Friday, December 19, 2008

And now for something completely late

As a junior in high school, I wrote an essay of which I was rather proud. I was given two months to write a comparison/contrast essay on a topic of my choice. I chose men and women. I learned a vitally important lesson: never choose the topic covered by the Dave Barry column you read in class. Your essay will not measure up.

We had to write multiple drafts, and I realized my mistake by the end of the first draft. Unfortunately, I then had only one night left to complete my remaining four required drafts. I was panicking (my notes show that I was considering comparing/contrasting Batman with Larry-Boy). Then, in a moment of inspiration, I discovered a topic and wrote one of my favorite compositions.

I typed it at the school library and failed to save a copy, which distressed me for years. Then, cleaning out my room one day, I discovered a folder full of schoolwork that I had considered important. Inside was my essay! There was much celebration. I determined to transcribe it as soon as possible. It has been a few years since.

In the frantic atmosphere of the end of the semester, I thought of this paper often. Now, having finished my last take-home final, I think it is time to transcribe the essay. Call it deep, call it important, call it thought-provoking - if you can do so with a straight face. And now, after nine years, I present my well thought-out Englilsh paper:

The Procrastinator and the Planner

There are two kinds of time managers in this world: those who procrastinate and those who do not. Those who procrastinate are maligned by our ignorant society while those who plan are upheld as an ideal. I feel it to be my duty to rectify this alarmingly erroneous image.

At the deepest level, procrastinators and planners have a strong similarity. Both desire to make the work load as light and feasible as possible. Both have systems - often called work ethics - established to make assignments as easy as possible to complete. The differences arise in which systems they believe to be most effective. People can usually be easily identified as either a planner or procrastinator by some of their other characteristics.

Planners, for instance, are usually recognizable by their timidity. The planner is incapable of facing a deadline. He fears the deadline and attempts to distance it by engaging it for only a few minutes at a time. He will not consider attempting to battle the foe without his trusty tinfoil-like armor of pocket planners and calendars. Stripped of these props, he is liable to run from the battlefield in screaming terror.

The procrastinator, on the other hand, is cool and calm. She is always willing to try to beat the odds. Like a true warrior, she will face the deadline with nothing but her will, pen, and paper (or computer, depending on the circumstances). However near the deadline may grow, she will not flinch. She is willing to risk all to defeat the foe.

The planner will inexplicably pair his fear with rashness. He will plunge into an assignment without first learning the field and will thereby come to disaster. While attempting to conquer the deadline, he will be besieged by additional requirements and flounder, possibly to the point where he will have to start over.

The procrastinator is wiser. She understands the fickle ways of the world and waits. In this way, when the foe advances (in the form of a new essay format or research requirement), she is secure in her fortress of patience. Let no one doubt the strength of her will.

Related to the intelligence and patience issue is flexibility. The planner is tragically flawed in his rigidity. Any changes in format cause a panic mode to set into his mind. Like a tower of single Legos stacked one on top of the other, he in his stern inflexibility will topple at the slightest pressure.

The procrastinator is saved from this fault. She more resembles a tree, which digs and feels out the ground before slowly rising in supple strength. She is able to adjust to pressures and changes in pans and even flourish as a result.

The planner's chief fault is his intrinsic laziness. He wishes to work only intermittently, ignoring the fact that he ought to work as much at one time as possible in order to maintain his train of thought. He categorizes and boxes ideas into a small segment of time as an attempt to avoid them. After a short amount of time, he is much less alert and diligent than his counterpart. As a result of his laziness, the planner is left with inferior workmanship and coherence in his assignments.

In direct contrast to her counterpart's chief flaw lies the procrastinator's chief virtue of tenacity. She will continue to work at a problem until it is finished, regardless of temptations in her path. Her main reward is the superior skill with which her work is crafted. She has a concise, clean work which flows nicely from conception to completion.

In spite of the clear superiority of the procrastinator as a worker in most respects, society insists on supporting the planner by "time management" sessions and "go-getter" ideas. Still, there is one field in which most people agree that the procrastinator excels out of necessity: rationalization. For a proof of that, please reread the above essay, completed two minutes before the deadline.

In point of fact, it was thirty seconds, as I was printing as the warning bell rang for class. But that is not the sort of thing one admits to teachers, even if they are the sort who put a little smiley face after such a sentence.


Anonymous said...

What a fun read! And so nice to have a fresh entry to read. Love you! Mom and Dad

renniejoy said...

Even later -

Beautiful! I look forward to reading more!