It’s when you’re really busy that you get things done.  Mike Yardsborough knew this, and that is why, when it was time for him to write his thesis on the origins of masculine thought in the 19th century and its implications for the rise and ultimate fall of the railroad systems as a metaphor for the transfiguration of the male phallotype in the American narrative—that’s when he decided to really pile on the other obligations.  Just to be sure he’d get that thesis done.

Mike called his mom and asked if there was anything she needed done.  Of course she did.  The gutters needed cleaning and she needed new storm windows and she needed a big strong man to intimidate the mailman, who had been scrunching her bills into the tiny mail slot instead of ringing the doorbell and giving them to her personally, unwrinkled.  Mike penciled her in for 2:00 PM on Saturday.  Then he updated his Netflix queue, with a bunch of romantic comedies that he was not particularly into, but he thought he should do his research if he was going to go back online with with, the new dating web site for people seeking emotional connection with attractive persons without the expectation (threat) of eventual commitment.  He made a note to self to call his professional photographer friend Lenny, who could take pictures of him in the alley behind his house, where there was good late afternoon light and he could pretend to be playing basketball.

Mike had never been one to cook very much, mainly because he was impatient and cooking required big chunks of time that would take away from his time online or his thesis writing time or his workout time or whatever else.   But now he went out and invested in some cookbooks.  He joined a co-op and wrote down in his calendar three times during the week–Monday Thursday and Sunday–when he would go to the store and get vegetables.

Then Mike made an appointment for a haircut.

Then he got a dog. A weiner dog and he named him Badger.

Then he brought all those books out of the basement that he bought and had never read.  He put them in piles to remind himself to read them.

Then Mike joined the DFL and signed up to do some volunteer work for them, mostly making signs for other people to carry to various rallies across the country.  A lot of protest signs, he noticed, not a lot of them putting forth their own ideas.  He made a note to self to come up with some of his own ideas when he got home.

That night before Mike did his nightly meditation practice in front of a white–not yellow–candle, he noticed the date on the refrigerator.   March 4.  He only 36 hours left to write his thesis. 450 pages.  He hadn’t started yet.

This is it, thought Mike.  Now I’m really going to be productive.