DOING NOTHING : A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America. By Tom Lutz.
I have often been accused of slacking. When I wrote a weekly humor column, people were always saying to me, “So . . . you write one column a week?” They wouldn’t come right out and say the rest of what they were thinking, which was: “And how long does that take you? Two hours a week?” But I knew. What these people failed to understand is that the hard part of writing is not the typing part, but the thinking part. If you were to come into my office, you would most likely see me engaged in some activity that did not appear, to your untrained eye, to be work. You might see me clipping my toenails, or exploring the vast information resources of the Internet, such as the site that tells you what song was No. 1 on the record charts on any given day for the past 60 years. Or you might see me thrashing around with my electric guitar in my futile but ongoing (for nearly four decades) attempt to learn the guitar part to “Paperback Writer,” which was No. 1 on my 19th birthday.
You’d probably think I was slacking. But you would be wrong. Because while I am engaged in these seemingly pointless activities, I am thinking about a critical writing issue, such as: Which is a funnier-sounding mineral name, feldspar or potash? It takes hours of grueling mental effort to solve that kind of problem, but you, the reader, see only the finished product (feldspar).