December 28, 2012 1 Comment
I know, I skipped my usual blog post. I was making a point. I wanted to talk about procrastination. You know old saying: “Put off for tomorrow what you can do today.” This means if you live by this rule religiously, you’ll never get anything done. Shakespeare, my favorite writer (except for maybe a dozen others) once said in a play: “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / Lights the way to dusty death.” That means you’re going to die someday. I didn’t need him to tell me that, but the saying is still cool. Now I’m going to share a stunning and moon-shattering fact with you. Are you sitting down? You can stand up for this one. There is no such thing as tomorrow.
A long while ago, before time was invented, a couple of philosophers were deep in philosophical mode. To protect the innocent, let’s call them Pocrates and Slato. By the way, I snatched those names out of the sticky, slimy ether we call inspiration. Now, Pocrates and Slato were hanging out once, and the subject came around to time, even though they hadn’t called it that yet.
Pocrates said, “Hey, have you noticed how everything seems to happen all at once?”
Slato replied, “Yes I did, but I’ve been waiting for you to mention it because it never seemed to be the right moment to bring the subject up.”
“We’ve got to do something about this. It’s getting pretty hectic, what with everyone being born, growing up, getting old and dying this instant.” Pocrates scratched his beard.
Slato thought for a moment and then said, “We could come up with something that could put everything in its place. Once something happens, like, for instance, you scratching your beard, we could put that to the side and say it’s over with. People could then move past an event and leave it behind.”
Pocrates stopped scratching his beard even though it still itched and mused, “What in the world would we call it? I liked that one word you said just then. I think it would be the perfect word for it.”
“Oh, what word would that be?”
“Leave. Doesn’t that have such a green sound to it?” Pocrates seemed proud of himself.
Slato frowned. “Nooo, I think folks might confuse things that have already happened with those things that grow on trees. Why don’t we call it the . . .past? Once a thing is ready to be let go of, we could move ‘past’ it.”
This time Pocrates frowned, but not for the same reason. “If we must. Let’s leave it at that.”
“While we’re on the subject,” Slato continued, “we might as well give a name for things that haven’t happened yet, just to keep it from happening right now. My grandson has been making me laugh as he tries to mimic the words his elders use. He has come up with some fun and exotic names. He calls coffee “boffee”, horsey “whorehe” and furniture “future”. I picked the past word, you choose the ‘going to happen’ word.”
Pocrates grinned impishly. “The first two sound a little risqué. Let’s go with that last one, future.” He sighed triumphantly. “My friend, I think we just solved one of the greatest conundrums in history.”
Slato shook hands with his philosopher buddy. “You are absolutely right! Now we can start writing down everything that happened in the past, making sure we give the information just enough drama to make it interesting, and we can call it history!”
Pocrates countered, “And all the things that haven’t happened yet, the future, we can make predictions and forecasts, and call it SWAG – Scientific Wild-Ass Guessing!”
Thus was born not only the separation of the past and future, they invented the first acronym. Most adherents even now put one foot in yesterday, one foot in tomorrow, and piss all over today. Those philosophers would go on to invent “The check’s in the mail”, “I’ll respect you in the morning” and “I can’t mow the yard now – there’s a football game on!”
So now you know why I’m late with my blog. I was doing research on time, and finally ran out of it.