I’m Not The World’s Laziest Writer

I am not the world’s laziest person.  I think.  It’s hard to tell.  But at any rate, I am capable of endless cat rotation; postponement of unpleasant chores; rebellion against what needs doing and general lollywagging and time wasting on a scale unseen since really lazy t-Rexes walked the Earth and lay about under fruit trees, eating the occasional apple that fell into their mouth, and eventually dying of starvation.

I’m not even the world’s laziest writer.  I know, because Dean W. Smith SAYS he is that, and I refuse to arm wrestle him for the title.  He’d win.  I’d sulk.  No one would like that.

And if you’re going “Woman, you do a daily blog, you write however many projects a year, you…

Yeah, so does Dean.  Actually he writes more, and runs businesses and … yeah.  But both of us feel lazy, because both of us know how much time we waste playing mah jong (well, that’s me.  I have no clue what he does) or obsessing about stuff that’s not related to work.

What we do accomplish is in bursts of sudden activity, usually lasting no more than a few days, sometimes a few minutes, in a sea of cat rotation.

I used to describe writing the Musketeer books (which granted, not only were under contract, but which from book three on I knew the publisher was dropping on the floor) as “First I chase myself around.  Then I make myself sit down and then I force myself to write.  This usually involves weeks of chasing, then weeks of staring at the keyboard and refusing to write, before I manage to force myself to write.”

Of course, while I was chasing myself around, I couldn’t allow myself to do anything else even remotely interesting (in this context laundry is interesting.  So is cooking) so the family started complaining about the conspicuous lack of socks and the house grew fuzz.

To an extent, it’s still the same, except no project is that bad anymore – and yes, for the ones of you who are fans – I AM looking forward to continuing the series (I should have the copyright back by March!) and I DID enjoy writing the books, but it was the equivalent of handing your baby to the sacrifice, which made it harder and harder to finish books.

However, with Noah’s boy, because I blocked on the end, and with the year before that, when I was ill so often, I’ve gone into the mode I went in normally after finishing a difficult book.  It’s called “must clean.”  In my defense, the house needs it.  I’ve been doing maintenance cleaning for months, and the name for maintenance cleaning is “things get messy slower.” For instance, I can’t find any books, and there’s bizarre stuff on my shelves.  (How bizarre?  Games the kids outgrew ten years ago.  Yes, someone was cleaning his room!)

Anyway – this long to say, I am still lazy, it’s just that people are lazy in different ways.

See, laziness was an evolutionarily favored trait for millennia.  You caught mammoth, you ate for days.  You didn’t run around killing more mammoths, because who would eat them?  And why would you want to use the energy?  And besides, if you deplete the mammoth population, you’ll have to walk miles for next mammoth.  You get the point.

For the last ten thousand years or so more industrious people have done better – some places.  My mom still talked about the people she grew up with (not a GOOD part of the country, or the region, or the town) the women made soup on Monday, it lasted the whole week.  The more industrious swept once a day.  The more cleanly ones did wash one day a week.  The rest of the time, they sat around, watching the kids and gossiping.

If you planted and reaped, as opposed to walking about picking what the land gave, you had a more continuous supply of food, which meant more kids who survived to reproduce (though perhaps not longer life for you.  That’s in dispute.)  If you left the land where you had a season off, and went to the city and got a job in a factory, you did even better (dirty and backbreaking as those jobs were by our lights, they did provide a better living than the land in the country, which is why the industrial revolution TOOK and is taking in a lot of the world, still.  Yes, I know.  The Marxists think it was the enclosures driving peasants to the city, “disposed” and ready to be exploited.  I’m not saying that didn’t happen, in some times and places, however, as we’re seeing in third world countries now, mostly the peasants drive THEMSELVES (or more likely walk) to the city and take up the better paying work, rather than starve staring at the south end of a north bound mule.)

And if you bought into social pressure about those outmoded bourgeois virtues and kept your house and children clean, you were more likely to raise them to adulthood and eventually have grandkids.

Where am I going with this?

Our state – all modern states – seem to be confused about which comes first the cart or the horse (possibly because they ARE the North Bound Mule – or its South End.)

They talk about the “causes of poverty” and the fact that poor people “collapse under a mountain of misfortune, and therefore can’t dig out.”  They THINK by subsidizing people, they’ll give them the get up and go.

This is one of those nice theories, and it applies to a lot of us, of course.  I’ve been poor.  I’ve been so broke, and so depressed that I couldn’t think of the way to dig out.  (Heck, half the time I couldn’t think of the way to dress myself or shower, or get out of bed before one pm – though post-partum depression might have been in effect there.)

What they forget is that in the long run, the people who are lazy like me – or Dean! – are still a minority.  Evolutionarily, regardless of what has happened since there have been villages, and since humans figured out how to smoke meat (you have to shred it very fine, you need special papers, and it never burns very well.  OTOH it contains no nicotine) and store grain, the majority of people are still programmed to not work unless it’s strictly needed.

Even we, driven though we might be (d*mn you, voices in head, d*mn you.  Also, mom’s training me to live in a house where you could eat off the floors.  The storage room floors, even) those of us who manage to exert some strictly not needed (for eating) activity, like learning a skilled profession or keeping a clean house, or producing stuff on contract, KNOW how much time we waste.  Hence the “I’m the laziest” competition.

Because wasting time, playing around, the dolce fa niente is humanity’s default mode.  And doing no more than we consider strictly needed was a survival mechanism for YEARS.

Right now, I’d bet 90% of the homes in America would make our ancestors weep.  And I’m not even including mine, though if my mom came to visit, I’d need six months lead time just to get it to “she won’t kill me too badly.”  Yeah, part of this is that we’re all so much more massively busy.  But another part is that no one is enforcing the cleaning standard anymore.  Cleanliness in the house is no longer a “must be” to be “respectable.”

We’ve dethroned the bourgeoisie, and its virtues with its faults.  There are no neighbors coming into our house to pry and see if we waxed the floors.  And so, we don’t wax the floors.  We don’t throw away the old mail, we don’t straighten the books – etc.  The neighbors who come in have also forgotten this, so it just doesn’t get done.

No, this is not an ode to housekeeping. Trust me, most of the time, I dust because otherwise I get ill, being allergic to dust and inclined to respiratory issues.

It is however, a way that absent pressure – in this case social pressure – humans default to not doing it.

The same goes for work-work, of course.

And this is a problem, because in the future we’re all contractors.  (Okay not all, but probably a higher number than ever before.)  This means we’ll (all of us, in general) will have to learn to work without someone cracking the whip.

Most of us know that.  Most of us in the skilled professions had to learn that – but evolutionarily speaking, the rest of the world simply doesn’t have the drive.

Then there’s minimum wage, minimum payments, indefinite welfare with no work requirements.

Are these helpful to the poor?  Well, in the – what? – seventy years since the war on poverty was started, the only victories have come from innovation in the market place, and therefore more widespread prosperity.  NOT from the welfare state and its copiously flowing teat.

