Opinion: Time is not on my side


My computer can calculate how long it takes me to write each of my columns. It adds the time I took to write the first draft and then revise it.

For my last column, the computer program said I worked about three hours, but the computer did not count the time I rolled around in bed banging my cranium against the headboard trying to think of an idea or the three hours last week that I spent riding on my stationary bicycle trying to think of a clever ending.

Nor did the computer consider the two hours I spent lost in Franklin when I missed my exit trying to think of a cute title.

When I counted all this time up and divided it by my compensation, I was better off working at a fast-food joint, especially when they raise employee pay to 20 bucks an hour.

 My wife asked me to clean up the garage the other day. When I was through, she said, “You’re done? In only an hour? You couldn’t have done a very thorough job.”

 How insulting. I’d been thinking about cleaning that garage for more than a year. I got no credit for that. I also spent a fair amount of time planning how I would attack the mess. Should I move everything out of the garage, or just pile things up in the corner and then move stuff around? All that time should be counted.

Before cleaning the garage, I went to three stores to find my favorite beer. Then an endless wait while the cans and the glass got frosty in the fridge. Did I get credit for all that time? I did not.

I explained this all to my family and it backfired. The other night my son, Brett, came over for dinner. I asked him to read a short story I was working on. He does a little writing himself and I wanted his opinion.

 “Hey, Dad. I’m done. Let’s have dinner.”

 “Done already? I worked so hard on that. You took only five minutes to read it.”

“Dad, it may seem like five minutes, but did you consider my grade-school years when I spent hours and hours learning the alphabet? You may recall the summer of ‘95 when we drove around Indianapolis, and you made me look for misspelled words on store signs. Or our trip to Hawaii, when I was 11 and I wasn’t allowed to have dessert until I found the misplaced apostrophe on the menu. Or the time you’ve spent drumming into my head that even when we have a conversation, I need a topic sentence. Dad, not counting all that time is not fair to me and the work I did to read that story.”


 “Yes, Dad.”

 “Let’s have dinner.”