Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew

Airing My Dirty Laundry!

To Do or Not To Do

When my children are grown and looking back over their childhoods, I hope they’ll forgive me for my Shakespeare phase.

This was a phase in which I’d quote The Bard extensively, or as extensively as my Cliff Notes knowledge of him would allow. When it was past my kids’ bedtimes, I’d order them “to sleep, perchance to dream.” When my daughter was whining about something, I’d announce that “the lady doth protest too much.” When I had to pick up my son’s stinky sneakers, I’d say sarcastically as I gagged at the odor wafting from them, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

And when my darlings would head out the door to school in the morning, I’d call out after them: “Parting is such sweet sorrow!”

My children would roll their eyes and groan in the pained yet patient way young people do in the presence of crazy relatives.

My Shakespeare phase coincided with one of my occasional attempts at time management. Some people can properly manage their time. Others such as me tend to float along like a little piece of flotsam on the sea of time, carried helplessly by the tides of tardiness until we are broken up by the rocks of regularity and washed on to the shore of scheduling, where we lie as limp and exhausted as an overworked metaphor. Periodically, though, I decide I no longer want to function like flotsam, and so I try to establish some habit that will help me tame my time.

During my obsession with The Bard, I took to writing a daily to-do list. In true Shakespearean spirit, I called it my To Do or Not To Do List. This gave me the feeling of organization but with a smidgen of rebellion thrown in. Just what I wanted.

At first, my to-do list was grandiose and utterly unrealistic. It covered an entire page and then spilled over on to a second page, running rampant like an unruly English soccer fan. Naturally, I couldn’t resist embellishing it with bits of Will’s wisdom.

“Be not afraid of greatness,” I scribbled encouragingly to myself in the margins.

After a few days, though, when I hadn’t actually accomplished anything on my list, my notes to self became slightly more pessimistic but still poetic.

“Oft expectation fails,” I wrote at the bottom.

By the end of the week, with my to-do list not even close to being done, I was deeply annoyed with myself.

“Woman, thy name is frailty,” I scrawled in large, disgusted letters right across the list.

Sadly for my family members, I decided to involve them in my time-management activities as well. I wrote each of them a to-do list, and then I encouraged everyone to get up early on a Saturday morning so there would be plenty of time to get everything done. They ignored me, of course, so I barged into their bedrooms spouting another Bardism.

“Hark, what light through yonder window breaks? Time to get up!”

My kids covered their heads with their pillows and moaned.

“Mom, you are so weird!” my daughter said. “No one cares about Shakespeare! He didn’t even have his own TV show!”

The illogic of this statement left me so stunned I momentarily forgot about the to-do lists. And before I knew it, the time-management urge had passed.

Now, I’m happily back to being floating flotsam. I’ve also gotten over William and moved on to quoting yet another witty Brit – Simon Cowell.

“If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon” I say to my crew with true Cowell attitude.

At least he has a TV show.

~ Jackie Papandrew ~
© 2008, All Rights Reserved

Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at:  JackiePapandrew.com

[ by Jackie Papandrew Copyright © 2008, (me@jackiepapandrew.com) -- submitted by: Jackie Papandrew ]

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