Oh, yes, of course you know a success story or two.  J. K. Rowling comes to mind – though in another country – but we tell each other those stories because they ARE extraordinary.  They are also, people we’re “likely to know” – i.e. the skilled, those working in artistic professions, those who might be “the laziest x in the world” but only because they see where their drive falls short compared to what they wish to do.

It doesn’t take in account the majority of NORMAL humanity which doesn’t do more than it NEEDS to, because that would be stupid.

THOSE people, sanely, take the minimum and stay put and do the things we all do when we have time – or are playing hooky: they play games, watch TV and socialize.

So, in the end, “a hand up” turns into endless dependence and a dysfunctional way of life passed on to the kids, who in their turn simply don’t KNOW how to do more than needed.  (And before you tell me welfare is no picnic – remember we’re talking by evolutionary standards.  Life in a sleeping bag on the streets of NYC is better than what your nomadic ancestors could command with continuous industriousness.  Life in a project is better than most kings in the middle ages had.  It’s more sanitary and you have better food and clothing.   REMEMBER what part of the brain is deciding “this is enough.”  It’s NOT the part that craves a late model car or a meal in a five star restaurant.)

Which means that any “hand up” would benefit from local knowledge – i.e. people who will watch the people receiving the aid, and let these people know they are watched, so they feel social pressure to make something of themselves.

It also means that the idea of “help without judgment and without limit” might be exactly backward, and the idea that “giving enough to bring this person to middle class standards” would get the person to actually live a middle class life.

Or, of course, I could be full of it.  I’m just going on my own experience – which is all any of us can go on – of both being very poor and being very lazy.

If we’d got enough money to live on, handed to us, so we didn’t have to worry about where the next load of groceries would come from, would I have got off my expanding duff (potatoes are cheap.  Unfortunately they also expand the duff.  It expanded a lot through what could be ironically called the “lean years.”) and made the serious effort to figure out how to write a novel someone else might want to read?  Would I have made the even more considerable effort of figuring out how publishing worked, so I could get published?

Or would we still be living in Columbia, SC, in a rented house, on a budget that would break if I bought an extra paperback book?

I don’t know.  I might not be the world’s laziest writer, I might not be the world’s laziest person.  But I’m close enough.

And now excuse me – I have a floor to wax – the shade of my grandmother is frowning at me.  And after that I have some chapters of WF to write, because I have a bunch of hungry blog commenters.  Still after that I have a YA to fix/edit so I can publish it and help pay the kids’ tuition.

Would I do it, if I didn’t have any of those?  I don’t know.  But I very much doubt it.  I think I’d spend the day re-reading Heinlein and Christie and playing mah jong.

 

154 responses to “I’m Not The World’s Laziest Writer

  1. Smoking your mammoth produces a very unsatisfactory buzz. There are better ways. For example, evidence indicates men learned to jerk their meat long long ago.

    • I’m going to tell CACS on you. I can’t believe you went there on the FIRST comment. Maybe she can deal with it. I have a floor to wax!

      • In truth I had considered a long dissertation of how early man did not “trap” mammoths, although they did occasionally take advantage of mammoths who had trapped themselves. But describing how they drove vast herds of innocent animals over cliffs, the better to pick their carcasses and fatten scavengers just seemed like too much effort.

        Motion study/Efficiency pioneer Frank B. Gilbreth reportedly looked for the laziest employee, figuring that was the guy who was most likely to have found the least effort required to perform a task. Anybody who has not read Cheaper By The Dozen really ought to. Let the floor waxer wane, let the cat rotate itself, read that book.

        • Our household was once graced by a cat that was very good at rotating himself. Like many a cat, Imp had tried chasing his tail, but decided he did not like the effect when he caught it. So, instead, he took up chasing the shadow of his tail. This resulted in many hours of fun.

        • Get other people to do it usually works.

        • I love that book. The sequel is good too.

        • I had an Anthropology prof who spent a year with the Aka Pygmies in the Congo. They would hunt forest elephants by coming up behind them and spearing them from behind. This meant if the elephant got wind of them the elephant was facing away and wouldn’t have to stomp any of the hunters to get away, and the best target for a spear was under the tail. I thnk it was easier than digging pits.
          I suppose our ancestors could wait for a mamoth to croak on its own, or to chase the smilodons and dire wolves off their kill, but suspect they had a technique to go along with that wonderful tool kit for either stalking and striking, or chasing or panicking one into a swamp where it would bog.
          I had an argument once about why they hunted big prey like mammoths and rhinos. One argument is that it was manlier, another was that you ate little prey like rodents and fish like Snickers in the field, but I suspect if he could bag a big enough critter, a hunter could both look manly AND only have to go hunting every couple of weeks or so. Win Win!

          Oh, and how does one rotate a cat? Or does one rotate cats. Or is like Humpty Dumpty said in Through the Looking Glass: “One can’t, perhaps, but two can. With proper assistance…”

          • Big game provides more of the prime cuts — organ meats. Everyone gets some of the richest food, including the children, which means better chance of survival.

            Eventually, they figured out how to store some of the muscle meat for later — either by smoking or by submerging in cold, still, deep water or both — so that a big kill was also a way to build up a bit of reserve.

          • How do we know what they actually hunted, in what proportions? Where are the precisely recorded histories. About the American Indians and the lore of their living on deer, my dad once made the observation “they lived on a lot more woodchuck than deer — there were more of them.”

            In fact, there are more deer now than before the pioneers cleared the land — deer are margin feeders, and we’ve created a lot of margin. I think this somehow goes back to things we think we know that we don’t really know, and may not really be true.

            • Its a lot of speculation indeed, but its speculation based on finding their camps with animal remains, and analysing their tools.

              • When archaeologists find large fields of animal remains at the base of what was certainly a cliff they are prone to speculate as to how they got there. Possibly our early hominid ancestors had amongst them mammoth whisperers who talked them into walking over the cliff, perhaps those mammoths caught a glimpse of the future, with Paris Hilton and Kardashians and fled in horror.

              • Mostly their trash piles.

            • For pre-historic Europeans, mostly we know through their discard piles. It seems MOSTLY what they lived off of was horse…

              • Dinner is all the damn things are good for IMO.

                • Silly me, I thought special forces found them quite useful in northern Afghanistan.

                  If you ever had to tell a cow to move out you will find it much more efficacious from the back of a horse. It makes them think you are bigger…or so I discovered when I worked as a mother’s helper in a farming area. Then again it is no fun to find one in your vegetable garden in the early am.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    It’s no fun to find horses in your garden, either, when they eat your corn stalks that WERE about 18 inches high down to the ground.

                    • I am sure I have told this one before. Fortunately no corn lost. The two boys I was caring for woke me up around dawn, screaming, ‘There’s a horse in the garden.’ I barely took time to stick my feet into galoshes and pull the silk kimono I had liberated from Momma to use as a robe over my skivvies before I headed out to the garden where the horse stood placidly munching.

