Opinion
7:35 am
Wed May 21, 2014

How to Ignore Work... commentary from Joan Carris

Fortunately for our economy, most of us adhere to a Puritan work ethic.  Recent articles point to the lengthy work week of Americans, who normally put in 50 to 70-hour weeks on the job.  Sayings that praise work are well-known.  Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.  And how about, Hard work never killed anybody.  Or, Man works from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done.

We could discuss that last one all day, but MY favorite comes from Jerome K. Jerome, author of Three Men In A Boat, a British humor classic.  J. K. Jerome said,  “It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.”

Listen to that!  “…enjoy idling thoroughly”!!  How refreshing!  We should reconsider the topic of work.

This may sound odd, but let’s begin by appreciating the many joys of a bathroom, where you can care for every inch of yourself…in peace.  That is, if you’re not a mother, in which case, GOOD LUCK!.  Remember the moisturizing lotion that protects your skin—your largest organ—one that needs regular love and attention.  While waiting for nails or toenails to dry, you can read to keep your mind active, thereby staving off mental deterioration.  I have a shelf of books and crossword puzzles in the bathroom, for the sake of my mind, and I take my phone in there, too.  A bathroom is a place of healthful restoration, sort of a human garage.

While you are in the bathroom, it is impossible to dust, clean out the freezer, weed the garden, paint the bottom of your boat, or do anything else known as work.  This is just simple logic.

Next, consider morning, the time when people get up and begin their work.  In our minds we run through the various jobs on our schedules, wondering if we even have time for lunch.  On a weekend, the lawn and yard offer endless work opportunities: Weeding, pruning, raking, mulching, spraying for bugs and diseases, fertilizing absolutely everything, cursing the fire ants that eternally invade your space—the list of chores in any yard goes on and on.

Do you want to do this work?  Can this work wait until another time.  If the answer is, “YES, it can wait!...then stay in bed.

That’s right:  Stay.  In.  Bed.  After all, the amount of rest and sleep we get is critical.  Medical studies have shown that American workers do NOT get sufficient sleep, and as a result have more physical and psychological problems than folks who regularly get plenty of sleep.

Clearly our working lifestyle is turning us into unhealthy, mentally sluggish, terminally-tired human beings.  We really ought to spend more healthful, restorative time in the bathroom…and in bed.  For starters, how about a nice long soak in your tub where you can ponder work—what must be done, and what can be ignored.

© Joan Carris  10 April 2014