Opinion: If you have nothing to do, read this


When I retired from television three years ago, I hoped to relax and have nothing to do.

But I did have stuff to do. Lots of stuff. I was busier than ever. So, I decided last week that I would set out a day where I had absolutely nothing to do. Zero. Nada. That was my goal.

 Today looks good. I have nothing to do. Absolutely nothing. I don’t know where to put myself. But putting myself somewhere is doing something, so I better be careful.

I am home now. I am two weeks ahead on my humor column. No bills to pay. We have no dog to walk. All my laundry has been folded and put away. I think I’ve done it. But I am a little bored.

You might say, “Dick, why don’t you read a book or watch a movie on TV?” But then I am doing something. That’s been my way of avoiding what needs to get done. If I read a book when I have nothing to do, what will I do when I really have to do something, and I don’t want to? I’m losing you, aren’t I? Don’t stop reading now. Do you have anything better to do?

 I’ll call one of my busiest friends. I know he’ll be jealous.

 “Bob, it’s Dick. What are you doing?”

 “Nothing, what about you?”

 “Hey, that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

“Dick, when I say nothing, I don’t really mean nothing. I’m paying some bills, shopping online, laundry.”

“You call that nothing? That’s a lot of something. Don’t you know anything about nothing? I am really doing nothing. I mean absolutely nothing.”

 “Do you want to come over here and do something together?”

 “No, Bob, that’s the whole point. I don’t want to have anything to do with you.”

 “Well, you don’t have to get nasty about it.”

 I tried another friend …

 “Mikki, it’s Dick. Guess what? I have nothing to do.”

 “So, take a nap.”

“A nap? You consider a nap nothing? A good nap is a commitment. A nap is not nothing. Trust me. If I were sleepy right now, a nap would be something to do. Geez, can’t I find one friend who knows something about nothing?”

 I called my wife. I decided to rub it in.

“Mary Ellen, I wanted you to know I am home right now and I have absolutely nothing to do.”

“You’re home in a house that has burned-out light bulbs, a broken smoke detector, a dishwasher to be unloaded and a dirty litter box … and you say you have nothing to do? I’m glad you called. Get moving, time to get things done.”

 Boy, did that backfire. Now, I have like four things to do. I guess I better get started. I have nothing else to do.