In the film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Angel Second Class Clarence Odbody says that every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.
Similarly, every time a computer is made, a Time-Suck is born.
What is a Time-Suck, you ask?
By Definition, a Time-Suck is a small, invisible entity, which can read minds. It possesses magical powers, not unlike a Unicorn or David Bowie.
If the Time-Suck were to be made visible, it would look like a cross between one of J.K. Rowling’s Dementors, a tumbleweed, and Slimer, from Ghost Busters. Also, it would have the stumpy arms of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The Time-Suck’s only desire is to lure you from the path of productivity, into the pointless, meandering bowels of the internet, where it will suck on your soul like a watermelon lifesaver.
Life-Cycle of the Time-Suck
Stage One: BIRTH
In the warm, chaotic conveyer-belt world of the computer factory, a computer was completed and sealed inside its dark cocoon of Styrofoam and cardboard. Somewhere inside, perhaps near the motherboard and the nests of colorful wires and plastic chips, a sentient being blinked it’s little invisible eyes and yawned, displaying a mouth full of sharp, pointy teeth.
Stage Two: PURCHASE
I saved my money carefully. I was looking forward to buying that shiny new computer forever, and the day had finally arrived. I brought the box home. I admired it. I enjoyed tearing the tape off of the box and I loved the squeal of Styrofoam as I pulled my new mechanical baby out into the light. I plugged it in, turned it on, and then I just sit there, admiring. I had grand thoughts. I would use my gorgeous new computer to achieve my GOALS and I would be SUPER PRODUCTIVE.
Stage Three: DOING STUFF
I started researching, and writing, and using my fabulous new imaging software. I turned a pony into a flying saucer using Photoshop. I enjoyed how efficient my new computer was and I plowed through a whole bunch of things on my “to do” list. And somewhere nearby, the Time-Suck was hovering, biding it’s time.
I was very proud of myself, and I decided that I deserved a reward…
Stage Four: DISTRACTION
Me: “I am going to get a SNACK!”
Time-Suck: But you are so comfortable right here in your chair.
Me: “I feel lazy. Maybe I’ll get a snack later.”
I decided to check my email messages, instead.
Then I checked Facebook and left a few messages on my friend’s walls.
The Time-Suck sensed my resolve was crumbling. It smelled weakness. It used its mind-reading powers to ascertain that I have a soft spot for horses, cute animal videos, and men in spandex pants.
Time-Suck: You know what is cool? David Bowie is cool. Remember Labyrinth? Remember the spandex and the crystal balls? I bet there are a ton of good clips of David Bowie on youtube.
Stage Five: SUCK, SUCK, SUCK
It all started innocently enough; I told myself I’d only be on youtube for 15 minutes. I checked out a few David Bowie videos, admiring his spandex and his hair…I watched him fondle his crystal balls and shuddered over that weird, creepy clip of dancing fire puppets from the stinky swamp.
Time-Suck: You know who else wears spandex? Equestrian Vaulters wear spandex….horrible, be-glittered spandex costumes that could make Michael Jackson shudder and Tim Curry proud. Do it…take a peek…I know you want to…
My Fifteen minutes had somehow morphed into an hour. Also, I’d started twitching and drooling a little on my shirt. I was singing “Sweet Transvestite,” under my breath.
By that point the Time-Suck was in complete control. I had gone over to the internet Dark Side.
Stage Six: MORE SUCKAGE
I watched old circus clips of a 50’s housewife who threw kitchen knives at her daughters. I chortled as a cat fell off of a TV set and I continued to chortle as a horse amorously humped a hay bale. I wasn’t sure why. But I just…Couldn’t….Stop…..
Stage Seven: WAIT, THAT CLOCK CAN’T BE RIGHT.
3 AM? WHHHHYYY!
I really didn’t get much done that day. The Time-Suck had triumphed. I turned off my computer and went to bed, berating myself for getting so easily distracted. What kind of a person enjoys watching four hours of spandex-glitter-knife-throwing- related videos, anyway? I was sure I was only watching for an hour…two at the most. Where, I asked, did those other two hours go?
Stage Eight: THAT TIM CURRY DREAM. AGAIN.
...sometimes it's better not to ask.
(Please note that EVERYONE has a Time-Suck. This means YOU!
...and if you're reading this, you might be under it's influence RIGHT...NOW...)