                      I broad handed that critter one on the rump and proceeded to chase him down the gravel road to his home field. When I got him there I gave the owner what for (peppered in my finest city Yankee) for letting his fence go so that his horse had gotten out.

                      The road the house stood on was the road to the county dump and it was unfortunately dump day. So there was a bit of traffic. I must have looked a sight, hair uncombed and so unusually dressed. But, I didn’t have much trouble with acceptance the rest of the summer.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      In my case, I came home to find 5 horses in my yard. A tree had fallen on their fence. I didn’t even think about it at the time, but when I went down to the garden sometime later, after their owners had rounded them up, I found basically bare ground where the corn had been. I finally put an electric fence around my garden, to keep the deer out of my tomatoes, but I didn’t have one up at the time.

                      Note that this is far from the worst thing I have found on coming home from work. One summer, I came home to find the culvert under the driveway (not your average culvert, this one was over 6 feet in diameter) had been washed down the creek by a storm, leaving a 30-foot chasm to cross. Building an unsupported walk bridge across that bad boy was a b**ch. Later, my father had a concrete bridge built, which helped immensely.

                    • Why do deer like tomatoes so much? It seems like that is the first thing they eat. Although if I don’t have my garden fenced they eat everything, including jalapenos. The first year I had a garden here I planted it right beside the house, and built a fence around it with about a two foot space between the house wall and then fence, instead of a gate. The deer would walk through that opening at night, literally rubbing against the side of my house, to get at my garden. I joked that I didn’t plant the garden to eat, but rather to fatten up the deer that I planned to eat.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Tomatoes have a fairly strong scent. That may have something to do with it. One thing that surprised me was that they could eat the leaves, which are toxic to humans.

                    • On one occasion when touring Historic Williamsburg The Family came upon a re enactor/docent who was explaining a kitchen garden. After the presentation and some discussion I asked how, as they were on the edge of the wilderness, did they deal with critters — bunnies, deer and such — who decided to take advantage of all their hard labor. The gentleman walked to the back of the house picked up his musket, turned back with a broad smile, and I believe the words he said were, ‘Harvest ‘em’

            • The middens and butchering areas of the mammoth type hunters – Neanderthal and cro-magnon (IIRC) showed more large game bones than fish, rodents and birds. Like I said there can be a number of deductions taken from that sort of evidence, but I like the lazy hypothesis over the Snickers hypothesis.
              (’cause you know, raw rat is so ick)

              By the way, about things we don’t really get our heads around: there is more forested area now in the US than when pioneers arrived. Out West, the indians used fires extensively to clear the land for game, to hunt, and to make gathering staples like acorns and camas much easier. When the pioneers stopped wholesale burnings the woods grew up.

              • And I apologize for being snarky. I have dealt too much with people who want to save trees I wanted to turn into plywood and profit.

              • Out West, the indians used fires extensively to clear the land for game, to hunt, and to make gathering staples like acorns and camas much easier.

                Bu… but, that can’t be! The Amerindians were the most spiritual, environmentally conscientious people ever on the Earth! I heard Bill Maher say so! They ran TV ads showing an old Indian crying over the White Man’s littering!

                Now I shall have to reconsider my entire perspective on environmental history and the evils of modern society!

                Or I would had I ever swallowed any of that crap.

                • Yep, Iron Eyes Cody … son of Sicilian immigrants BTW.

                • “They ran TV ads showing an old Indian crying over the White Man’s littering!”

                  These people that run such ads, and write such things, have they ever drove through an Indian Reservation?

                  • No, or if they have, it’s been something like the part of the Southern Cheyenne Reservation in OK that you drive through on I-40, not the back roads of the Checkerboard Reservation in AZ/NM. Or South Dakota.

                    I highly recommend the book “The Ecological Indian” by Shepherd Krech III. He looks at several different historic and prehistoric peoples and throws a pretty convincing wrench into the “noble savage in harmony with Nature” argument.

                    • Sigh — but these people mistake dirt for sainthood….

                    • Eh, I don’t think B.O. what the hagiographers mean when they wrote that “Sister So-and-so had an air of holiness about her.” Unless it might refer to St. Loma, Patron of Compost Heaps.

                      Why people would think that pinworms, dysentery, TB, and childbed fever are signs of moral rectitude almost totally escapes me. I say almost because I’ve read a few too many of the Earth-Mother manifestos and watched documentaries and interviews with those folks. You’d think the public health disasters of Occupy [Place] would have given them a hint.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      You’d think the public health disasters of Occupy [Place] would have given them a hint.

                      But it’s living in haaaaarmony with naaaaature!!!

                      Pff. They’re immune to hints. If not, you’d think that the necessity to set up “rape free” zones would have given them one.

                    • But it’s living in haaaaarmony with naaaaature!!!

                      Also known as “rotting in place.”

                    • I have posted this before. When the hippies in Philadelphia all started to abandon shoes Momma observed that they must all be ignorant. In less than 30 years society had moved to where it felt it could forget to teach their young that shoes not only protected one from bumps, cuts and scraps — they protect one from all sorts of nasties.

                    • They have not only lost knowledge, they are making stuff up to replace that which was lost, as witness this from London’s Telegraph:

                      Council: foxes are ‘playful’ and ‘not a problem’
                      A spokesperson for Lewisham council makes comments just days after an urban fox bites the finger off a sleeping baby.

                      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9860784/Foxes-are-playful-and-not-in-any-way-a-problem-claims-council-after-animal-mauls-sleeping-baby.html

                    • In Portugal, laws enforcing shoes in cities stopped TB. Because, see, people would spit on the ground, and…

                    • I highly recommend the book “The Ecological Indian” by Shepherd Krech III. He looks at several different historic and prehistoric peoples and throws a pretty convincing wrench into the “noble savage in harmony with Nature” argument.

                      I keep forgetting how many folks never heard the lecture from the old lady my aunt sells stuff for, who spent part of her childhood in traditional camps.
                      (After the third kid born in a dirt-floored tent with no help, her mom called BS and left for town with the kids; being a single woman with three kids and zero resources in an Irish lumber town was a better option. I suspect that my ancestress from back east, who we only know was at least mostly Indian from the picture, was the result of a similar story.)

                      I think I’ve mentioned it here before– she summed it up as they’d go into an area, eat anything they could find, leave fecal matter and waste behind every bush and when it was so nasty that even they couldn’t stand it, move and let it rot clean for a couple of years so the land could recover.
                      Not a bad idea, if you have the space and are healthy, but I like a reliable food supply and solid walls, and I suspect the folks who talk about “harmony with nature” would be horrified at what living like a wild animal (less magical way of saying ‘part of nature’) actually entails.

                      No, it wasn’t one of those “yearly cycle” tribes, at all; I think some tribes had a pretty slick setup that was much lower impact, but I don’t know how reliable that claim is, and can only half-remember fishing had something to do with it.

