The BBC has taken it upon itself, as a public service broadcaster, to inform the nation of its most ‘epic’ examples of procrastination. And who could possibly disagree with the description of these vast, sprawling sagas, of ancient hills, galaxies at war, and civilisations’ rise and fall as anything other than epoch-defining? The case for the prosecution:
A friend of mine, who I’ll call ‘Dave’ (because that was his name) said he would do anything to avoid A-level revision. At one point he infamously found himself weighing the cat, convinced that he would only be able to settle down to work if he had that data to hand. As a result, some 25 years later, the act of procrastination is referred to by my family as ‘weighing the cat’. – Ian Whitten, Sittingbourne, Kent
This story is ‘epic’ in the same sense as Dave’s mates refer to him as a ‘legend’ because of his involvement in this very anecdote. I bet he’s now the joker in the office with the hilarious tie who puts salt in the sugar bowl. I mean, ‘weighing the cat’?! Who weighs a cat?! That’s so absurd. Let’s hope Dave doesn’t procrastinate again any time soon, or maybe he’ll sharpen the wrong end of everyone’s pencils, so they have two points and might cause graphite to get on people’s shirt cuffs. He’s totally off the chain, he could do it. I’m serious. Somebody stop that guy. Or at least cover his desk in silly string: that’ll go some way towards slowing him down, while we think of a more permanent solution to this mythical vagabond’s reign of terror.
I still haven’t decided what colour towels I’m having. – Caroline, Wirral
Yeah, I’m pretty sure Aragorn says that on assuming the throne of Gondor.
I bought a book called 52 Steps To Defeating Procrastination. I’ve still never read it—it was over 10 years ago, and I’m not even sure where it is now. – Craig, Bedfordshire, UK
Really? The only other occurrence of this zany book title on the Internet is on joke- and racism-collating site Sickipedia. Good to see that the BBC Magazine’s epic fact-checking doesn’t extend to visiting the Great Library of Alexandria in their time machine, or indeed the world’s most popular search engine on their laptop.
Grand Vizier Kara Ibrahim Pasha is not in the annals of history for the time he decided not to bother invading Vienna, and instead wandered through his palace in his pants contemplating the weight of his cat. Why not? Because it’s not interesting, that’s why. If he’d invented the weighing scale because of this, it’d be interesting. It still wouldn’t be epic, unless he weighed a fucking mountain or something, or the entire Habsburg army in a tactically brilliant Trojan-Horse-style ruse where, as they stood on the scales, he overthrew their leaders with a crack team of felines whose mass had been determined previously.
Is it even possible for procrastination, the act of deferring doing potentially-epic stuff, to be epic? Surely, having got distracted from a task to such an extent that your alternative task could be described as ‘epic’, you’re not so much procrastinating as ‘doing something else’. (This is basically Dave Gorman’s career plan.)
So what have you done today, BBC Magazine readers? Wasted time by reading the BBC Magazine? Wasted time by writing an article about reading the BBC Magazine? Wasted time by reading an article written about reading the BBC Magazine? Well, let’s hope this Russian doll of self-referential tedium causes the Internet to collapse, so we’ll have more interesting things to waste our time doing.