PROCRASTINATION is the thief of time, says a wise proverb. But these days you need skill to be a good thief, which you need to learn. So it follows that procrastination, wasting time, also needs education. So, again, it is in the fitness of things American that a US university should offer a course teaching it. This is the University of Pennsylvania, where its department of English, a prestigious Ivy League college, is offering its students a course titled “Wasting Time on the Internet”.
And it seems students learning it cannot afford to waste time, as they will have to brave not a few academic rigours. For they will be asked to “stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat-rooms, social media” and so on. As if this is not enough of studious boredom, they will also be required to “explore the long history of time-wasting” by reading books on the subject by writers and “theorists”. Good God ! Satiricus—an acknowledged expert at boring his readers to death—had no idea that being bored was such an educative experience. So how about introducing this advanced American area of knowledge into India? But there would be a major problem. Where are the Indian writers’ books that could be used as study material? Why, forget books on boredom, Satiricus cannot think of even short but suitably boring write-ups—except this column.