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Michael Feldman is the creator and host of Public Radio International's popular quiz show Whad'Ya Know?, which originates from his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. He is also the author of Glad You Asked, Wisconsin Curiosities, Thanks for the Memos, and Something I Said?: Innuendo and Out the Other.
Excerpt from Whad'Ya Know?
Whad'Ya Know About People?
Statistics Don't Lie
or Do They?
I know, we're people, not statisticsbut can't we be both? Isn't it somehow reassuring to know that your every habit, behavior, and taste is smack dab in the middle of the mean of everybody else's in your demographic? We are, after all, information that walks, every man Jack and Lady Jane an Encyclopædia (Your Name Here)-ica. Comes a stiff breeze, the pages flip open to reveal:
Confessions of a Workavoidic
I'm a workavoidic, the flip side of the workaholic coin. Homer Simpson is my patron saint. Work has always been a priority for me, just a low one. In order to work at all, I have to trick myself into thinking it's a game, which goes back to my first job at Auto Parts and Service, Inc., where I spent the best part of a working day hiding from the muffler moguls in the tailpipe bin. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was exhausted.
Workavoidics are the paranoids of physical effort. We think people are out to get usto work. And what's worse, for them. Workavoidics are idealistic: the notion of working for "superiors" flies in the face of our democratic ideals. It's not that we're too good to work, it's that we're not good enough. Years ago a guidance counselor (who, I realize now, was a closet workavoidic) diagnosed me as a perfectionist unable to deal with the shoddy work I produced. Torn with inner conflict, I feel compelled to take the afternoon
off and go home to snake the toilet. Beehives of activity give me hives. When I see a guy leaning on a shovel, I want to go over, prop him up with a two-by-four, and shake his hand. George W. Bush had the right idea: five hours a day in the saddle, topsany more and you end up being tied to it. I've thought about forming a support group for workavoidics, but it hardly seems worth the effort. Instead I've put together some tips for fence-sitters who really would like to be sloughing off but haven't gotten around to it.
I call these The Four Shortcuts:
Remember, no one ever got rich through hard work. If you insist on working hard, you do so at your own economic peril.