A sarcastic take on the global self-help and actualization movement (SHAM)
Sure, kids made fun of me. Maybe you would find it funny too. But I don’t see the humor in it. If you had spent the last two hours flipping TV channels while you should have been making spread sheet dinosaurs, you would not see the humor in it either.
It all started fifteen years ago, when I first discovered what my condition was called. I was relieved to at least finally be able to give it a name. For years, I had suffered silently, namelessly. I had put off tasks as a child, and had waited till the last minute to do anything all through my teens. But only fifteen years ago did I finally learn that I was a procrastinator.
I was attending a seminar by the famous self-help guru called Jeff Ripoffvsky. He looked like a genuine and insightful person. Everything he said made complete sense to me, and I felt like a cloud was being lifted. I still remember when he told us his inspiring life story: “Folks, seventeen years ago, there was a poor young pizza delivery boy who was so shy, he could not even say hello to anyone. He would just ring the doorbell, and present the order receipt when the customer appeared. Needless to say, he never got any tips (chuckle. Audience laughs). But one day, a customer did not bang the door after taking his pizza, as the young delivery boy was used to. He said to the boy ‘son, you are too shy’. That changed the boy’s whole life. He stopped being shy and became a confident young man. In fact, you know what folks, that guy was me! (applause. standing ovation).” I think I mixed up the stories. This is the time when I discovered that I was shy. This was also a life-changing experience.
The real ‘aha’ experience in my life came about when I was attending an inspirational talk by Dr. Shallowell. He had a unique style of delivering his message to the audience. He would tell stories about his own life which would inspire the audience. He said, “I grew up in a small town called Badass (audience laughs. A few attempt a standing ovation). I never did my homework on time and delayed it till the last moment. That always got me into trouble. Even when my mother told me that I was supposed to clean my room, I would just sort of put it off till it was sometimes too late and I would get a good spanking from my good ol mama. Then one day I met a wise man who said, ‘son, you are a procrastinator’. That changed my whole life, and I worked hard and became a doctor. And ladies and gentlemen, that young boy was me.”
Many years later, I wrote a letter to Dr. Shallowell. The letter said: “Dr. Shallowell, you have changed my life. I feel like I have been liberated. I feel a burden off my chest. It seems like an epiphany. My soul is free. I had the most amazing ‘aha’ experience during your speech. Emancipation. Thank you Dr. Shallowell. God bless you.”
Procrastinationitis: a dangerous condition indeed