In Praise Of Laziness
( Originally Published 1916 )
I MAKE no bones of it, but here confess and set down that I am lazy. I was born lazy and it has grown on me. I would never move at all if it did not hurt so to remain in one position. The only reason I take exercise is in order to relax afterward.
Furthermore, I raise my voice in defense of the army of the lazy ones. They are the salt of the earth.
A lazy person does better work than an industrious body. He puts a fiery energy into his task because he wants to finish it as soon as possible.
A lazy boy will saw wood fast so that he can get through and rest. A lazy girl sweeps the room with whirlwind activity, while the girl who loves work will fiddle about all morning.
It is laziness that is the spring of human progress.
Because a lazy man wanted to get out of the job of currying the horse, he thought out a plan for putting a bucket of gasoline under the buggy seat, whereby we ride like the wind.
Because lazy folks hated to climb stairs, elevators were invented.
Because people were too lazy to get off the train and go to the lunch counter, they devised dining cars; and being too lazy to ride on the railway all night sitting up, they contrived sleeping cars.
Being too lazy to dip his pen in the ink every few seconds, some genius invented the fountain pen. And being too lazy even to use that, he proceeded to build a typewriter. Also too lazy to run the typewriter himself, he started the fashion of having girl typists.
It was a lazy genius that thought of making a patent cigar lighter out of a flint stone and benzine, because he was too tired to strike matches.
Likewise, who would have conceived the idea of a fireless cooker except some woman too lazy to stand over the cook stove?
The eight-day clock is due to the unwillingness of men to wind the thing up every evening; and now they have clocks that will run a year.
The coat-shirt is the triumph of laziness too great to put the garment on over one's head, in the good old style.
It is to almighty laziness we owe the ocean liner, the electric telegraph, the baby wagon, the buggy spring, Cook's tours, the shoe-horn and the works of Mark Twain.
It is told of the last named that when he worked in a newspaper office he would pay the office boy a nickel to sweep around him so that he would not have to take his feet off the table.
If everybody was an earnest and toiling little Willie that just ate up work and loved to employ every moment in useful energy, we should lapse into barbarism.
It is because the race is so blamed trifling and shiftless that it forges ahead.