I hope you will put these ideas to work for you as slowly and inefficiently as possible. Me, I have a Skype coming in.

Comments – DickVerbo@hotmail.com  Also, Like “The Idler” on Facebook

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