While growing up, Mack was an extremely active kid, and she sacrificed an enormous amount of her personal time and freedom participating in competitive sports. She enthusiastically and willingly made that sacrifice, but it made her a very practiced and determined lover of her infrequent lazy days. Mack took her limited free time very seriously. She redefined what it meant to relax, she took literally her declarations to “do nuttin,’” and she really did know how to let it all hang out. Mack earned her leisure time and, mostly, I was content to let her waste away much of her quiet down time. But it is absolutely true that sometimes the greatness of her sloth terrified me.
Let me paint a typical scene in Mack’s room on one of her famous Mack-lazy days: The curtains are drawn, and the room is dark. Mack is wearing baggy sweatpants (likely without underwear), and she is flat on her back on a bed crowded with clothes, her book bag, a sweaty basketball jersey, and maybe even a pair of her favorite cheap flip-flops. There is a dog stretched out next to her. On a pillow, which she is partly sharing with the dog, her head is propped up just enough so that she can chew and swallow without choking and can see the screen of her laptop, which sits across her pelvis. Warhead sour candies and Miss Vickie’s jalapeño chips or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are scattered about, and an open 32-oz bottle of blue Gatorade is balanced precariously at her waist. Her lips are blue, and there are crumbs on her face and her fingers. She is watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air, or Sponge Bob, or Parks and Recreation. She is chewing and chortling and texting with two or three friends. When I interrupt Mack’s blissful laziness to ask a question or to say hello, she answers with a belch or a grunt; and then she cheerfully shoos me out the door by waving her hand in my face.
I was outwardly horrified by these Mack-lazy scenes that I witnessed so frequently over the years, but I secretly wished that I was capable of achieving such nirvana in my own life. For sure, Mack knew how to power lounge like nobody’s business. It was as if she was making up for all of the leisure time she sacrificed along the way. It was like she supposed that in order to be productive in life one also has to know what it feels like to accomplish absolutely nothing at all.
I think that excessive inertia (if that is even a thing), junk food eaten in bed, and mindless television was Mack’s not-so-secret recipe for refueling her soul on the lazy days so she could better face the busy days. Since Mack had way more busy days than lazy ones, I was content to let her practice her particular brand of recuperative medicine. And, who knows, maybe it was exactly those Mack-lazy days that made my girl ever content and ever cheerful, so well-balanced and calm, always patient and sweet. Maybe if we each practiced a little of Mack’s crazy-lazy medicine, we could all be as easy and gentle as she was.