There is an art to wasting time; something my wife has told me on several occasions I have mastered well. I could protest of course, but that would be a waste of time.
As I sat in my writing room one day, staring at a calendar that has long since expired, I began to think about this. Playing the Lottery last year, was definitely a waste of time. I had planned on winning that, in order to do absolutely nothing this year. It was also a waste of time trying to lose weight last year. Although at one point I thought I had actually accomplished that one, until I realized I just had on lighter clothes when I weighed.
The “Honey do” lists my wife gave me at the start of last year in the vain hope, that I would do them instead of waste the opportunity, have been updated to 2016. (She never gives up!) I am another year behind on the book I had wanted to finish writing by the end of 2001. Apparently I wasted all my research time again, and will have to start over. The clutter in my room is a year older, and seems to be a growing thing, that will soon take over completely. I promise my wife at least once a week, that I will quit wasting time and clean it up – and maybe I will – next week.
The only thing I really managed to do lately was get one step closer to the time waster’s hall of fame, according to my wife. She could be right; I even put this article off until now, after starting it in January.
As I drove through Sedalia a couple of weeks ago, I passed a house, where an old man sat on his front porch, in an equally old rocking chair. The scene reminded me of something that I had forgotten through the years. I had forgotten the devices old men used to get away with wasting time when I was a kid. Nearly every porch where an old man lived in those days had either a rocking chair or porch swing on it. I remember the old men of those houses sitting in one or the other for hours obviously just wasting time. The thing is I don’t recall a single instance when someone criticized them for this obvious non-productive activity.
As I thought about it I realized it must have been because their hands were always busy. Old men used to whittle a lot back then, and now I think I know why. It was probably harder for their wives to accuse them of wasting time if they kept something moving. It may be that women of this generation are just not aware of a man’s need to waste a little time as he ripens with age. Maybe it’s time for men to head back to their porches to practice this rite our forefathers surly meant for us to maintain. I think it’s worth a try, so the next time I see an old rocking chair on a rummage sale, I plan to buy it for my porch. I’ll also be on the lookout for a good pocket knife.
Jack Miller is a longtime Sedalia resident whose column runs in the Weekend edition of the Democrat.