Friday, October 19, 2007

60; Procrastination

Procrastination lead to agriculture. Picture this: you're a nomad. Forgaging? No one's better at it. In roughly 10,000 years some pope named Greg will invent a calendar that will clarify that this is taking place 8,000 uncivilized (read Christian) years ago. You forage, like everyhting else around you, and get tasty things from plants, as well as killing the other foraging things to supplement your diet. Somehow it seemed like an intelligent idea.

But not all plants are producing fruits at the same time. Shoots and leaves appear at different times. So what do you do? You want them, but you don't want to wait. So you leave and come back. Go do something useful somewhere else. Until one day. One day you don't feel like going anywhere else. (You know there's a nasty river to ford up ahead, and doing so will kill your oxen, mayhaps.) You'll just stick around for a bit. And you wait, your tribe goes on perhaps, and hey, you notice that all the plants sprout at the same time and then grow and ripen at the same time, according to type. Handy. So you plant some seeds and wander off, make a prediction, and return at the time you calculated to find a crop of what you planted has grown and produced fruit.

But not all. Let's say you planted a dozen seeds, now only six grew up. You wanted a dozen, but the animals and inclement weather carried off half. You eat what's there and then, realizing the tribe is wandering into mountain lion territory, make an excuse to stay back again and plant, and this time take care of all the plants and make sure you get the crops.

Incidentally this is all bogus.

But the tribe gets angry, claims you are dodging you're duty to protect the tribe. You say you'll protect them when they get back to where you've planted the seeds. You're procrastinating. You rather not go and forage, sitting around watching seeds is much easier, or so it seemed initially.

But was it? Oh, no. You're lazy procrastination did not pay off as you expected. You had to fight off critters, shelter the seeds from frost, build a fence around them, clear off other tribes, build economic infrastructure, invent Coca-Cola and crisps, build flying fortresses and write manifestos on population control.

And that's the history of civilization, yet again brought to you by me.

In other news: Turkish PMs decide to procrastinate joining the EU by backing an invasion in to Iraq to kill Kurds. The US decides to procrastinate open confrontations with China, instead giving the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dali Lama. John McCain procrastinated giving up the election by taking his mother campaigning to prove that he is not too old.

Also the BBC procrastinates on pronouncing a death sentance on bluefin tuna by attempting to raise awareness that it is overfished far too late. But as is the procrastinator's motto: better late than never. Unless of course it is in reference to unrenewable resources like species.

"And so the story ended./ Do you know it oh so well?/ Or if you need I'll tell you/ the end end end end end end end end and..." Slight hope in Love's lyrics not present in the reality of species loss. I think back now that 'The Lorax' may've proven a more forceful book had the onceler not saved a seed and finished his story instead with: "So, yup. They all died out. That's pretty much it. Thanks for the fifteen cents and the nail and the shell of a great-great-great grandfather snail."

This is why I'm going to teach highschool. The little ones still need to believe in hope. Once adolescence has them sufficiently jaded then I can go to work.

In conclusion this entire column, Loraxes, agricultural allegories, politics and tuna was brought to you by the letter P. P for 'Procrastinating'. Which is what I was doing when writing it.

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