Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Read this article now! Don't put it off! Are you done yet?

I’ve been blogging for about a year now and I have mixed feelings. I like the fact that I can write anything I want, using whatever writing style I choose, and nobody is there to grade me. Heck, if I want to use the word “bullshit” to describe something, as in, “this blog entry is starting off to be bullshit,” that’s my prerogative. Nobody is waiting with a red pen to tell me that “bullshit” is not an appropriate word for this sentence and perhaps I should have chosen “suck-ass.”
That’s the part I like. What I don’t like is the absence of deadlines. If I want to write one blog entry a day, that’s great. If I want to write one word a day, so be it. Of course that may change if I ever get a loyal blog following. But considering that, at last count, there were 5 billion people on earth and 10.3 billion blogs floating around the Internet, I don’t see that happening.
So I blog at my leisure, writing dynamic prose whenever the mood hits me. That's why I think my blog sucks.
I work best when there’s a gun being held to my head. I think everybody does although many will disagree. Sure, there are those of you reading this and thinking, “not true. I don’t like pressure. Pressure brings out the worst in me. I like to work at my own pace”
Now stop and ask yourself, when have you ever HAD the chance to work at your own pace? Life is one big deadline: Wake the kids up by 7, get them on the bus by 8, get to work by nine, soccer pickup at 5, game at 6, dinner at 7:30, blah blah blah. We’ve been dealing with deadlines ever since our first day of kindergarten when the teacher said, “write about what you did over the summer. And it better be on my desk in 20 minutes.”
Okay, maybe the teacher didn’t say it like that, unless of course you attended a Catholic school run by the Eldest of the Elder Sisters of the Holy Pandemic. But your assignment did have a due date, right? And even at five years old, you knew that you had better put something down on the page pretty soon or there were going to be consequences. Even though, at five, you had no idea what “consequences” meant.
In college I immediately hated professors who assigned a HUGE project on the first day and then announced it wasn’t due until the end of term. Usually it was some hip, pony-tailed dude who got stoned in the parking lot moments before entering the lecture room, introduced himself as Professor O’Malley but preferred the students call him “Chaz,” and reminded everybody - especially the female students - that his office door was “always open,” even on Friday nights. Then he’d explain the class and the accompanying assignment, which was something like “pick five neighborhoods in the surrounding community, each with a different racial and economic makeup. Review census data and form hypotheses about past and present conditions. Predict the future of each area and support your prediction by interviewing politicians, business leaders and clergy members. Draw a topographical map of each location and use color-coated pushpins to identify high-crime areas, future development possibilities and areas currently undergoing gentrification. Figure out what “gentrification” means. Using a pencil, sketch plans for a new, state-of-the-art high school. Include a pool. Run for mayor of at least one neighborhood. Extra credit if you win. Double extra credit if you can prove you won without offering or accepting bribes.”
Professor Chaz then lit a cigarette and announced that attendance for the rest of the semester was “optional.” And every college student, myself included, left the hall thinking, “Whoa, I’ve got PLENTY of time to do that. Let’s drink!”
Of course, this assignment followed me around like paparazzi following Britney Spears. No matter what I was doing with my free time – attending a basketball game, playing intramural football, hanging out in the fraternity on Sunday afternoon, whatever – that assignment was constantly in the back of my head. And as the weeks went by and I still had done nothing, it moved to the front of my head where it became a migraine. Suddenly, the due date was two weeks away and I was sweating profusely as I tried to identify actual neighborhoods and pleaded with local politicians to give me five minutes of their time somewhere between 3 and 4 a.m. Inevitably I’d meet a classmate who, I hoped, shared my predicament and could vent with me about how there just wasn’t enough time to finish this ridiculous assignment. However, the classmate would usually burst my bubble by saying, “oh, I finished that months ago. I would have been done sooner but it was tough to nail down that interview with President Clinton.”
But somehow I’d finish it and pull a surprisingly decent grade. That’s when I realized that I work best under pressure. Procrastination accomplishes nothing. I just read that China is currently building eight cities the size of Houston, Texas. Eight freakin’ CITIES! I just visited New York and, four years after the World Trade Center bombing, the site still sits vacant, a gaping hole to remind everyone that we can’t get our shit together. The Chinese would look at that hole and have a replacement structure built within an hour.
If you don’t believe that amazing, well-crafted work can be done on deadline, flip through the pages of Cosmopolitan. I recently went to pick up my wife at her hair salon. I’ve always thought that a "salon" was no different than Supercuts, except for the extra zero on the bill. Ath both places you get your hair cut, return home, look in the mirror and decide the finished product looks like crap. The difference is that Supercuts achieves this mood in 10 minutes while salons take up to eight hours.
When I arrived my wife was sitting in a chair with foil on her head. She looked like an enormous leftover. Of course, thirteen years of marriage has taught me to keep these observations to myself.
Sensing that the foil was not going to be removed until her hair reached medium rare, I perused the magazine on the coffee table. Since this was a hair salon, no copies of Golf Digest, Esquire, GQ or Guns and Ammo were in site. So I picked up the May issue of Cosmo. On the cover was that cute little actress, Mandy Moore, who started appearing in teen magazines when she was about 14.
But next to cute Mandy in the May 2006 issue of Cosmo was the screaming headline “ORGASMS UNLIMITED. HOW TO ACHIEVE A FEEL GOOD EXPLOSION…AND THEN ANOTHER…AND ANOTHER! I read later that Mandy was upset with the cover because the placement of the orgasm headline implied that Mandy knew how to have non-stop orgasms. No doubt Mandy received some interesting fan mail in May. Then again, her publicist should have reminded sweet innocent Mandy that this was Cosmopolitan not Home and Garden. Seriously, what did she expect? “HOW TO ACHIEVE UNLIMITED HIBISCUS!”
Ladies, I’m not going to go into detail about how to achieve UNLIMITED, FEEL GOOD EXPLOSIONS, because I don't have the issue with me. (I stole it and put it under my wife's pillow) But the article, written by Cosmo scribe Theresa O'Rourke, was superbly written. Theresa coined phrases like "moan zone," "bliss coma" and "full body earthquake." Heck, it even diagrammed orgasms with charts featuring wavy lines similar to the ones you’d see on an EKG or at an seismology center. The pink wave looked like a roller coaster track and in fact represented "a series of roller coaster-like waves that are 2 to 10 minutes apart." Miss O'Rourke dubbed this line "sequential multiples." Then she drew an orange line, which looked like a corkscrew laid on its side. This was the "serial multiple" line and symbolized "rapid-fire shots of pleasure with only a few seconds of interruption."


