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Jim Walker: Combating the inertia of the inept

Don't Take Me Seriously

Posted: February 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.

So, as I begin writing this column, it is Groundhog Day. And I read that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, and so there will be six more weeks of winter. Now, this begs the question: Does that “winter” apply to all of us, or only to Punxsutawney, Pa., and surrounding areas?

It doesn’t matter. In SoCal, the term “winter” is more an indicator of a season of reduced barbecuing than it is an indicator of real weather patterns. So, six more weeks of winter only means you have some time left to fix the lawnmower. (Though, you’ll still have to hack back those spots on your grass where your neighbor’s shih tzu “fertilizes” for you.)

That aside, on this day I think deeply about Punxsutawney Phil. Metaphorically speaking, anyway, he “comes out of his hole” on Groundhog Day to look for his shadow.

So, metaphorically speaking, I will do the same.

And, as I do, I find that a really big, dark, well-defined shadow is following me. It is very apparent that the winter of my discontent has no intention of thawing any time soon.

I realize that I am under the deadly influence of inertia.

You see, it’s February already, and though I explicitly avoided making any New Year’s resolutions, I somehow can’t avoid the guilt over failing to accomplish them.

“Huh?” you say.

“Listen up,” I say.

Just because I didn’t give voice or pen to any goals for 2012, doesn’t mean I don’t need some.

I mean, I really, really need some.

This life of pure hedonism, which my lavish salary supports, is only wasting time and brain cells. I need to come up out of my hole and, well, get on with it.

“With what?” you ask.

“How am I supposed to know?” I reply.

But I do know this. As good old Isaac Newton put it, unless acted upon by a force, "inertia" is the tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion, or the tendency of an object at rest to remain at rest.

I have been at rest too long, my friends. Way too long.

And so, I will put the force on myself. I will start some forward motion.


Because, at this time, inertia is clouding my brain and rendering me inept and incapable of coming up with any detailed, progressive goals. … I am going to alter my inertia in the forward direction by actual forward motion.

Picture Forrest Gump running and running and running, for no reason he understands, and you will have an idea of my intentions.

I am going to start physically moving forward and hope that, when the endorphins kick in, the meditation of pounding the pavement will make all things clear, and more defined goals will bestow themselves upon me.

So, now I put it to you. Does inertia have its hold on you, my good gentles?

Are you in need of forward motion and well-defined goals?

Now, I’m not talking about making more money or losing some weight or limiting your gas-passing to the great outdoors. Those are fine as goals, in themselves.

No, what I’m referring to here are the kinds of goals that make your existence really worth something, the kinds of things that you’ve been skirting around your whole life because they seemed too difficult or too altruistic. I’m talking about the kinds of things that will look good on the resume of your time on the planet — the justification for your consumption of natural resources.

And so, I metaphorically smack the ball into your court.

You decide. Is it time to change your inertia?

I hope to see you out there, my friends, maybe on McBean and environs. If you want, you can pull in behind me like those folks who followed Gump.

But don’t expect any enlightenment to come from me. At this point, I haven’t got a clue. And, anyway, you’ve got to solve your own inertia problems.

I’m just running into the wind of the future, and hoping it will clear my head.

And also hoping I don’t get another chest cold or, you know, pull a hammy.

Even metaphorically.

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