                      My aunt got to hear it at various levels of pissed when some of the “Noble Savage” worshipers would show up and gush about the handy-crafts the old lady made, talking about the mythic ideal.
                      Must have been pretty dang annoying to hear people you knew made into plaster caricatures of saints.

                    • I’ve got enough Native American ancestry to “qualify” for most lists, including the Creek Nation registry. I’ve never actually LIVED the “noble savage” life, but I have spent several weeks camping out, living off the land (mostly fish, berries, edible local vegetation, and so forth), so I know it can be done — and that it’s hard work. Sleeping on the ground in snake country (all of Louisiana) is an experience in itself. I prefer my three-bedroom/two-bath brick home in a local suburb (at least most of the time).

                      The one tribe it would be worthwhile to belong to would be the Mescalero Apaches, near Ruidoso, NM. Not only do they live in a gorgeous part of the country, they’ve learned to be profitable in the White Man’s world. No member of that tribe is ‘poor’.

                    • Foxfier, there were some groups that had a sustainable-in-time agricultural and residence system, but not many peoples had (or have) sustainable-in-place systems. Some of the Ojibawe in New England come to mind. The only long-term, non-migratory people I can think of are the Pacific Coast groups. Even the Mound Builders (Mississippi Valley/ Plains Woodland/ Late Archaic) and probably the Anasazi ended up deforesting themselves out of house and home (with the aid of the Little Ice Age).

                    • For years my idea of poverty in the US was framed by certain areas of metropolitan Philadelphia and rural sandhills tobacco country North Carolina in the early-mid 1960s. Then, going through the Checkerboard, on the way up to Shiprock and Four Corners with The Daughter, I had to switch to triangulation…

              • I gather that if one were to travel the routes of Daniel Webster took through New England on speaking tours they would find that quite a number of the towns he visited were abandoned and are now reforested. I believe only one section of mountain forest in the south east is considered as original old growth. Saved from the timber men by its remoteness. It is now part of the Joyce Kilmer Memorial forest.

              • Yes, but we only get to see what was able to be preserved over time — not the items that perished and left nothing. It takes a particular series of events to preserve fossils, and most items aren’t fossilized. Caution is always wise is such circumstances.

            • The Virginia or white-tail deer is a woodland dweller and extremely adaptable. In Pennsylvania, where I grew up, they have become a nuisance as they are quite happy to take full advantage of the lovely buffets that human farmers present. Later I lived in the Eastern Tennessee mountains one drives curvy mountain roads at certain hours with caution, for while the deer may not ‘win’ the car and its passenger will not profit by a sudden meeting. I now live in a metropolitan area in the Piedmont of North Carolina, where I have had trouble with a full grown doe taking the liberty of grabbing a snack from the herbs I have growing in pots at the back of the house. The Daughter and I have taken to calling her Pre-seasoned Venison.

              Yes, there are more white tails now than when the Europeans came. The population did not fare well in with the expansion of settlement. But at the end of the nineteenth century things were changing. It is told that when Moses Cone built a mountain retreat in the Blue Ridge he brought in deer for his property. They did not stay put. The conservation movement also took hand. With the development of the National Park system, limited hunting or out-right hunting bans, the deer population has soared. (This is aided by the probable elimination of any large wild predators from the region. Rumors of evidence for large cats arise, but none have been confirmed.)

              Now, as to the American Indian and the deer. Early European observations indicate that they hunted deer, and made extensive use of deer skins. The oral records and traditions also indicate that they hunted deer. They also hunted other herd animals: the eastern Bison, now extinct and an eastern Elk (there is an ongoing attempt to reestablish Elk in the NC section of the Smoky National Park.)

              • Wayne Blackburn

                I have seen what is purportedly a recently taken game camera photo showing a cougar dragging a deer somewhere down in Kentucky, so take that for what it’s worth on the large cat front.

                • There have been six cougars killed by cars in the last few years in Iowa (I think, I’m not 100% positive of the state) of those six, four of them were declawed, proving them to be either escaped or turned loose pets. The fish and game dept. of the state claims they have no cougar population, and any cougars found are a result of domestics gone feral. You can take that for what it is worth also, I have found you can generally believe state game depts. about half as far as you can believe other government agencies.

                  • On the upside, if they’re denying that the ones hit by cars are natural, they’re probably not shipping them in on the QT.

                    • would you care to place a small bet?

                    • There’s a reason I said “probably”!

                      It could very well mean that they’re shipping them in, but aren’t sure that the population is established enough.

                      They denied there were any wolves in our area until they “discovered” them a year after shipping in. (We know about when, because that’s when dogs started disappearing and ranchers started losing a lot of animals. Can even trace roughly back to where they dropped the pack off….)

                    • yes. I had an argument with a uh “fluffy” friend who assured me wolves never attack humans, not even children, and they’re just like dogs, and blah blah blah and they don’t eat humans because humans taste bad to them.
                      HEAD DESK REPEAT.
                      Can’t they just off themselves, instead of hating ALL OF HUMANITY and loving every predator?

                    • My favorite is the guy who use to go around giving talks about how there were “no confirmed wolf attacks”…got attacked by a wolf. On video.

                      He now says that one doesn’t count because…forest, or something…or was saying that shortly after he got out of his hospital bed.

                    • I do like wolves, cougars, bears, and other predators— BUT –BUT I do know they will attack so I am very careful when I am in the area. Even coyotes like to eat furry things and will attack. So the there will always be stupid people with us; however, it bugs me that they will perpetuate their myths about animals. If it is a carnivore or an omnivore it will attack us. The reason we are a top predator is because we are really good at killing back.

                    • I do like cougars and bears, but they need to be regulated. Wolves, well we spent a 150 years getting rid of them for a reason. Now a bunch of Idiots are bringing them back?! Notice that most of those who want the wolves back live, work, and for the most part recreate where the existence of them has no effect on them. Other than to give them a warm fuzzy feeling, just knowing that wolves, the essence of the wild /gag/ are out there somewhere.

                      Foxfier, I have family over there, so I get to hear about the lunacy of those in charge of the asylum regularly. Don’t worry, by releasing the wolves while denying they are, or that any are present, they are just following a time-honored, and proven effective precedent. There were no grizzlies in the Cascades either, until they released them there. While they denied it for a long time, a friend of mine has pictures he took of two grizzlies in the Goat Rocks, with the paint markings still plainly visible, identifieing them as problem bears live trapped in Yellowstone.

                    • I think you’ll appreciate this: there’s a bill in Washington to bring some of the wolves over to the damp side.

                      There’s room, you see, and as the (Spokane area) representative that’s sponsoring it pointed out: if wolves are so wonderful on the east side, they’ll be wonderful on the west….

                    • … a friend of mine has pictures he took of two grizzlies in the Goat Rocks, with the paint markings still plainly visible, identifieing them as problem bears live trapped in Yellowstone.

                      Good grief! One would think that they have been inculcated with a similar attitude to that being adopted by the educational elite. ;-) If the culprit is identified as a member of a group believed to be previously targeted for suppression, give them even greater scope when they misbehave.

