Monday, August 30, 2010

Course Overload #13: "The Dangers of Procrastination"

I know the feeling. You’ve just come back to your dorm after some wild party, or you’ve been up all night talking with your best friend. Or maybe you’re just lazy, you slacker. Whatever the reason, you don’t feel like doing your homework. But let me tell you something: It’s better to just do it and get it over with. Bad things happen to those who procrastinate. I’m living proof.

One sunny day a few years ago, I found myself neglecting my chores so I could play the newest video game, Final Fantasy XXVII. Of course, there were better things to be doing – the window screens needed to be put back on, the dog needed to be walked, and those dirty gym clothes weren’t going to clean themselves – but I could always do that stuff later. What could possibly go wrong?

My plan was to stop playing and start working around 3 p.m., a full three hours before mom would be home, but Final Fantasy XXVII had other plans for me. By the time I thought to check a clock, it was past 3 p.m. It was so far past, in fact, that the three hour cushion I had originally intended for myself had withered away to just 20 minutes.

“Okay,” I thought, attempting to repress my panic, “I can do this.” How hard could it be? I had my list of chores; I simply needed to complete them as they appeared. What could possibly go wrong?

First came my gym clothes. I had to stop for a moment to recall where I had left them. “Of course!” I exclaimed with a snap of my fingers, “I never took them out of my book bag!” I dashed into my bedroom, grabbed the bag, and shot downstairs to the washing machine. There wasn’t any time to fish my clothes out with all those unused text books in my way, so I tossed the entire thing in the washing machine, dumped in about half a bottle of laundry detergent, slammed the lid shut and ran off to complete my next objective.

I needed to walk the dog. It was obvious by looking at him that nature had been calling all day, and his answering machine was about to give out unless I did something right away. Our entire back yard is fenced, so all I needed to do was open the door and let him out. That way, I could save time and the dog could finally go with the flow. I flung open the door and he trotted out.

The dog was taken care of and so were my gym clothes. Now all that was left were the screens. For that, all I needed was a screwdriver. I rushed to the garage to grab one, but suddenly I flat on my back, laying in a sudsy mess. The washing machine had overflowed! Perhaps half a bottle of detergent was a tad too much. The floor was wet, the screens weren’t in place yet and my underpants were soggy.

Before I could even think about cleaning up the soapy mess, something caught my attention. What was that smell?

“Is someone burning garbage?”

Then it hit me. It was the roast I was supposed to take out of the oven an hour ago. I had to get it out before it set off –

The smoke alarm emitted a high pitched squeal. Ears ringing and underpants sloshing, I burst into the kitchen. I could barely see through the thick black smoke. Throwing the oven door open, I was met with a blast of searing heat. There was no way I could reach into the oven with all that smoke, so, I opened the nearest (screenless) window.

As the smoke began to clear, I realized that I had to make something for dinner. If Mom came home and found the house in shambles AND nothing to eat, I’d have bigger problems than an overflowing washing machine and soggy underpants. I opened the freezer and grabbed a steak. But wait! There’s no time for steak! Of course! Setting the timer for ten minutes, I threw the frozen meat in the microwave and went to find a mop.

Before I could even make it to the bathroom to retrieve the mop, a peculiar sound stopped me. It wasn’t the smoke alarm. No, this was much louder. Kind of like a fire truck.

“Wait a minute; that IS a fire truck!”

A man in full fire fighting gear kicked down the front door. Apparently, the smoke alarm was wired into the fire station. Seven firemen marched past me into the kitchen.

“There’s no possible way this could get any worse,” I said, burying my face in my hands.

I was wrong.

Almost as soon as the firemen entered the kitchen, they all came running out, swatting wildly, swearing and slipping on soap suds. Hornets the size of small battleships were buzzing around them. There was a nest right next to the kitchen window and the smoke from the oven fire had agitated them. With no screen to stop them, in they came, pissed off ready to kill.

I needed some fresh air. Stepping outside, I saw something big chasing the retreating firemen. It looked like my dog. It WAS my dog. He must have somehow escaped from the backyard. So, after I “convinced” him to leave the nice fireman alone, we watched them speed away. “Gee,” I thought, “I hope they aren’t angry.” Coming in the opposite direction was my mom.

Walking into the house, Mom said, “I hope you didn’t play that Final Fantasy game all day. Did you finish all your chores?”

“Uh, yes and no,” I replied.

“What do you mean by…?” Before she could finish her sentence, she was cut off by the smoke alarm. The dog and I just stood where we were as mom went barreling down the stairs. All I heard were the sounds of someone slipping and falling, some screaming about smoke and bees, and finally, something about steak in the microwave catching fire and making the smoke alarm go off. In the distance, I heard the familiar sound of the fire truck siren.

That day, I had learned a very important lesson. Even firemen are scared of hornets. Oh, and do your homework on time.

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