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The art of putting things off: Finding adventure through procrastination

By Graham von Carlowitz, Guest Writer

The other night I found myself on the Wikipedia page of a small village in Illinois - Ridgeway was its name. Don't feel bad if you haven't heard of it. Ridgeway needs only 72 more residents to achieve the mark of a whopping 1000 citizens (they're so close).

My trek to this seemingly invisible town in southeast Illinois, though, can be explained with one word: procrastination (or, in five words, a well-timed curiosity of popcorn).

Ridgeway was once the self-proclaimed popcorn capital of the world, a fact I rejoice over knowing. While my motif analysis should have been my priority, sometimes I just can't help myself.

In some cases, procrastinating is simply me living in the moment, a carpe diem attitude that can culminate in obscure population statistics from time to time. In other cases, it has left me searching frantically for a ride home.

Halloween this year took a back seat to my brother's wedding (the second of its kind this fall), and seeing as though I got to the first one in upstate New York with relative ease, I thought it only natural to be lazy about finding a ride to Cleveland. Like my papers of the past, I figured the task would complete itself.

That is, until I was reminded that the papers completed themselves only after a five-hour craze with alternating intervals of incredible progress and unrelenting meltdowns, when I would think to myself "I'll never procrastinate again!" Nonsense. It always works out.

In the case of the wedding, my ticket home was punched by the grace of a freshman-year friend, merely hours before my promised arrival time, and was well worth the wait.

We drove for two hours straight without incident, unless counting cornfields can be conceived as something more than torture. Then the excitement in our drive piled up like heavy snow does overnight.

First, the tire blew out; it failed to exist, in other words. Next, we waited for a few hours, contemplating far-fetched game show names (like "Would a Bunny Eat That?") and the tow-truck man's appearance, among other things. Not only was the wait fast-forwarded thanks to the hilarious diets of bunnies, but also our tower (that is, he who tows) blew away our expectations.

His head gleaming in the freeway lights, our tower stood tall like a tower and sported a waterfall of facial hair reaching his belt buckle. I wouldn't go so far as to say he conjured the image of a bald Jesus. However, he did come to save us bearing a haloed head, provided us with milk and honey …and McDonald's, and concluded by saying he would come again (though that may have been a polite way of offering his help if future troubles arise).

I do concede that procrastination is not always appropriate. Spoiled milk and successful bear attacks, now those come from a senseless application of the waiting tactic. The dubbing of the hamstring? Come on, the person who was assigned to name that muscle waited until the last second and came up with one of the more perplexing muscular terms.

Or take, for example, Jack Torrance, the main character of Stephen King's 'The Shining.' While some argue that bearing the mental anvil of isolation led to Jack's "demise" (or psychotic, murderous rampage), to me it's quite obvious that the strain of misused procrastination maneuvers made Jack a dull boy.

There's a certain art in putting things off, and talking to ghosts doesn't seem to fit the mold, Jack.

To those who already qualify as experts in feeding the furnace of their active minds, high five, chest bump, whatever makes your boat float. Woe betides those who haven't quite found the way, the correct path of procrastination.

May you learn to wean off your predictable paths and practice a form of patience. Temporize, tarry, take your time, and you, too, may discover the towns Wikipedia cares about.

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