17 January 2008

lessons in deception

While signing a sizeable stack of books out at the library today, I was chatting with the elderly man who worked at the circulation desk.

"Isn't it a little early in the semester to be taking out this many books? You must be a hard worker. Or," he added, "you have discovered the art of making it look like you're working hard. A big pile of books can get people off your back, you know."

"Interesting," I replied, "tell me more."

"Well take me for example. I have wasted a lot of time daydreaming or doing nothing at work during my life. The trick is to use props. I can wander around for half an hour, as long as I am carrying a pen, a piece of paper or better yet, both."

"I'm pretty good at procrastinating, but not great at hiding it," I said.

"Well, get good at at least looking like you're working hard. That is the stuff they should be teaching you in school. That is the stuff that gives you time to have fun in life," he said, eyes twinkling.

I thanked him for the tip as he handed me my receipt. Walking away, I was thankful he didn't notice (or at least didn't mention) that half of my big pile of books consisted of audition guides for actors. Maybe I'm better at this than I thought?

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