For people of a certain age, being disciplined invokes a trip to the headmaster for punishment, while for others something rather more kinky. Or perhaps both.
But I will leave any salacious discussions of corporal punishment or saucy S&M shenanigans for another time. Here I want to try and get to the bottom of the mental discipline we apply, or fail to apply to ourselves.
Self discipline: The ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses. OED
Self-discipline seems to be fundamental to success. Pretty much any type of challenging endeavour requires it, unless you join the military services and let someone else impose their discipline upon you.
I can see the potential advantages of having such a well-structured life: a clear set of rules and goals, strong motivators and the fellowship of comrades in arms. Not to mention the simplicity of wardrobe choices. But personally I would rather be skinned alive, lightly seasoned and fed to wolves than submit to such an authoritarian way of living.
It was almost a year to the day since Peter Pike – AKA Procrastination Man – had last donned his ill-fitting spandex outfit and battled the forces of evil. But Peter had not been idle, far from it. In that time he had thoroughly reorganised his cutlery drawer, joined a gym (although not actually visited it) and made detailed plans to re-decorate the lounge and repair the kitchen window. There had even been a few half-hearted attempts to start writing his autobiography.
He had also, much to his surprise, found a partner, Melanie Grant, with whom he had made some exciting and probably completely impractical plans. An attractive, if slightly geeky young science graduate, she had been inspired by the press coverage of his earlier adventures and had responded to his online quest for a partner:
WANTED: SMART, KICK-ARSE PARTNER FOR A UNIQUE CRIME-FIGHTING OPPORTUNITY! NO TIME-WASTERS PLEASE.
Their first meeting at The Black Crow pub hadn’t gone quite as well as they’d hoped. A nervous Peter had arrived late as usual, and then managed to spill his pint of beer all over their table. Melanie had ended up trapped in the women’s toilet cubicle, a faulty lock requiring intervention from the local fire brigade. But they had been able to laugh about it afterwards, and their disastrous evening had eventually ended on a unexpected high note.
As they had slowly gotten to know each other in the months that followed, the future suddenly seemed to be full of promise and adventure.
After a long planning phase, they were determined not to let any more grass grow under their feet. It was time for action, just as soon as they’d saved up enough cash to advertise their services in the papers, and whipped themselves into shape at the gym. And paid off the credit card bills. Yes, quite soon they would be ready to unleash the force of THE PROACTIVATORS upon an unsuspecting criminal world.
For those feeling inspired by Procrastination Man’s recent adventures, I present the halfbananas guide to perfecting your procrastination.
Now you too can learn to supercharge your underachievement and take your avoidance skills to the next level.
(See Procrastination Man’s first adventure here, and the start of this adventure here)
As the flat door bursts open two dark figures rush in yelling and blasting away with automatic weapons. Having already broken the ceiling light with their earlier fusillade from across the street, the room’s darkness gives our hero and his visitor a slight advantage.
Crouched behind the sofa, PM steels himself and waits for Harry’s command as the bullets fly around them. He wonders briefly if a person can overdose on their own adrenaline.
(If you missed them, see PM’s first adventure here & part one of this latest adventure here)
Procrastination Man is prepared for any eventuality as he opens the flat door to the mystery caller. Well almost any, he muses. A guy dressed as a moose and carrying a chainsaw would not be on the list of ‘things I’m prepared for’.
The man he finds standing in front of him is thankfully neither dressed as a moose nor wielding any tree-felling equipment. He does hold a white plastic bag that emits a rather pleasing aroma.
‘Harry Ha’ says the man, a smartly dressed chap of possibly British-Chinese origin. ‘Pleased to meet you. I thought you might fancy a bite to eat’.
The telephone interrupts our hero’s rather late breakfast, a past its use-by date pot noodle made with cold water and a glass of flat economy-brand cola. Must get the shopping done and replace the fuse in the kettle-plug he thinks, pulling a sour face.
‘Hello, Procrastination Man speaking, how may I help you?’
‘Yes, hello, I got your details from your website, although I first got through to the Somerset donkey sanctuary who gave me the correct number. They sounded quite annoyed actually’
‘Ah yes, been meaning to get that sorted…’
It is close to midnight and the only sound to be heard in the secret HQ of the mysterious figure known as Procrastination Man, is the steady clatter of fingers on a computer keyboard.
His secret Fortress of Ineptitude, as one wag had christened it, is actually a grubby one-bedroom apartment near the sewage treatment plant.
Sitting in near darkness, as most of the old light bulbs need replacing, he is lit only by the soft glow of an ancient and battered PC monitor. Once again he finds himself locked in a tense battle of wits with his nemesis, a notorious internet troll. The troll’s risible claims of a faked moon landing, Mars missions and various other ‘Illuminati conspiracies’ have set the Facebook group’s membership spinning into a maelstrom of argument, put-downs and amusing memes.