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Procrastination teaches a lesson we put off learning

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I would like to state, before this column starts, that I love writing the column. It’s been a pleasure for the last few years to bring to you a little insight, a little opinion and a lot of words. I would like to thank those of you who are entertained — both of you — and all those who read each week.

I have written about what an effort it is to put out a weekly column that is not only easy to read, but is well thought out and of the best quality I can muster. This alone is an achievement. It is not about preparation or research. It’s not about struggling with a topic. The difficulty comes from something much more serious.

I, friends, am a procrastinator.

This is nothing new. Procrastination has been and integral part of my life for as long as I can remember. School projects were usually done the night before they were due. I remember having to create a lengthy report in fifth grade that required me to display all my research in the form of a bibliography and footnotes and all that. Of course, this was well before the advent of the internet and home computers and I was writing the whole thing with a Paper-Mate pen in medium blue ink that seemed to smear when it came into contact with the heel of my hand.

I managed to get the report turned in, smeared in blue and on time. I thank my parents and their encouraging cheers of “You do this all the time.” and “I swear, if you do this again, I am going to give you something to cry about.”

My apologies to the people of the fine state of Texas, whom I am sure I insulted terribly with my incredibly inaccurate description of their state. Most of my information came from the television show “Dallas,” which if memory serves me correctly, was not a documentary of any sort.

The same parents mentioned above gave my brother and I ONE single chore. We had to mow the lawn.

Our lawn was about a half acre and could be done in less than an hour if you set your mind to it. My brother was assigned half and I was assigned the other. One week I would do the front and he would do the back and we would switch sides the next week.

Of course, it was always hot or one of us had to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes, so an hour-long job would take about three hours. Procrastination seems to run in the family. I still don’t like to mow the lawn to this day. I wish I could find a kid in the neighborhood to mow it, but a $10 job suddenly became a $50 job. My lawn is a lot smaller than the one I grew up with. It’s not a $50 job.

This brings us back to the column. I write the column at the last possible minute. I never have a clue as to what I am going to write about until I actually sit down and write it. I put on music and sit at the computer and I see what comes out of my brain.

Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s nostalgic. Sometimes, rarely, it’s serious. My wife says I thrive on the pressure of waiting until the last minute. I like to think by the time it gets to the editor, the work is at its most fresh. It’s current, it’s now.

“If you hadn’t have waited until the very last minute,” my wife chided, “you would have it done already and you wouldn’t be stressing.”

Presto! That would be it. Done.

Now I have a week to think of another column idea. Or not.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.