By Jeffrey Hoodaman
Stephen Goldstein, a 46-year-old Chicago-area office manager, has a problem. Despite being a loving father and a successful bussinessman, he is notorious among those who know him for being late to everything. Goldstein was late to his own bar mitzvah service, missed his high school graduation, and hit the snooze button all the way through the birth of his oldest son. “I had a problem, I’ll admit it,” Goldstein told me in an interview conducted in his home. “I needed help.”
However, Goldstein has completely turned his life around by setting all his clocks ten minutes fast to combat his tendency of being late for things. “I know myself,” Goldstein laughed as he explained his strategy for timeliness
to me. “I have this horrible tendency to dilly-dally. No matter how much I try to be on time, I always end up being a couple minutes late. So the other day, I realized that if I set all my clocks ten minutes ahead of time, it would seem like I was going to be late when I would actually be on time, or maybe even early! Victory!”
As I sat with Goldstein on a park bench, I wondered whether, in knowing that all his clocks were ten minutes
ahead, he might simply take ten extra minutes before doing what he had to do. I pondered the stupidity of a person for whom this method would be helpful. Only people too dim to remember that they are trying to trick themselves would ever do something so asenine. Instead of imitating a mindless trick most likely picked up from some obnoxiously spunky friend, it would make sense to just, you know, be on time for things. Like, come on, are you serious? That actually works for you? You really get out of bed because your clock is set late? Man, you shouldn’t even be in public right now. You should be home making “aminals” out of Play-Do, with your mom over your shoulder to make sure you don’t try to eat it.
“Oh no, it’s 3:15. And I have a meeting at 3:15… I’m late! I hope I’m not missing anything important!” Goldstein
exclaimed worriedly, jumping up and running towards the parking lot.
By Jeffrey Hoodaman