Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Third Deadline

There are two kinds of deadlines, those you set for yourself, and those set for you.

The ones you set for yourself often have some specific time and goal set about in the literary equivalent of a linear accelerator, whirling them into a spin that will end in collision.

There are numerous age-related deadlines as in an income of X dollars by age Y; being published in any form by A age, in book form by B age. That sort of thing. I had one age related deadline I'd set for myself: Being paid to return to New York for something related to publishing. Missed by just under a year, which was acceptable.

The goals set for you involve your need to have something ready for delivery on or before a specified date. An inveterate procrastinator on such deadlines, I have vivid and varied memories of such deadlines. The one I have for tomorrow was amazingly met less than half an hour ago, leaving me with a mixture of uncertainty and a slight tinge of regret. Meeting deadlines as a result of super-adrenal, coffee-driven intensity seems so a part of the process that I am still evaluating the sense of calm. Perhaps it isn't such a bad way after all, being ahead of the deadline.

Of course there is a third kind of deadline. Were I not to mention it, one of you would There is the time-bomb (bombs) deadline life has set for you, the ultimate being the one in which Life has the last word because it is for you The deadline, the delivery date for your Life. In October of 2003, Alex Koper, M.D. delivered a deadline, the result of which was an appearance by you on December 8 of that year. This deadline required nothing written from you, simply an acknowledgment that a portion of your body was forfeit for a greater good. Seemed like a good bargain at the time. As time progressed, the bargain continued to increase in value to the point where you rarely think about the consequences of not having met the deadline, rarely dwell on the point of collision between you and the cancer cells or, indeed, the so-called floater cells that might have been circulating their own deadlines within your landscape.

There are any number of these third deadlines burbling along in your slipstream, deadlines brought on by the aging process, deadlines brought along by your sense of the way the world and the universe are unfolding about you. It is definitely your plan now to regard these third-type deadlines as you have so frequently regarded first- and second- stage deadlines, with a last minute tantivy, a stay-up-all-night, blaze-it-through approach bordering on but not lapsing into arrogance, because where deadlines are concerned and most other things, you are not arrogant but instead impudent.

Impudence is your equivalent of a tartan plaid, it and enthusiasm take you to these meetings with Fate that you set or others set for you. From all the available tools in all the available catalogs of useful, those seem best to fit such basic Swiss Army devices as curiosity and love.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ack. Deadlines. I sacrifice sleep and tv and nights out for the ultimate deadline. I know I can't get it all written, but I'd like to get as far as possible.

Wild Iris said...

My grandfather has similar "deadlines" floating about right now. You will be in my thoughts, Shelly.

Squirrel said...

The last deadline, unthinkable for most of us until it is upon us, a shock at any age.