The art of doing nothing

Up until about 1950, both men and women worked so hard there was little free time to be had. When people began to move off the farm en masse, the days of producing their own food and daily chores ceased. Well, at least for the men.

After 30 plus years on the job, I was forced to quit work due to an injury. Unlike most men, since I was divorced and didn't have a wife to drive crazy, I had to become a world renowned expert on “doing nothing” on my own.

My skill in this drives Trixie absolutely nuts as she is the ultimate planner and being a CEO type person, runs a tight ship.

Young and never married, she still believes folks must know what they are doing in order to get anything done. In contrast to me who does what needs to be done at the moment then let the day take care of itself. This is called “smart.”

Men -- retired or not -- have an uncanny ability to do nothing and still appear busy. Now this may seem to be easy but it takes expert manipulation to do it day in and day out. Some men also employ this skill on the job and that is a master at work.

On a typical day of doing nothing, you get up late and stumble out to the kitchen for your coffee all the while complaining of a sore back. From your incessant whining, the person known as “the boss” now knows not to ask you to clean out the gutters as you may be crippled for life.

After coffee and some outdoor TV time you can now ease yourself into your clothes and go out to the garage to build the promised shelves. The smart man conveniently realizes he needs a board, screws, nails, glue or anything else that would require a trip to town. This move is called “the great escape.”

On the way, you notice your friend Joe loading his boat. He always has a hard time backing it into the lake, so if he invites you along, this could count as your Good Samaritan deed of the day and your partner will admire you for helping “poor old Joe.” Today, though, there is no invitation to help just an hour long conversation about nothing. For me, this is known as “important stuff” when quizzed about it later by Trixie.

Finally you arrive at the store to find some golf balls on sale. Since you have never used this brand before, it is imperative that you stop by the local golf range to hit a few. Five buckets of balls later on the driving range, it’s lunch time and if you can't find a pal to eat with, you finally go home.

It is at this time that real skill is involved. In the time you have been gone, she has done three loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, talked to her mother and taken a book to school for the kids so she is expecting something called “results."

When asked “where did you go?” you have to explain about Joe's ailing mother-in-law, long lines at the store and then slip in the sore shoulder part handily removing the details about the golf balls.

Going home is only an option for highly skilled men as it requires what is known as a “double” or escaping twice in the same day.

What you need is an accomplice. Someone you can text to show up on your doorstep with a hang dog look on his face and your wife will sympathize with his plight.

He will talk about the trouble he is having fixing the faucet and mentions how lucky your wife is to have such a great repairman living in her house. For some reason, the wife or girlfriend reacts to this news with fits of laughter – the perfect point for you to make good your exit.

Now safely out of the nest, you can either repeat the morning's events getting lost at the store or golf course, or you can take the rest of the day off at the local sports bar watching a game.

A smart man gets home in time for supper and when asked about the faucet you explain that “we ran into some difficulties.”

That's enough for most women to let you off the hook as being of the female persuasion, they really don't understand “man talk.”

Being on time for supper gets you some great brownie points and you can parlay that into an evening of watching television. Watching an episode of Dancing with the Stars or The Voice with the boss also will set you up for at least a kiss good night and all forgiven for the day's absence.

For those who have conquered at least one day of doing nothing, be forewarned that turning that success into a week or year of the same is not to be tried at home without proper supervision.

A failure cannot only set you back in your quest for Nirvana but can lead to pop knots on your head from the rolling pin or a divorce whereby you have to start the training sessions all over again.