The Pitfalls of Procrastination
The Pitfalls of Procrastination

an epic in three parts




I.

The time was slim, 'twas due next hour.
I hadn't started yet.
And so I penciled frantically,
Yet knew that done I'd get.
But as I proudly turned it in,
My teacher seemed to frown.
I was puzzled, for I knew
Each sentence had a noun.

He flipped through each page one by one
And asked, "When did you start?"

"How'd you tell something was amiss?"
My conscience seemed to smart.

"You don't need to procrastinate."

My face was turning red.
"But I can get away with it.
Besides, it's fun," I said.

My teacher laughed and shook his head.
"I once thought as you do,
But since then I have changed my mind.
I've learned a thing or two."

Now I had thought I knew it all,
E'en now 'twas only doubt:
Was I quite that professional?
The tension seemed to mount.
I eyed my paper in his hand.
"So what's my grade?" I said.
He frowned, but didn't pause at all.
He wrote a "D" in red.

Now, I get "A"'s and "B"'s and such,
So I was quite surprised
And had to catch my balance when
The marking caught my eye.

"You're crazy! That's good work!" I cried.
His face, it did not shift.
I forced a tear and walked away
And fell right off a cliff.

(No, really, that was just a rhyme,
Or else: Rift? Gift? Lift? Stiff?)


II.

I got a letter in the mail
One day after school.
I opened it, and it was long;
Long's two pages, as a rule.

"From Mr. Hopkins," it began,
"Dear student, please hear me.
I have a story I can tell.
Perhaps it will help thee.

"Once upon a time there lived
A very wealthy man,
Talented in everything,
Of a very noble clan.
But one day, he said, 'Look at this.
I need to do it now,
But still I can get done in time
If first I go to town.'

"He went to town and saw some sights,
And busy having fun,
Forgot about the cougar trap
That was almost done.
He'd dug a hole and covered it
With sticks and leaves and moss,
But had forgot to string the bait
So the cat would walk across.

"And so, as he was heading home,
He stumbled o'er some sticks,
But thinking nothing, walked along
And fell right in the pit."

I laughed at this and skipped the rest.
"My, that is an extreme,
But I won't go that far," I said,
"At any day or scene."
I let my homework rest until
The period before
And turned it in on time again,
Contrary to the lore.


III.

It came to pass that in those days
I saw an ad for work.
It was the perfect job for me:
A local bookstore clerk.

(I love to read, and so you see,
The perfect job for me.)

I sent my resumé at once;
There was no time to lose.
I listed every book I'd read.
There were quite a few!
They called me for an interview,
And I prepared in time.
I tried to look real literate;
I dressed myself in lime.

As I turned to leave my house,
I remembered Spot,
My goldfish I'd forgot to feed.
Was he dead or not?
He wasn't, so I fed him lots
Of yummy fishy food.
He ate it up real hungrily.
What manners! He was rude.

And then I turned to leave again
But found me turning back.
What's this? I thought, and then I saw
My homework in a stack.
"Forget it," said the one who is
Disorganized, at least,
And then I walked right out the door
To the bookstore down the street.

The interview went well, although
I did not get the job.
My homework smiled again at me;
My head began to throb.
And so I sat and did my work,
But didn't get too far
Before it bored me half to death.
I left my book ajar.

I went out to the three-par golf,
And who d'you think I saw?
My teacher, he was standing there,
His eye fixed on the ball.
He saw me soon, and then he said,
"Your homework, done it yet?"

"No," I said. It was the truth,
And so it was the catch.
I made myself to turn back home,
But did not watch my feet.
I fell into a pit that day
While walking toward the street.

There were no tapes, no warning signs
That said, "This hole is big,"
'Cause someone wouldn't put them up
Before they'd start to dig.

And so I learned my lesson:
I was walking over sticks,
Whenever I'd procrastinate,
That covered up a pit.