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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Nick of Time

Arguably, the most exciting and interesting part of a movie is when the protagonist disarms the bomb, missile, trap, etc. just in the nick of time. Similarly, we are just as captivated when a tied game in sport is extended for an extra inning, round, hole, etc., where one mistep also means 'sudden death', but of the metaphorical variety.

But did we ever stop to think that if all these folks just had an extra minute or two to save the world or the game, how much better it would be for everybody? It certainly would make for a less fretful moment, but we all know it would be boring as hell.

That's motivation for ya. We just can't get up for the challenge until there really is a challenge. Unwittingly, that's perhaps the greatest argument not for achievement, but for procrastination. After all, when you can save the world or the ball game with time to spare, why not make it exciting and heroic by making a certain event into something a bit chancy? So when you make it to the office, prepare your tax return, or catch the plane with a minute to spare, you're not some lazy fart, but are Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.

So when we are exalting our heroes, we are really celebrating their ability to procrastinate with finesse and style. After all, they wouldn't be heroes otherwise.

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