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Guestwords: Underachieving

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 19:27

As with the rest of my fellow mortals, I am confined to my admittedly comfortable but ever-shrinking four walls. To maintain some sense of productivity, not to say sanity, I have resolved to triage my side of our walk-in closet.

I confess to near pack rat or hoarder status, especially when it comes to clothing. I never throw anything out. I like to say that is because I take care of my things, and, not only that, but quality lasts (and lasts). My wife disagrees. She looked on approvingly if skeptically at my resolution.

In no time at all, I found among my legion of admittedly aged sweaters my Irish fisherman’s knit. It fit well, comfortably roomy, and the holes just added to its charm. I can’t believe I have neglected to wear it for a decade or two. I resolve to correct that. I modeled it to my wife.

“I suppose that reminds you of the ol’ sod,” she sarcastically remarked. (For the record, I was born in the Bronx and there was no sod. Period.) Imagine, if it were not for this hateful virus that treasure might still be hidden under my green sweatpants, about which more anon.

So far then I had underachieved in the closet makeover plan. My success at underachieving is undoubtedly my extraordinary ability at staying supine on the couch. During these difficult days, what more valuable skill than the ability to put in long-term couch time.

A few helpful hints: As any world-class athlete knows, dehydration is an ever-present danger, so next to your couch a bottle of water is imperative. Couching is similar to a triathlon or mountain climbing in that dehydration can sneak up on you.

Another necessity is a phone next to you. A sudden move from the supine to a distant phone can result in a painful pulled muscle. Also a danger in the triathlon and mountain climbing.

Finally books and magazines, lest your mind wander and you actually want to achieve something. A goal, remember, antithetical to underachieving.

But to get back to the closet regimen. As I hinted, I came across my valuable green sweatpants. When I was 16 I prudently purchased these from my neighborhood Army and Navy store, which inexplicably went out of business soon after. Otherwise, I would have more choice items. (However, I did manage to secure a pristine leather bullet holder wherein I store my expired credit cards.)

I am many decades removed from this quality purchase, and, my wife’s opinion notwithstanding, they are still as good as new. She also does not appreciate that on a cold night they make for excellent PJs. Again, if you buy for quality, things last . . . like my Converse basketball sneakers. (I am very light on my feet.) To soften the suspense, I threw out nothing from my closet, but in these days of isolation I did rescue some valuable treasures. Another plus for underachieving.

But as I rise from my couch, I see on my computer that my paltry investments are more paltry still. I am lucky that my taste for the good life is also paltry. As you have read, I have all the clothing I will ever need, and my favorite restaurant is my porch replete with a choice cut of liverwurst and a side of mac and cheese.

So to all in these difficult days, take heart and remember: Underachieving is a worthy goal.

Art McCann has been a “Guestwords” contributor since 1981. He lives in Springs.

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