Wednesday, September 27, 2006

(Still) "Doing Nothing"

Not so long ago I posted an item about Tom Lutz's Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America.

That item had a link to one excerpt; here is a link to another. It opens:

“My father always called me a ‘useless article,’ ” Chris Davis tells me, driving through Bristol, England. “He said it in a rather nice way, of course.” In the midst of my research I had come up to Bristol from London to meet Davis, and he picked me up at the train station in a tiny, beat-up old sedan that was perhaps once green. I had seen his posts on and references to his very elaborate Web site,, in which he lays out his general theory of idleness, a theory that accounts for all phenomena in the universe — physical, biological, social — in terms of idling. He is a slight man, maybe 150 pounds, in jeans, a faded “Galicia” T-shirt and blue windbreaker, topped by a well-worn blue canvas cap. His greenish-grey eyes are the only large things about him, and they beam out of a face that begins wide and tapers into not much of a chin. A slight sag here and there announces that he has perhaps passed fifty, but there isn’t much evidence otherwise. He drives us to a pub, “The George,” just past the edge of town. “I spend an enormous amount of time in pubs just like this,” he says. He doesn’t lock the car, and given its sorry state one can see the wisdom in not making that particular effort. The pub is surrounded by corn fields and stone walls, and except for the cars going past on the macadam, there isn’t much trace of the last couple hundred years.

Inside, we order a couple of pints and some lunch, which he is glad, he says, to let me buy....

Click here to read the rest of this excerpt.

--Marshal Zeringue