The new epidemic sweeping the nation/my life is procrastination. It’s become a huge problem. Kids aren’t turning in homework, novels aren’t getting written, work isn’t getting done and sex isn’t being had, because why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? I propose the following twelve step program in order to slay this beast (each step will be accompanied by a short narrative chronicling a completely and totally fictional character, Timmy, and his battle against procrastination):
1. Came to the realization that our procrastination was beyond our control, and hoped others would sympathize with our plight.
Timmy was up late again — it was 3:30 AM and he had about 6 hours of homework left to do. Well, I suppose “left” to do is inaccurate — that implies that Timmy had been working diligently on his homework up until this point. Really, Timmy had put it off for four days until the absolute last minute and was just getting started on it. Finishing Tales of Symphonia seemed like a much better decision than doing homework. Monday mornings before school aren’t really the best time to be doing homework anyway. Timmy wasn’t a criminal for not doing his assignments. No, he was a victim! Procrastination was killing poor Timmy. He cried out, tears streaming down his face, “I am a slave to procrastination! I am powerless! I can not defeat this forsaken curse alone!”
2. Came to realize we’re fucked, and only God can bail us out.
Timmy was exhausted. He had stayed up all night stressing over the homework he had to get done, putting it off until he decided the best way to tackle it. Well, that and drowning his woes in Tales of Sypmhonia. It was now 4:00 AM and he hadn’t done jack squat — he was tired physically and emotionally. He curled up into a ball on his bed and passed out from his fatigue. As he fell asleep, he realized that he alone couldn’t beat his demon. He needed the Power.
3. Made a decision to stop trying and hope God saves our sorry asses.
Realizing that only God could save Timmy from his plight, Timmy stopped trying to combat his problem on his own. He gave up and placed his complete faith in God. After all, there’s no sense in trying to battle procrastination — a procrastinator will never get around to it. It’s best to sit around and be rewarded for inaction and blind faith.
4. Realized we are pieces of shit.
Timmy realized he was a piece of shit. He made his teachers upset because he never got his work done on time. He never got around to buying those birthday presents for his mom that he said he would. He never got around to doing that favor for his friend. The only thing he ever got around to doing was… well.. he ate some food once in a while. He also tried to sleep some. Hey, don’t look at him like that — he knows he’s worthless.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being that we sucked worse than Tales of Symphonia’s shitty plot.
Timmy’s blaring alarm awoke him after his brief two-hour slumber. It was time to go to school. He prayed, as best he knew how (heathens tend not to pray much) and pleaded for God to help his rotten ass out. “Man,” he thought, “Tales of Symphonia has got to have one of the crappiest plots ever. It’s clichéd, shallow, predictable, boring, and uh… bad. But clearly, I, in comparison, am much worse. I mean, you can draw a comparison between a human and a shitty plot — that makes sense, right?” Later, at school, when his teacher asked why his assignment was not complete, Timmy replied “It’s because, ma’am, I’m the lowest of the low. I suck worse than Tales of Symphonia’s rehashed plot about false Gods and evil religions and racism.”
6. Dreamed of how awesome it’d be to do stuff on time.
Having realized how worthless he actually was, Timmy could only hope that God would bless him. Timmy didn’t want to be a piece of shit anymore — no, he wanted to be that kid that turned everything in on time! He wanted to buy presents on time, and he wanted to do favors in a timely fashion! He wanted to get things done… and not ten minutes before they had to be, either! Damn it, he wanted to, y’know, function normally. And not have to sit through another Japanese RPG with a shitty rehashed plot, if at all possible.
7. Kinda asked God to remove our shortcomings.
“Yo, God? You there? It’s uh, me, Timmy, again. I’m real sorry about, y’know, not believing in you for 17 years. And not going to Church. Or, y’know, praying. Or reading the Bible. I’m sorry for my hedonistic tendencies, and my shallow attachment to material wealth, and my bad mouth, and my lustful mind… and… wow, I suck. But uh, can you help me out here? I really, really need to stop procrastinating… and uh… y’know… I heard you can read the future and crap, so you already know how this prayer ends… yeah…”
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Timmy began to scrawl his list in the back of a notebook (where he should’ve been doing his Pre-Calculus work):
9. Made indirect amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others, or require too much effort.
Timmy approached his mom. Scratching his head, he thought of how best to apologize for his wrongdoings. “Hey Mom,” he started.
Okay, so maybe he could apologize to her later. Dad would be more receptive anyway, and besides, he’d hurt dad more by procrastinating. Then again, Dad wouldn’t be around until later, and boy, was Timmy tired. Maybe it’d be better to apologize tomorrow…
10. Continued to take personal inventory, or buy and play Civilization 4. Whichever seems more beneficial.
It was a month since Timmy cried out to God for help. He’d kinda forgotten about the whole silly thing, actually. He’d started a list of all the times he wasn’t doing homework, and had religious updated it for two days. Then he sorta stopped doing that and sorta started playing Civilization 4. I mean, that game was awesome! It had like, axemen and musketeers, and you could control everything about your nation, and you could use ICBMs, and his friend Nick played it, and his friend Dave sucked at it…
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our skills in Civ 4. Or stay up way too late playing, because in the next few turns, something awesome will happen.
Just ten more turns, and Timmy’s Manhattan Project wonder would be complete. From there it was just another 14 turns until he got his first ICBM… boy, those French had no idea what was up. Lyon? Fuck that city! Right in the ass, with a nuke, even. I mean, come on, they were so arrogant, trying to take over Boston way back in like 1500 AD. Old grudges die hard, for Timmy. Wasn’t he supposed to be doing something else, though? Some 12 step something or other… eh, whatever…
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to friends, and to tell them how awesome Civ 4 was.
Timmy approached his friend Albert. “Hey man, do you have Civ 4?”
“No,” Albert replied in earnest.
“Dude, you should get it, it is awesome. You can totally make up your own names for cities and stuff… there was this jerk who tried to invade me once, but I totally kicked his ass. It was great.”
A few days later, he approached his friend Blaine. “Hey, do you have Civilization 4…”
Looking on this comprehensive 12 Step program, I find myself to be at about Step 12. Which reminds me… do you have Civ 4? It’s pretty friggin sweet.
I wrote this in lieu of doing homework, wasting approximately an hour of my time.