No, Doug! Not The Trapeze Again!!!!!!!! And Other Stuff Heard On A Motel Television. Tales From A Procrastinator’s Diary: What I Do When I Don’t Want To Do What I’m Supposed To Be Doing And Decide To Do Something Else Instead.

May 24, 2010

Look for the ridiculous in everything and you will find it.
• Jules Renard

You already know that I am making a serious study of the art of procrastination. Sometimes procrastinatory acts are themselves the beginnings of something artful. The following found poem captures a moment in time during the evening of August 16, 2004, from a motel in North Bend, Oregon, where, I am sure, I should have been doing something much more productive like grading papers or planning interesting and engaging classroom activities.

Instead, I was channel surfing and writing down the first sentence I heard on each channel as I tried to get up the energy after a long day of teaching to do what needed to be done. I’m sure this rejuvenation strategy worked since I finished all my work too. This material is from pages of an old journal I recently found and wrote about several days ago.

Perhaps this is not yet riveting, but perhaps it could be, or perhaps, as Aldous Huxley said, “It was one of those evenings when men [and women] feel that truth, goodness and beauty are one. In the morning, when they commit their discovery to paper, when others read it written there, it looks wholly ridiculous.”

No, Doug! Not The Trapeze Again!!!!!!!!!
A Found Poem Recorded by W•OZ, August 16, 2004, North Bend, Oregon, motel television

The older you get the harder it is to cope with things.
Man, you’re the best!
No, Doug! Not the trapeze again!!!!!!!!!
Not sleeping well at night?
There’s a good possibility the bed is part of the problem.
The company said it wasn’t my fault. It was Nash.
Nasty hardwater buildup. No match for LimeAway.
And you thought the Olympics were exciting.
That’s an awkward combination.
I sure miss you, Ed.
At least I can still listen to your voice.
Nobody sang “Pretty Little Filly” like you did.
When the bachelors catch the scent of a young female in heat.
In spite of the low expectations CBS executives ordered twelve additional episodes.
All right, you kids, want short string paddle toys? I got ‘em right here.
Big giant guy; struggle and sweat.
Get rid of the odors.
Make money your first day.
Now that’s what I call magic.
Turning a plain old backyard into a big symphony orchestra.
Completely different!
You feel good?
They make’ em with all white meat chicken and it comes with its own sauce for dunking.
Order now.
Hundreds of northwest residents flee their homes.
You give me a kiss—you get a show.
I make sure it’s conditioned with Old English.
This is my new game table. I’m introducing it to the world.
The missing man is a diver named Randy Fry.
When you’re in a canoe and they want you to paddle, you’ve got to make nice easy strokes.
I wear the sable for the weekend.
I’ll say this for Harry Jeckle: he doesn’t mind paying for top class work.

Albert Camus said that “all great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning,” noting that “great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant’s revolving door.” I am a collector of many kinds of oddservations. You never know where an idea will come from or what you might be able to do with the initially ridiculous.

What have you oddserved lately? What might you do with your oddservation?

The intelligent man [or woman] finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man [or woman] hardly anything.• Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


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