                    • You. Are.A.Bad.Woman.

                      (That’s why I like you!)

                    • “they don’t eat humans because humans taste bad to them.”

                      Right, and they know humans taste bad, how?

                      It’s a power trip thing, if they just off themselves, all they prove is that they have power over themselves. If they can force a signifigant portion of humanity to do as they wish, regardless of how or why such actions are detrimental or who to; then they prove they have power over others.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      I believe the claim is that the diet of the prey flavors the meat, and that predators don’t generally like the flavors caused by all the chemicals and such in our diet. I wonder what they would say if it were pointed out that in that case, they probably would LIKE vegans?

                    • Foxfier, there are already a lot of complaints of wolves around the Toledo area, but the Game Dept. claims there are no wolves on the damp side. And yes I knew about the bill in question, you are welcome to all of ours you can take ;)

                    • I just re-read this. Um… non natural wolves… um… WEREWOLVES. Ghost wolves! Zombie Wolves!

                      (I’m going to bed with a cold compress now. No point sending me. TRULY.)

                    • I already take all the steps I’d need to avoid wolves, just to avoid feral dogs and feral humans– and when we do get a dog, he’s going to be a corgi and I’m nearly positive he’ll live like a cat. So no skin off my nose, and shipping the mutts over here might get a dose of reality into the “lalala, nature is my friiiiieeend” folks.

                    • Open up a niche and something will take advantage and move in. We have coyote moving to the east.

                    • They’re the advance guard for the armadillo invasion in force.

                  • Re. cougars. When I was at Flat State U, I was told that there were no cougars in the eastern part of the state – officially. Unofficially I was told to avoid certain hiking trails at Lake State Park and to be very careful around brushy areas at Other State Park. Having been in Colorado Springs when they closed the park behind the Broadmoore because of, let’s just say fast food season, and in Albuquerque when a cougar almost got a snack-sized human, I tend to take such unofficial reports very seriously.

                    • Actually– some of us have to take the blame here for reintroduction of wild predators. (I mean, us as in “people like me”.) See, I was raised in a rural area, on the unfashionable edge of the wilderness. I saw how nature worked, and tended to believe that every nature lover (ha!) had at least seen the 1970′s idea of reality TV, nature shows. You know, where they actually showed mostly uncensored animal life (the exciting bits anyway), including the fighting, killing and um, creating the next generation.

                      I felt that nature stewardship is all about picking up after yourself, using common sense, practicing moderation, and not dumping toxic stuff. You know? If you really have to, you bury it real carefully where the least harm can be accrued.

                      That’s not really how environmentalists think, which is why I’m not an environmentalist. I was so wrong on all fronts. And to demonstrate how wrong, I have to tell a little story.

                      I thought I could meet more potential friends on campus by going to an environmental conference. After all, deer were starving to death (a profoundly horrible way to die), and dying of disease! Something should be done! There were so many, yet some morons were protesting the fact that the DNR wanted to issue more hunting licenses. I decided to see whom else I could find that might have a modicum of sense.

                      So, the first part of this conference involved an unintentionally humorous after-action report for some wilderness activist types{!?!}. My favorite form of said protest was to put “caution” orange jackets on deer. Things did not turn out as planned. More of those deer *mysteriously* wound up with holes in them. Tragic, just tragic.

                      They were taking ideas from the audience. Unable to resist, I stepped forward and reasonably suggested that –”IF people did not want humans being cruel, then, well, why not bring back the wolf? That is how nature works, right? They’d eat all the sick deer, and we’d be back to equilibrium before you know it! I mean, sure, we’d have to sacrifice a few 3 year olds…”

                      In the end, they threw me out. Ironically, the sponsor of the get together, and keynote speaker, a prominent representative of the Nature Conservancy, left with me. We had a fine conversation. But heck, it was worth seeing the looks on their faces when I mentioned the three year olds all by itself.

                      So, people like me threw the gauntlet, never expecting it to be picked up. Thus, the the Inquisition arrived that was unexpected.

                    • Don’t worry too much about it– that they got upset about the three year olds part just shows they were already sympathetic to the idea, and only got upset that you pointed out what would actually happen.

                    • No. These were the type of people who wanted to feed wolves a vegetarian diet. What I’m saying is not some mean form of put-down, but an actual plan that one of them was concocting. They were nature activists– but thought nature was too cruel. I’m not really sure where– “The human race then commits suicide” plan fits in, but it’s likely in there somewhere.

                    • Oh my heavens. They believe in rainbow farting unicorns! I don’t think they GET that it’s suicide.

                    • Exactly. I was a bit proud to be ejected by those geniuses.

                      They are the same kind of minds that fuel PETA. If anyone ever lets them do what they want–horrors will follow. For the people, and the animals. I even tried to explain to them that *I* would prefer to be SHOT than to starve to death or die while starving of some related disease (while starving!). Have they seen the pictures?! But no. They’d sooner kill their own children. (I’m not even talking about abortion here!) So even for them a rat is a cat is a dog is *not* a boy– the boy is vermin. And this was the 1990′s, when the fug was a bit less potent than it is now.

                      They didn’t have the nuke of global warming to throw at us. This is why I try to stay out of “environmental” arguments. I know more about the ecology and bio sciences than the vast majority of them– and I was a Fine Arts Major. I didn’t even get a degree. But I was also reading studies and research papers and whatnot in my “copious spare time”. Just like there is real climate research going, there are also real environmentalists. I think they must all live in the Antarctic and lie really low.

                    • It’s to hard believe that there are people that stupid.

                    • Ah, like the manufacterers of vegan dogfood? I may not agree with all the animal cruelty laws, but since we have them on the books, a good use for them would be prosecute such people. Do they realize how unhealthy it is to restrict carnivores to a vegetarian diet?

                    • Once I left two pounds of tofu on the counter and Zebbie who ate like a goat (he was a cat) ate them. I called the vet to find if it would hurt him. She thought I was making Zebbie eat tofu and was trying to make him vegan and gave me an ear full before I could explain.
                      When I finally pointed out I didn’t want him to eat the tofu — For us (who couldn’t afford meat at the time) that was DINNER– THEN she laughed so hard she almost gave herself an injury.

                    • Vegan dogfood? These are the same people who use fake sugar for hummingbirds. And yes, the fake stuff causes the hummingbirds to starve to death. There is no nutrition for them.

                    • There’s enough of a problem with cats going blind from vegan diets that I’ve had multiple warnings about it. Dogs can survive, cats need something to make their eyes work.

                    • Actually the problem is that cats have a short intestine and they cannot digest vegetables.

                    • No, They digest vegetarians instead.

              • Whitetail deer kill more people in the US than any other wild animal. The vicious creatures do it via suicide attack. They dive through your windshield. I call ‘em AlQueda Deer.

                (Really … about 100 to 120 people annually)

                • Tell me about it. Faleen (200 lb doe) cost me four grand in car repairs. My opinion? Eat ‘em all, let G-d sort ‘em out.

