I've written before about how my editors at Undergrad U. would put ridiculous headlines on my articles. It didn't matter how hard I tried to come up with a good one, they always disregarded it. As a result, I got lazy and started submitting stories entitled "Headline Goes Here." Well, my new editor has used my submitted headline for both articles that have run so far. He cleans it up newspaper-wise (meaning replacing "is" with a colon and "and" with a comma), and he writes the subhead, but all the rest of it is my fault.
Laziness: Just Another Word for Nothing Better to Do - How the Many Uses for Others Can Come in Handy
My wife has no discernible mob ties, but I married her anyway. One characteristic she shares with New Jersey's finest waste management executives, though, is her ability to get other people to do her dirty work. Every mob boss knows not to whack anyone himself (are the kids still saying that these days?); that's why you have deadbeat nephews. Anytime a rival gets rubbed out, you can be miles away with an airtight alibi.
This is my wife's guiding principle whenever she needs to make a phone call, especially to someone she's never met. She just talks about how badly it's needed, and about the consequences of not doing it, until I make the call for her. While I'm on the phone, she's often somewhere else, working on her airtight alibi. I wonder why she needs to maintain plausible deniability about these calls. The next time she asks me to call someone named Tony the Plumber and say, “The cannoli is in the pot,” maybe I should decline.
Not having to do the things you have to do looked like fun to me, and I wanted in on the act, so we had kids. It's extra helpful that my five-year-old son likes to pretend he's a deliver van. I play along by letting him “deliver” things upstairs and downstairs all day. My seven-year-old daughter is wise to that game, but she still thinks it's fun to write a grocery list. Now if only she would go to the grocery store for me, I could take a nap.
I don't just use my kids for my own laziness. I also allow them to get me out of awkward situations. My parents love the idea of me visiting, but an actual visit from me ends in the exchange, “They shouldn't cut my benefits”/“They're not in business for your welfare.” Much better to avoid any unpleasant discussions of the merits of capitalism by sending my kids, who get along famously with my father on account of their notorious socialist leanings. After all, the younger the kid, the bigger the freeloader.
I'm expanding the range of work I will no longer do for myself. Recently I've begun having other people do dangerous things for me, like drive recklessly to school. I just stand around at a bus stop until the driver arrives 20 minutes after the advertised pickup time, then sit back comfortably and read as he motors me to class with a blatant disregard for life and limb. Inadequate following distances, excessive speeds, disobedience of traffic laws: he's the total package. There are times when I look out the window and see the mute terror in the faces of other motorists, but I just turn up my music and relax. After all, why should I worry? In event of accident, I've got a bus full of other passengers to cushion me as I bounce around like a pinball. I might even make a new friend that way.
I wish the university provided other services like this for students. Instead of going home for Christmas to announce you've failed chemistry, why not have the school send a singing telegram instead? Your mother will enjoy a little song and dance on the front step, and if the singer's a looker, your father might enjoy it, too. Surrogate class sleepers would allow you to remain comfortable in your own bed without hurting the professor's feelings. After all, you cared enough to send the very best. If the university won't help you out, you can always follow my lead and have kids. My professors have reported back that they enjoy when I send my kids to sleep in class for me. They say it's better than actually having me there. To that I say, “Tony, the cannoli is in the pot.”
© 2009, Broadside. Reprinted by permission.