Mowing the lawn is time well wasted

Burt's Eye View

I stood at the picture window, staring at nothing in particular while my thoughts frittered and frolicked a million miles away.

The voice froze a thought either mid-frit or mid-frol: “Yes, that grass sure is high.”

I blinked myself back to the present. Turned to see my sweet wife. And said the first thing that came to mind: “Huh?”

“The yard.” Terry pointed out the window. “You’ve been fretting over it for a good 10 minutes.”

I shook my head. “Frankly, I’m prone to the occasional fritter or frolic, even a touch of frivolity now and then. But I don’t fret. Especially not over dandelions and crabgrass.”

“Right. Anyway, we have a device out back that will furnish you with the fragrance of freshly mown lawn. Just pull the cord and start pushing.” She pulled my arm and pushed me toward the door.

What a frump. “Hold on a second. I wasn’t staring at the yard. I was daydreaming.”

“Here’s your chance to stop goofing off.”

“I’m an author. Before I can write, I must imagine the stories in my head,” I explained for the 14,000th time. “Daydreaming IS my job.”

She rolled her eyes. “Let me guess, it’s that daydream in which you imagine that you can cling to walls like Spider-man but you’re also invisible, so you can nap on the office ceiling in plain sight of your boss, only she can’t see you.”

I hemmed. And hawed. “Maybe.”

“See, you’re wasting time.” She aimed me toward the back door. “The mower will fix that.”

“Wasting time is important.” I braced my arms against the living room archway. “All the experts say so.”

“Oh, I can’t wait to hear this one,” she said.

I shuffled through books and papers crowding the table next to my easy chair. “Here’s an article from calendar.com, a site that’s all about measuring time. Psychologist and time-efficiency experts agree, wasting time saves time.”

“It’s saving the grass from a shearing,” she said.

I tapped the page. “It says taking time off allows the brain to rest, sparks creativity, prevents burnout, lowers stress, boosts your mood and reminds you of your goals.”

“That’s why chocolate was invented.”

“That’s healthy, too.” I rubbed my chin. “You know, if I could chomp a Dove bar while stretched out invisibly on the ceiling, I’d probably get more accomplished than any human being ever.”

“Accomplishment No. 1 — mow the lawn,” Terry said.

“Wait.” I grabbed another article. “The business news site Quartz says, ‘Work expands to fill the time it’s given and, for most of us, we could spend considerably fewer hours at the office and still get the same amount done.'” I thumped my pile of research. “Like it or not, time wasted is time well spent.”

Terry crossed her arms. “Betrand Russell once said, ‘The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.'”

Finally she was getting it!

Her eyes narrowed to an icy, laser glare. “And you will enjoy time far more by pushing the mower than if you don’t.”

I got it.

I still think mowing the lawn is a waste of time — the grass grows right back — but it was time well wasted.

• Help Cole formulate other plans to get out of work at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.


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