“What Are You Waiting For?”
Honestly, I really don’t know. But for years, that question has been asked of me, shouted at me, implored of me, each of these with or without an accompanying door slam.
I’m writing this at the last minute, because that’s what I do—put things off and then suffer the consequences. I don’t expect your sympathy; I brought this all on myself, in so many areas of my life.
But there is hope for me; you’ll see glimmers of my metamorphosis throughout.
Let’s start out with, as at least half of all humorous essays do, the dentist.
Six months ago, I got a tooth filled and an earful from my dentist, Dr. Torquemada. Desperate to evade his chiding and probing questions, I lied through my teeth. I lied about brushing after every meal, flossing, rinsing, and avoiding sugary drinks.
I was prepared to lie about anything, then—my politics, favorite team, sexual position (I’m for it)—anything to elude my inquisitor. Naturally, he barely took the trouble to hide both his disbelief and his disdain.
I vowed to myself that I would be ready next time.
Well, guess what? “Next time” comes tomorrow. I noticed the appointment when I got the happy tooth reminder post card two weeks ago. So, three days ago I began a regimen of constant brushing, flossing, rinsing, and spitting out blood from my gums—I finally stopped when I heard over the PA system, “Pickup in aisle three.”
There’s not a spec of food to be found on my teeth—hopefully some plaque is also gone—I know there’s precious little enamel left.
Will any of these last minute desperate measures make up for six months of neglect, and let me skate through the exam? If we are to learn anything from experience, which apparently I have not, the answer is, “not by a long shot.”
Now here’s an area where I’ve improved. After an audit twenty years ago, I was on a first name basis for a while with the funsters at the local IRS office. They were very nice, very civil, as long as I kept my payments current. Funny, my bookie is like that, too.
I had an accountant who was a nice guy, but a tremendous bore—he just kept saying unhelpful, almost hurtful, things like, “You’ve got to keep receipts, you’ve got to keep better records…or any records.”
The word “extension,” while not of my coinage, had been co-opted by me. I found that if I sent a bushel of money along with my request for extension, that usually tended to hold them at bay for a while.
Also, it’s an ill wind that blows no good. You see, my chronic tardiness on project deadlines caused me to lose client after client, and that led me to a complete loss of income, so…no more tax worries.
That funeral stuff gives me the willies. But I want to make it easier on my family, so I am now in the preparatory stages of getting ready to prepare for pre-planning. Believe me, this is a major step I’ve taken—or will have taken…eventually.
“Regularly scheduled maintenance” to me means whenever something goes wrong, I take the car in and tell the guys at the shop to fix the problem and see whatever else is needed. No, I do not ignore any warning lights or bells that go on, but I figure there’s some built-in lead time, built-in by manufacturers who understand the American male psyche, so I usually have the car looked at in about a month—unless the clanking and screeching gets so loud that I have to take it in early (for me).
The improvement in this area has led me to greater financial security and an incredible sense of wellbeing.
In the bad old days, I had bills, each one with a different due date, strewn across my desk. After a curserary (sic) glance, they were pigeon holed for future payment. This (so-called) system was a complete and utter disaster.
This is no longer a problem. I wish I could take credit for it (as is my wont), but my computer and some amazing software get full credit. But I’m making progress, and each improvement prods me to make greater changes.
I will longer be associated with the term “procrastinator.”
I’m now on the side of the angels—put me down as a confirmed anticrastinator.