Procrastination is, as is widely known, the thief of time. Somehow, despite this fact, it remains at large to commit new and blatant acts of temporal larceny: I must admit I am beginning to suspect some degree of corruption at the heart of the authorities charged with its apprehension, I suspect they have been bribed with stolen hours.
The word comes to us from Latin – suggesting the thief has been operating for millenia – and their word for tomorrow. However, it comes to my mind as a result of the many delays to work commencing on my latest essay for the Open University. This, which is to cover ideas about the transmission of medical knowledge from the Islamic world to Europe, was supposed to have appeared in its dreadful first draft form the weekend before last, but did not. I would claim that this was not the result of procrastination but because the day job consumed much of my time and mental resource. Under interrogation, I would also have to admit that the Cambridge Comedy and Summer Musical Festivals (and my attendance thereat) were also involved. I somehow allowed that week to slip through my fingers in broadly the same way, but by the Friday night I was all out of excuses and planned to set to work. Somehow nothing happened once more. Why you ask? Let’s just say Danny Boyle has a lot to answer for! (I toyed with “for which to answer”, but that seemed a little stilted, even for GofaDM).
From previous posts, you may have detected my slight lack of enthusiasm for all things Olympic – but I felt some sort of duty to at least glance at the Opening Ceremony as it had garnered so much coverage in the media (so much, that even I had been unable to avoid it). OMG! As I believe the young people say, which I believe celebrated the British synth-pop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Gloaming (who later, of course, found fame as OMD). What an incredible piece of theatre – though one can only wonder what the rest of the world might have made if it, as it was really rather British (perhaps there were handouts for foreign broadcasters). I was hooked – and my essay remained unwritten – until well after my normal bedtime. I even stuck around to watch quite a lot of the athletes parading round the stadium – how nice to see so many people smiling – and was particularly impressed by the Czechs in their very natty wellies and matching brollies, they at least had noticed the rather moist weather we’ve been enjoying (and which does seem to have returned). Apparently, the ceremony cost £27 million and peaked at 27 million viewers in the UK – and I, for one, do not begrudge them my pound. One of the best quid I’ve ever spent!
Last Sunday, tomorrow (and tomorrow and tomorrow) finally arrived and my excuses were at an end, so I was forced to knuckle-down and generate a first draft of the essay (you see, it was pro-crastination, not am-crastination). For some reason, this has proved by far the most difficult essay to draft: it took all day to place my ideas and arguments into some sort of vaguely logical and coherent order. Once the back was broken, this Friday I managed to hack it into better shape and rein in my verbosity comply with the word limit, though, as usual, consuming almost all of the permitted +10%. Oh yes, when writing essays I quite literally give it 110%! Yesterday, it was finally submitted and a great weight was lifted – some of it is even quite well written (I think, or at least hope), though it is somewhat turgid elsewhere I fear.
By yesterday afternoon I was feeling quite good about myself and then WordPress notified me of a new post from James Devine, the man who I now think of as my nemesis. While I was pfaffing around and writing one essay, he managed to build a muon detector. I am going to have to up my game quite substantially if I’m planning to compete.
Perhaps appropriately for a post about procrastination, this entry in the GofaDM canon was mostly drafted a week ago. I seem to have been temporizing to an extraordinary degree since then – though I might blame the need to write for both work and the OU for having exhausted my writing muscles. Still, pleasing to have the link back to Macbeth (the last time I studied the Arts) and particularly appropriate as this same soliloquy brings us the wonderful words “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing”: which could stand as the mission statement for GofaDM.