                  • Since that’s dang near a gold-plated invitation….

                    I know folks here aren’t doing great, but if anyone has a bit to spare, a rather nice lady I sort of know lost her disabled access van to a suicide strike by deer.

                    She’s a polio survivor, and when her husband mentioned it on Ricochet.com the other members started a fund with a specialty vehicle guy who updates the total daily, but it’s only at $9k so far.

                • That’s kinda like more folks dying from bathtubs than guns, though. Folks are in the tub an average of once a day– they’re facing someone who has a gun and homicidal intent much, much less often.

                  Kinda like the “you’re more likely to die in the car than on a plane.” Um, duh, my folks are going on a plane for the first time in over a decade this spring, but they’re in a car almost every day.

                  • Well, I guess I’m really saying that all animals are dangerous – if you don’t understand them.

                    That and I’m still suspicious of the motives of whitetail deer …

                  • Rick Boatright

                    Bad comparison. The bathtub doesnt have any muderous intent and many people are in the presence of concealed guns each and every day. They just dont know it because the gun is CONCEALED. And re the plane, planes are safer per mile OR per hour not just per trip or per day.

                    Anyway, the gun on my hip is as innocent as the b athtub, and hundreds of people were within ten feet of it today.

                    • I don’t let that many people into my bathroom, Rick.

                    • Just the hobos I am dismembering*.

                      *N.B. – for the literal-minded, this was a joke. No hobos, real or imaginary, were dismembered in the making of this joke.

                    • Ditto the one in my diaper bag, but I’m more likely to die from the kid in my belly than a gun accident…

                      And re the plane, planes are safer per mile OR per hour not just per trip or per day.

                      I would love to see the research that got the per mile claim, given that it would have to include “trip to the store”…unless they went for just accidents, rather than actual fatalities. Or used “highway miles,” as I seem to remember one study doing. Devil’s in the details.

                    • Now Rutger Hauer is looking for RES.

                    • Foxifier, US Dept of Transportation 12-month moving average of total miles driven in the us on any public road, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/tvt.cfm

                      Census numbers for total auto accidents, and their derived rates from the above population. (most recent update, data for 2009.)

                      Auto death rates then, 1.1 per million total miles driven
                      11 deaths per 100K population

                      Air deaths tracked by the Census at http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/transportation/air_transportation_fatalities_and_complaints.html

                      for 2008 WORLDWIDE air fatalities 0.01 per 100 million passenger kilometers. — converting 0.0001 per million passenger kilometers or 0.000045 deaths per million passenger miles

                      Another way to look at it has to do with hours instead of miles because airplanes go so fast.

                      Worldwide again for 2008, there were 0.011 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours. (not people killed, fatal accidents.) or 0.572 fatalities per 100,000 flight hours.

                      If you assume an average US auto traffic speed of 40 miles per hour,
                      (most driving is city and the numbers for that are well established, but then bump the speed up to allow for the highway part… See http://infinitemonkeycorps.net/projects/cityspeed/ )
                      then 1 million miles takes 25,000 hours, so the auto death rate would be 4.4 per 100,000 auto trip hours.

                      no matter how you cut it, planes are safer.

      • I don’t know — possibly this is a conspiracy.

        Right now I am managing to be pretty good at ignoring the shade of Momma. Momma, who boiled all our eating and kitchen utensils until her father, the doctor, pointed out that it was useless un less she boiled the drawer she kept them in as well. As she could not figure out how to boil a wooden drawer and maintain its integrity she backed down.

        On the other hand RES should be cautious about waking that shade, and he knows why.

        • Momma, who boiled all our eating and kitchen utensils until her father, the doctor, pointed out that it was useless un less she boiled the drawer she kept them in as well. As she could not figure out how to boil a wooden drawer and maintain its integrity she backed down.

          I actually had a thought pop up about this today…while I was considering using 99.9% pure rubbing alcohol on the drawers in my kitchen, followed by the hottest water I could get and then alcohol again.

  2. Just have family or friends over for a get-together every month or so. Nothing screams I’M-YOUR-HOUSE-CLEAN-ME like impending company.

    We’re superbusy with two full-time careers and three young children, so the chores get pushed to the weekends. I have, at long last, won the battle to keep the living room/dining room/kitchen clean (or at least, picked up/minimally maintained) at all times. The straw that broke the camel’s back for my wife was being at home on her day off, the house trashed, when her very rich grandfather made one of only two visits to our house he has ever done.

    Clean after that.

  3. Oh yea– I get lazy too– right now I am washing clothes so that I won’t have to write a chapter. lol Plus taxes are pending. I need to get them together soon.

  4. When you start your next book, keep in mind that my house’s exterior could use painting …

  5. That’s the part I hate–when actively avoiding useful work that is due, from home repair to book chapters, I don’t allow myself to do anything interesting. A sort of self-punishment, I think, even though it’s completely useless and grossly counterproductive.

      • Yeah. Of course, my fun little variant is how I will start any number of useful/interesting things (while avoiding something else) but I can’t stick to any of them– so I don’t’ finish anything, don’t get anything useful done, worked my hands to the bone with nothing at all to show for it, save piles moved, and the dust is in a different place.

        So my laziness defeats itself. I have found that the only way to break the cycle of mayfly activity is to find that thing I’m avoiding and to KICK IT’S– um, sterile, male, four-legged sport into the next county.

  6. If I am not a world champion of the art of “I’ll just…” I’m bloody close. I will start to prepare to do something, and then “I’ll just [insert useless activity here]“. Repeat indefinitely until hours have passed and the only way productive anything could be lower is if you were allowed to measure in negative numbers.

    Since I got back from collecting the official offer of employment (need to tie up some loose ends before I sign this), I have “I’ll just…” repeatedly, including this comment. Meanwhile the house hasn’t been cleaned and writing hasn’t happened.

    But I’ll just play one more hand of Freecell before I start…

  7. I prefer to think of myself as an expert in personal energy conservation. Although, now that you mention it, the cat looks flat on one side, an observation that has nothing to do with this morning’s arrival of two books for review.

  8. “Research” is my favorite time-sink. You know the kind. “Hmmm, I wonder about X. *finds everything Google can find on X* *look up, realize months have passed* What were my characters up to last?”
    I wish my characters would talk to me. None of them seem willing to do anything to get from Point A to Point B right now. I’m contemplating *shudder* outlining. I may just continue brewing caffeinated beverages and contributing to the online lambasting of Games Workshop trying to copyright “space marine” and using their weight to step on indie authors. Today is that kind of day/week/month.

  9. Raymond Jelli

    If I was any less lazy…..this would have been a comment.

  10. I remember doing housework to avoid homework.

  11. I’ve been seriously poor, in the style of “male bottom-of-barrel poorness,” which means you take your belt and you dig a hole wayyyyy over by your right hip, and then you cinch that sucker down tight enough that your stomach stops screaming and you can temporarily stop hating every single fat person you see because they’re getting 3+ meals a day and throwing away the surplus food you’d love to eat at a single meal…..and my house is in terrible shape, but now I can afford to have maids in every other week, so it stays more or less salvageable.

