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Texas Agriculture Archive

May 21, 2004

My husband has an opinion on just about everything, and "laziness" is one of them.

"Too many people are rewarded fer bein' lazy. If they made laziness a crime, we'd be buildin' prisons 'til the world looks level an' have full employment," Mel said.

"If arrested, they'd all plead 'not guilty,'" I pointed out. "Few people will own up to being lazy, because slackers have a talent for convincing themselves that they are not lazy. They make millions of excuses for their slow progress and lack of productivity. These are the elements that prefer to lie around and have everything done for them."

"Jist feed an' water 'em lahk livestock an' thur content," Mel observed.

"Only they want curb service," I added.

"Guess laziness has its place. When Ah was young, an' worked at the railroad, thur thang was to give the hardest job to the laziest person an' he'd always manage to come up with a easier way to do it."

"Kept you pretty busy, huh?"

Mel bristled. "Thur's a diff'rnce between laziness an' efficiency. Ain't my fault Ah cud git th' job done in half the tahm it took them other fellars, an' make it look so dang easy."

"The railroad theory may be right. I heard someone say if you're trying to find the easiest way to get something done, get a really lazy person and a cattle prod," I said. "Looks like a sluggard would realize the quicker he gets a job done, the quicker he can get back to his inert state."

"You missed the whole point, girl. Real laziness means doin' the job fast an' sloppy so the person overseein' you figgers it's easier to do it hisself, or he'll git somebody other than you to do it next tahm 'round."

"Sounds like you're speaking from experience," I commented.

"Yep. Ah'm usually the one ends up doin' it hisself. Ah remember suggestin' onc't to a fellar that he suffered from laziness. He replied, `Ah don't suffer from laziness, I enjoy ever' minute of it'."

Mel's observations about laziness gave me something to think about. I began researching and found that some famous people, like Albert Einstein, were called "lazy" by their peers. And I came across some interesting quotes and observations by well-known philosophers, word-smiths, and others. For example, Ben Franklin said, "Laziness travels so slowly, that Poverty soon overtakes him." Mark Twain once said "I am no lazier now than I was 40 years ago, but that is because I reached the limit 40 years ago. You can't go beyond possibility." I liked one by Jules Renard: "Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired."

I told Mel, "Would you believe I even found websites dedicated to slackers and extolling the virtues of laziness? They even offer T-shirts."

"Plumb pitiful," he yawned. "Say, can you come out in the backyard and help me with a little project?"

"Sure. What do you need?"

"I need you to tie my hammock to the tree."