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The lazy “M” (that’s me!)

September 4, 2012


When I was a freshman in college, I attended the University of Chicago.  I’d been through grade school and high school in the Chicago public school system.  A smart kid, there were few if any challenges there.  As a result, I’d never developed any study skills.  Things had come easily to me, academically.  UC was like a slap in the face with a tire iron in this respect.  In my liberal arts class, which substituted for freshman humanities and sociology classes we were reading philosophy.  My classmates would say things like “extrapolating from what Nietzsche said….”  Extrapolating?  Heck, I didn’t understand what he had said.  It was denser than anything I’d read before, and I’d been reading Faulkner in high school – on my own, his writing had never been assigned.  As a freshman at UC, I was spending two hours a night studying French and barely passing.  The thing I remember the most was the feeling of never being finished.  Anytime I wasn’t studying I knew I was neglecting my homework, because it was never, ever, finished.  I hated it.


After two years at UC, having gotten my first failing grade ever (I failed History of Western Civilization as a sophomore at UC, a requirement for graduation), I transferred to the University of Washington in Seattle, where things, if not quite as easy as high school, were a lot closer to that than to my experience at UC.  Breathe one great big, luxurious, delightful, breath of relief.


In fact, as far as I can recall, I’ve never had much desire to be a hard worker.  I’ve worked hard, but it isn’t something I take satisfaction in, and it isn’t something I desire.  I want to relax, kick back, chill.  I want all my chores to be finished.  I want happy hour, Miller time.  I want that whistle to blow and tell me the shift is over.  I want to nap.  A lot.


Now I realize that lots and lots and lots and lots of people have  lots more to do than me.  So I struggle not to sound aggrieved at my work load, though it does seem that everyday life is just one endless list of things that need to be done.  Some of them are things I choose, sort of.  I don’t like exercising, but I go to the gym 6 days a week, because I know it’s necessary to stay in some sort of decent physical condition.  I sort of like meditating, though most of the time I’d rather watch TV.  But I meditate most days, because I believe it does something good for me.  There’s shopping, and cleaning, and taking the trash out, and all those e-mails, and all the papers that pile up on my desk (& next to my desk and below my desk).  And after a (very short) while, I feel like I’m buried.  It’s like being a freshman again.  Anytime I’m not whittling away at my list of things to do, I’m goofing off.  The list never ends.  And I write this knowing full well that I have it soooooooooo easy compared to…practically everyone.  How do they do it?  Well, I guess they have to, but why aren’t there dozens of people going beserk everyday?  I don’t mean the people you see on the news in various parts of the world, but in my neighborhood, in every neighborhood.  I think I don’t handle stress well.  The best thing for me would be to win the lottery and move someplace in the woods, and hire people to take care of me.


Perhaps I’ll make that my goal: win the lottery.



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