    Bourgeois values? What are those?

  12. Off hand, however, I’d make the argument that all real progress has been made by lazy people.
    Automobiles are a lazy man’s way of getting out of hitching up the buggy on cold mornings, of pitching hay to Dobbin, and of cleaning end product afterwards. Plus, re: the cold mornings, cars come with efficient heaters now.
    Supermarkets are a lazy man’s way of avoiding toiling in the fields, chasing the afore-mentioned mastodon, and dragging it home.
    And our climate-controlled caves are much easier to live in than rocky, dusty ones, filled with smoke and bedding containing assorted scratchy, itchy and pokey items (not to mention fleas, lice and other infestations).
    So go one being lazy; just do it in from of your keyboard. After all, it was Heinlein that stated that if he didn’t write he’d have to get a ‘real job’.

    • A famous computer programmer named Larry Wall once said that the three great virtues of computer programmers are laziness, impatience, and hubris. Laziness pushes you to say “Why am I doing this boring repetitive computer task when the computer could be doing it for me?” and write a computer program to do the task. Impatience makes you feel upset when the computer is being “lazy”, i.e. not doing as good a job as it should, and so this pushes you to make your programs run faster and more efficiently, so that the computer can do more of your work. And finally, hubris makes you look at a really difficult programming project and say, “Sure, I’m a good enough programmer that I can pull this off.” Result: computer programs that are actually useful, and all because of laziness, impatience, and hubris. :-D

      • There is also the Government Bureaucracy Negation Corollary to those three virtues of computer programmers. My dad is a database programmer who worked in private industry for 12 years and has been working for the State Department another 10. He applies the programmer’s three virtues to his work and everybody around him is amazed at how much work he gets done (read: he gets work done).

  13. However, THANKYOUVERYMUCH for putting the guilt trip on me. I am now opening my document file on the flash drive to start staring at my Portal WIP.
    Geez! and I thought your blog would be enjoyable!

  14. So, having the house go all to pieces while I’m working on a book is *normal*? Glad to hear it. ;-)

  15. My wife is constantly complaining that “we’re slobs.” To which I reply, “And your point is…?”

    M

    • It’s the cats. We spent an hour this morning cutting poop out of Havey’s butt — he needs his butt shaved again. I got bitten five times, for my pains. Not hard enough to break skin, but annoying. After that I didn’t feel like doing anything ELSE unpleasant.

      • Oh, I hear you. We were sitting in the LR watching TV last night when allofasudden, Toni has Karma across her lap and making like she wants to play the cat like an accordion. And comes away with a lump of yuck.

        “Go wash your hands!”

        Sheesh!

        M

    • Eh, slobs have roaches, mice, ants, and other things living off the mess. Everything else is clutter, which is entropy, which is unavoidable even in the best run universe. Or so Einstein claimed.

      • I’ll remember that for an excuse the next time I get dragooned into cleaning.

        M

        • I always claim it’s an organized mess, I know right where to find what I want. Of course when I can’t find it that just means I must not really want it. ;)

  16. Thanks for the pep talk. I’ve been working since I was 16, first after school, then in the military for over 20 years, then as a civilian supporting the Military. But that isn’t a growth industry, and I’ve been told that I will be laid off at the end of the month. I am fighting the feeling of just sitting back on the dole and not trying too hard. But you are right my Nana would hate me from above if I did that. So I will have to find some job, or start cleaning the house.

    • OR you could look at it from my friend Bill’s POV http://pjmedia.com/vodkapundit/2013/01/28/a-message-to-americas-youth-from-an-american-youth/ and devote the time to learnign something/starting something for afterwards. I’m not saying I’m advising this. I’m saying it’s a valid point.

      • For afterwards? Many of us are a bit old to wait for “afterwards”. Next life, I guess.

        • Well, if you read the article…

          • If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well. It were done quickly.

            Likely to be four years at worst, possibly two and a GOP Senate, then impeachment puts in Crazy Uncle Joe. Impeachment? Gitmo ain’t closed, drones are slaying without due process, Obamacare kicking in … it is entirely possible.

            There will be plenty of money making opportunities in the rebuilding, until then keep your powder dry and your reserves stocked.

          • I did read the article. What did I miss?

            • The point is to cause the system to crash as soon as possible — otherwise what you said WILL Come to pass. BUT if we help crash the system, we still have people with the knowledge to build again.

              • Yes, Whittle writes that without conservatives pushing collapse: “… the next 20 years or so would be experientially a lot like the last four, … you can look forward to a very long period of awful culminating in a collapse…” That’s what it looks like to me as well.

                With conservatives pushing, Whittle thinks we might be able to “push events sharply the other direction and precipitate the collapse somewhere in the next few years rather than several decades from now.”

                Okay, a few years to the “collapse” is still pushing me towards retirement age.

                So then the question to me is what does the “collapse” look like. I’ve read many of your posts on the subject but it rather depends a lot on the exact details of what “collapse” means. If all the institutions and infrastructure that support commerce are left mostly unscathed and confidence in those entities remains adequate, and those in control at the time of collapse are willing to leave without significant sabotage and/or violence, then it could be a quick recovery with lots of opportunity, possibly even for those like me. If not, well, then as I wrote before, “it’s next life, I guess”. My guess is that a collapse large enough to sweep the current elite from power will be destructive enough that recovery will take a long, long time. I hope I’m wrong.

                • I’m trying to figure that question out “What does it look like” with the help of some friends.
                  The work might not be done for twenty years or so. I’m going to guess you’re older than I? Despite the perpetually breaking down health, I come from a long-lived line, and 70 should see me still active and feisty’ And by the work, I mean “rebuilding.”

                  • I also come from a long-lived family, but … but… there is always one child in a generation that dies younger than anyone else. There is a possibility that I get to be that one. I hope not. The last one died at 18 (we think an auto-immune disease, but hard to tell because it was close to the turn of the last century). My aunt almost was the one in her generation. She has Addison disease. She is lucky in that they found the illness right when her adrenal gland quit working. She almost didn’t make it.

                  • Looking at History, I think the answer to “what does it look like” is probably “nothing like anyone expected.”

                    Thirty years ago I don’t recall anybody predicting the Soviet Union would fall as it did, twenty years ago I don’t think anybody expected the result to look as it now does.

                  • Sarah, If I recall correctly, you’ve just turned 50. If so, yes, I’m several years older than you. I’ve only had one ancestor who made 80, so when when you’re an “active and feisty” 70, odds are I’ll be dead, especially with Obamacare sucking the innovation, resources, and life out of the healthcare sector.

                    So I’m not in a particularly good place for a collapse, but if it’s good for my klids, I’d push it along. I sort of do: I don’t hire anybody with left-wing beliefs, I try to buy from conservative establishments when not too inconvenient, and I won’t expand the business in this political environment (though that’s more self-preservation than going Galt – all business is really high risk right now).