The article did what I think it was supposed to do, which was turn me on! I wanted to make love to my wife right there in the salon, foil and all! And as I continued reading, all I kept thinking was, somewhere Theresa O'Rourke is walking around. Maybe she was in the Cosmo offices , accepting accolades for her stellar work.
'HeyTheresa, nice job on the serial multiples piece. I liked it much better than your 'how to get diamonds from your man on a yearly basis'
And because Theresa works for a monthly magazine, she had to write about orgasms ON DEADLINE! At a staff meeting, the editor said, “Okay, who wants to write about rapid-fire pleasure shots. How about you, O'Rourke?”
After Theresa agreed, she had to go home and start thinking about the article. She had to conduct reseach and I don't even want to know how she did that! Was the reseach conducted at work?

BOSS: Jesus O'Rourke, get off the copier and put some clothes on. And how did those two guys on top of you get past security? What the hell are you doing?

O'Rourke: Research sir.

Theresa also had to look at her calendar and realize she had a set amount of time to write about multiple orgasms. Maybe one day at work she opened up an email from the stressed out editor that read, “I need multiple orgasms on my desk by Thursday at the latest.” And dammit, she did it! Wow, did she ever. What if Theresa didn’t have a deadline? What if she chose to write only after she’d actually HAD an orgasm? Would the article have been written that fast. Probably since I get the impression Theresa is able to climax simply by doing routine tasks, like laundry.
But let's suppose Theresa didn't have the ability to put her money where her orgasms were? What if she had broken up with her boyfriend or divorced her husband only days before receiving the assignment? What if her prospects for sex were about as low as President Bush's approval ratings? The article could have taken forever! That's why deadlines are so cruical to good work. Set a deadline for yourself in whatever you do. It can be truly multi-orgasmic.


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