“Why is it every time I need to get somewhere, we get waylaid by jackassery?” – Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture
It’s funny just how accurate this quote from The Venture Brothers can seem some days. It’s entirely accurate to my situation in more than a few instances, though. Other phrases for this abound. My other favorite way to describe this is from Merlin Mann: Searching for the Perfect Apostrophe. (MP3 file will open in a new window.) Basically it’s all about distraction. In the case of the Perfect Apostrophe it is about self-induced misdirection and focus on the wrong things; losing site of the end game entirely because you’re caught up in the wrong details. In the case of Dr. Venture it’s about everything around that is part of your life, including your family and your past and your colleagues and your friends and even your protectors all have connections to you that pull at you all the time, and often during the times you most need for those connections to be severed (or at least slack), they pull on your the hardest. It’s about family and personal disaster implosion and everything collapsing in on you as you try to get somewhere.
The sneaky part of this is that it’s a trap. Not an obvious trap. And worse, the trap isn’t the one you think it is at all. It isn’t that all of those things catch up with you at all. It is that in a lot of ways we all seek out being waylaid by jackassery. It’s easier to deal with the emergencies of being waylaid by jackassery than it is to deal with the mundane checklist of things you are trying to think through, write down, and cross off. The trivial tasks that seem so trivial that the jackassery all of the sudden seems more important to deal with NOW NOW NOW! Yet, often, being waylaid by jackassery is a result of letting a bunch of trivial, mundane boring stuff molder.
I am terrible at getting caught up in the Perfect Apostrophe trap. However, I’ve had it in my head that I am not one to get waylaid by jackassery, yet when I really think about it and look back on it, well, I am TOTALLY waylaid by jackassery on a regular basis. In fact, this sentence alone is starting several days after the previous sentence because, well, I was waylaid by jackassery. A combination of illness, accident, work demands and family demands all were in place to put two days between one sentence and the next. Sure, it’s hard to really say important family things or something happen to someone that you care about is jackassery, but to the task at hand that’s being interrupted and waylaid, well, to that task it is jackassery that is keeping the task from being accomplished. If you are Dr. Venture, generally it could be one of your kids being kidnapped by your villainous arch enemy the Monarch. If you are me, then it’s less your villainous arch enemy and more the vagaries of fate at the playground with your kid or spouse and the unpredictability of picking up a bug along the way to work or your work demands all of the sudden shifting toward things you couldn’t predict. Indeed, when you have personal goals you want to accomplish and working through a series of tasks to accomplish them, it’s often seems like the entire world is The Monarch just waiting to kidnap one of your kids while you’re one your way to try and sell an invention to the defense department. In other words, damn near everything becomes the villainous arch enemy to that ONE THING you are trying to accomplish. When accomplishing one thing is your focus, all things that waylay your focus from the tasks necessary to accomplish that thing are jackassery.
The amusing part of me writing about this is that I don’t have anything to offer on how not to be waylaid by jackassery. It just happens. Once you or your bodyguard has rescued your son from The Monarch then you take a deep breath and you said “Now, where were we?” You look at what was happening before all the jackassery went down, climb back on board the X-1 and get back in the air to sell your inventions or stop an alien invasion or whatever it is you were doing before. Jackassery happens to everyone, failures and successes alike.