1. Open the refrigerator door and stare into it.
It’s still all the same stuff that was in there the last twenty times you looked, but if you stare hard enough you will notice something that you haven’t seen in a while. You probably won’t want to eat it, but at least it’s something different. Move the pickle jar slightly to the left. This will change your whole perspective.
Open and close the produce drawer at least twice. There’s not any actual produce in here, because you haven’t used the bin correctly since two days after you bought the refrigerator, but that’s okay. Instead, you use this drawer for questionable items that should probably be thrown away, but it’s just too much work walking three steps to the trash can. Easier to throw things in here and then let your Aunt Eustace find fuzzy surprises when she visits for Thanksgiving.
And you know the eggs have gone bad. Stare at them in their special container for a bit, wondering why eggs are the only things that get fancy places to live. Tell the pickles that they should speak with their Congressperson about better housing opportunities. Pretend that the pickles answer, because that makes it more exciting. Make plans to go out for drinks on Saturday.
2. Continue to not pay your bills.
You know that stack on your desk is getting pretty high. Those little letters are lonely, especially the ones that you haven’t even bothered to open because people want money and you don’t have any. Perhaps you could at least prioritize them, moving those items that qualify as “really should do something about this one” to the top of the stack. But that would require you to make decisions, like whether or not the phone bill is more important than the electric bill, and who has time for that? Don’t pay anything and wait for something to be turned off. Make it a game. With sad little prizes.
3. Check out other blog sites.
Go to one that you really like, one that has lots of followers who worship the writer and post glowing comments full of devotion. Dream about this. Then read one of the writer’s new entries, and realize that you can never produce something as stunning as that. Cry a little bit. Then recover, and add what you hope is a witty comment that will somehow magically increase traffic to your own site. This won’t happen, but at least you’ll have a purpose in life for thirty minutes.
5. Check your email.
Marvel at the number of kind and generous people who seem willing to part with large amounts of money if you’ll just provide a tiny bit of personal information. Ponder why there seems to be such an incredible need for mystery shoppers. Wonder what you might have clicked on at some point that would lead someone to believe you would be interested in racy photos of scantily-clad Russian nymphets as they go about farming duties.
Delete any emails that reference your stack of unpaid bills. Just because you send me reminders does not mean that my paycheck is any bigger.
Go through your mail folders, those things you swore you would keep organized THIS time but didn’t, and see if you can remember why you chose the insipid folder names that you did. Most of the names will not make any sense. Reviewing the contents of the actual folders only deepens the mystery. How did this happen? Do strangers have access to your account? Sadly, they don’t. You’re just getting old and forgetting things, like the number of children you actually have, what the hell is up with that unknown key on your key-ring, and the years 1987 and 1993.
6. Play Solitaire.
Ignore the fact that this game is designed to disappoint you, with it being mathematically impossible to win more times than you lose. Don’t worry that the repeated crushing realization that you are out of moves can lead to mental instability, or at least the exchange of harsh words with nearby relatives who were just innocently inquiring if you would like some tea. Beverage-offerings aside, it is somehow their fault that you can’t get to the 6 of diamonds that you need.
Give in to the addiction, let it consume you. Click away on that wireless mouse until the battery dies, thus giving you a reason to drive to Walgreen’s, thereby delaying the writing of your blog post even further. Once at Walgreen’s, peruse the candy aisle, checking carefully to see if anything new has been invented that you need to taste. Go to the greeting card section and turn all of the stupid ones face down. Contemplate why there are so many brands of enemas. Then think of Congress and you suddenly understand why.
7. Change your Facebook profile pic.
Take a tranquilizer first, then go through images of yourself, looking for one that is halfway decent. Get slightly despondent that all of the really cute shots are at least twenty years old. Back when you had dreams and didn’t yet qualify for life-altering credit cards. So now you have to decide: Do you use one of the old ones, making you somewhat similar to those wicked people who use fake photos on dating websites? Or do you use one of the new ones, where you look like you just crawled out of a septic tank no matter how you style your hair?
Perhaps you should have a glass of wine while you make your decision.
In the end, don’t change the picture at all. Keep using the current image, even though you don’t like it anymore. Your friends are already used to that one, and they’ve stopped asking questions about what that thing is in the background, and why it looks like you’ve torn off half the picture. (No need to stir up the rumors about your “lost summer” with that guy you met at Luby’s who turned out to have issues and a criminal background the size of a phonebook.) Instead, just make a status update. Something about a rutabaga. Then keep refreshing the page until three people have “liked” it. Your work here is done.
8. Think about doing the laundry. Then don’t.
9. Organize the top of your desk.
Hide everything in the drawer that has the most spare room. Decide to vacuum your mouse pad, because it will take at least fifteen minutes to get the Dirt Devil out and set it up, twenty if you pretend to look for the accessories that you haven’t seen in years. Clean your monitor, wondering exactly who it is that has been touching the screen so much, because it sure hasn’t been you. Or at least, not that you recall. (Is it time to consider a stronger vitamin regimen?) Move the printer, gaze at the dust bunnies, make vague plans to deal with that at some point, then shove the printer back in place.
10. Justify your slacker existence.
Use an online dictionary to look up a word that you don’t really intend to use, because this is considered “research”. Call one of your friends and talk about mutual acquaintances who shouldn’t be wearing certain outfits when they look like THAT, because this is considered “social networking”. Go to YouTube and watch videos of stupid people hurting themselves after the phrase “hold my beer while I try this” is uttered, because this is considered a “cultural review”.
And finally, just start writing down whatever pops into your head. There’s a risk of this resulting in useless gibberish of no value whatsoever. But sometimes you accidentally end up with something that might actually, minimally entertain your reader.
Previously published. Minimally revised and updated with extra flair for this post.
Story behind the photo: A random shot I took at the Dallas Zoo. I thought it was a nice homage to the barren wasteland that can be one’s mind when trying to write, with walls that seem insurmountable, a bunch of crap lying around that isn’t worth anything, and a complete lack of any other creature to share your pain. (P.S. It was 106 degrees that day. Whatever animals that were supposed to be in this exhibit had clearly hightailed it to the locker room, leaving the idiot humans to stagger around in the heat and take boring pictures of nothing.)