                    • The situation is dire for retirees, right now. How long will your savings hold out, with virtually zero interest? With prices doubling every few years, no matter how many number games the government plays, trying to hide inflation. Even if your house is paid for, how much will your property taxes go up, as your local government has to make good on those pension promises to all the Boomers now retireing?

                      What will the collapse look like? Boomers running out of money, and demanding SS raises. The Feds realizing they have to pay back SS, AND cover government workers pensions, AND find a way to hold the line on Welfare payments, without inciting riots or worse, not getting reelected. Unemployment will jump as government finally has to shrink. Government will be grabbing all the money they can get away with, grabbing property on any pretext, selling for dimes on the dollar, and then dunning the former owners for the shortfall.

                      The collapse will look like blocks of vacant houses, a few squatters, some the former owners. People living on the streets, and in their cars, moving around looking for work, or something they can steal and sell.

                      The longer until collapse, the larger the Federal Debt, the more houses repossessed or just abandoned. The fewer businesses still solvent. The lower everyone’s bank balance, the higher the taxes, the more likely everyone’s IRAs and 401Ks have been “federalized” and rolled into the Social Security, Disability and Public Health and Welfare Administration.

                      You know how every time the money gets tight, they’ll say they’ll have to release prisoners from jail. Don’t you love how they threaten to release the most dangerous instead of the least? They will do it.

                      And that’s just the start.

                      When the truckers strike, because for some reason they want to be paid more than it costs them (or the farmers plant their family gardens and nothing else because they can’t afford the seed, fuel, and fertilizer) and the grocery store shelves are empty–then you’ll see some serious collapsing done.

      • thanks, good article. I understand that I need to go on the dole as soon as possible and to the max extent possible while preparing myself (at government expense if possible) for the new future that will surely follow after the fall. I feel better with a plan.

  17. I’d be tempted to enter into the Laziest in the World contest and like everybody else I can waste time with the best of them – heck, I even waste time reading fantasy and SF novels! :-)

    And I even did pretty much do nothing for a year after graduating from college (hanging on a sailboat in the Caribbean, motorcycling across the country, partying, …) and I probably could’ve lived off handouts from my family and have done it forever and the family wouldn’t’ve even minded – they might’ve even found it somewhat entertaining.

    But I didn’t goof off beyond that year. I work a lot, shuttle kids hither and thither and otherwise spend time with them, and even grocery shop, cook, and clean the house.

    I’ve no idea why I bother working. It’s sort of for money. I mean, if all else is equal or even close, I certainly take the path that makes more money and if I couldn’t make any money or enough to make it seem worth while, I wouldn’t bother.

    But I think working is part of my nature. I would have to consciously override that nature to end up not working (or the economy would have to be so bad I couldn’t find work). Indeed, I did consciously override that nature when I goofed off after college.

    I also suspect working is part of most people’s natures. I know others like me, never really poor, never really having to work if they didn’t mind living fairly modestly, but they work anyway. The stereotype of the trust-fund baby who never works is, from what I can tell, more a narrative than a widespread reality. Sure, it happens, and it tends to be very visible, but I bet more work than don’t.

    It may be human nature to be lazy because you have enough mammoth to eat, but I think that it’s also human nature to work, to innovate, and to move forward if you can.

    That’s just what I’ve seen.

    • I’ve no idea why I bother working. It’s sort of for money. I mean, if all else is equal or even close, I certainly take the path that makes more money and if I couldn’t make any money or enough to make it seem worth while, I wouldn’t bother.

      Thanks for the reminder: Here’s to the world’s laziest bloke, the guy who first thought up the idea of letting his money work for him instead of him working for it!

  18. I worked in High School, I spent 26 years in the military, and then I worked almost eight years for a computer company. Now I’m disabled (80% from the military, 100% for SS), and have a hard time keeping myself clean, much less the house. My wife is older than I am, and has bad knees. We keep the house relatively clean, but not spotless. It’s still much cleaner than my mother’s house was, and almost as clean as my wife’s mother’s house. I could easily just sit back and live on my retirement, but the voices in my head won’t let me! Neither will the 7-yo we’re raising… Yes, we’re crazy. Next question?

  19. Cat rotation is important. It prevents uneven cat wear.

  20. First off I am fortunate enough to benefit from a social convention tha allows bachelors to be terrible housekeepers :D and I am. Another thing I have noted, for the last 10 years I supported mammoth sitters. I tried to instill a little industriousness amongst the younger set but, seem to have lost that battle. I also find that I am much more inclined to mammoth sit now. Not real happy with myself at times

  21. Right now, I’d bet 90% of the homes in America would make our ancestors weep. And I’m not even including mine, though if my mom came to visit, I’d need six months lead time just to get it to “she won’t kill me too badly.” Yeah, part of this is that we’re all so much more massively busy. But another part is that no one is enforcing the cleaning standard anymore. Cleanliness in the house is no longer a “must be” to be “respectable.”

    Two points:
    one, I only got to the “make our ancestors weep” part before I had to go after my monsters lest they make me weep, so I thought this was going in a totally different direction….
    Two, the thing I was going after Eldest Monster (AKA, the princess) about was… cleaning up her toys.
    For almost three hours, I stood there, yelling at her to just up them in the box. (Alright, a bit more complicated.) They’re mostly blocks, for heaven’s sake– that’s what took so long.

    Tomorrow, I get to sort them, and store away some portion of them. I’m not sure how much, yet, but I’m sick of every time I stand up, the house looks like something my grandmothers will kill me for; how bad has it been? At six months pregnant, with only the help of a three and one year old, I re-organized three rooms thus far and am eyeballing their room….

  22. my grandmother did not clean. She was a twin, the youngest of ten children born in Marysville KS in 1897. She ran away from home at 16, and went to Kansas City to get away from the kerosene lamp, outhouse and horse drawn Kansas farm town she was born in. Her family ran a company that built (and still builds) roads. In those days, that ment a horse team and a faro scraper and gravel shoveled off a horse drawn gravel wagon until they built their first gravel spreader.

    Anyway, 16 she went to Kansas City, and got a job rolling cigars. By the time she was 20, she was meeting the troop trains passing through KC and assisting in the entertainment of young soldiers… She met an guy who started out as an auto-mechanic but had moved up to salesman and after a whirlwind romance, he left his wife and two kids and married my grandmother.

    She never BECAME conventional. and never was much of a cleaner. The house was neat, the clutter was picked up in public areas, and the carpet got vacuumed every few weeks, but I don’t think the kitchen floor was EVER waxed. There’s certainly no sign of it.

    My mother and father were both master salesmen and Mom was also a bookeeper. She and Grandma Etta managed all the various businesses while Dad handled selling stuff, except when it was busy and them Mom and Etta sold. My parents ran various businesses throughout my childhood, and I was working sales by the time I was 10. No one CLEANED. I remember Mom saying we needed to dust the living room before christmas guests came over.

    I guess I grew up ahead of the curve.