When I was in seventh grade, Mrs. Chiaventone’s second-hour honors English class met in a classroom that had big windows looking out onto the playground where the children in the adjacent elementary school played.
Second hour coincided with the elementary students’ morning recess. The school was not air-conditioned, so we had to keep the windows open during warm weather.
This combination of factors provided an endless source of entertainment (read: disruptions) for our class.
On one particularly memorable morning, a little boy stood right outside our window, loudly upbraiding a playmate: “You’ve got stupidity! Stupidity! YOU’VE GOT STUPIDITY!”
I have no idea what his companion had done to earn this diagnosis, but it became a running joke in our class. Every time someone forgot his homework, or missed a question on a test, or gave a lame oral report, or we were confronted with a situation that we just weren’t sure how to address, one or the other of us would announce: “YOU’VE GOT STUPIDITY!”
This would, of course, bring down the house. Especially when Chris Redfearn did it. I don’t know why it was funnier when Chris said it. It just was.
I mention this tonight because I can hear that little boy’s voice shouting in my thought.
I am supposed to be laying out a newsletter for a local nonprofit group. Someone asked me if I could throw something together on the fly. In the past two weeks, I have designed a 76-page magazine for the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, which I followed up with a 12-page newsletter yesterday, and in between, two deadlines have come and gone at work, meaning I have laid out something like 18 pages at the office. Frankly, I’ve spent about as much quality time with inDesign as I care to. But I promised I would have this other newsletter done by Monday.
It’s not a big deal. It’s based on a very simple template. It’s only six pages. I have all the items I need, along with a list of everything I am supposed to have and where it’s all supposed to go. I am not responsible for writing, shooting, or editing anything. All I have to do is Photoshop some pictures into black and white, slap the stories and photos on the pages, and send a PDF to the editor. The whole thing probably won’t take an hour and a half. I’m just not in the mood to do it … and haven’t been all weekend.
So what am I doing tonight?
I’m looking up pictures of ’50s bombshell dresses to wear to the Will Rogers Banquet in June. I’m exchanging e-mails with a buddy of mine in California. I’m approving blog comments. I’m going back and rereading old blog entries from eight months ago. I’m thinking about changing my gerbil’s litter, because something in here smells weird, and I’m pretty sure it’s her. (Note how I am not actually changing her litter, which would represent a productive use of my time … just thinking about it.) And now I am blogging about something that happened during the Reagan administration.
In short, I am procrastinating in grand fashion. And I have been procrastinating for at least three times as long as it would have taken to simply lay out the newsletter.
You know why?
Because I’ve got STUPIDITY.