Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll has some advice in the self-help department. She urges us to HARNESS THE POWER OF PROCRASTINATION!

While I generally did my homework in a timely fashion in high school, in college I took procrastination “up a notch,” as Emeril would say. How well I remember Finals Week the first quarter of my freshman year. It turns out – for an historic first time in college history — I had emphasized my social life over academics and had neglected to keep up with my reading for two reading-intensive classes. I had to read 4,000 pages of material in four days. Ah, to be 18 again, able to stay awake for 96 straight hours! AND absorb an astonishing amount of drivel from the Sociology books in a state of semi-delirium. Heck, I didn’t even drink coffee yet.

The last time I hung an all-nighter was about eight years ago standing in the ammo line at Walmart all night to snag a 1000-round box of .22s. Took me DAYS to recover. But I got the ammo!

But at that stage of my brain’s life, I had a semi-photographic memory where I could skim a page and picture its contents when I closed my eyes. Which made me a very good test-taker. Now, sadly, my brain is a Magic Slate where I can read a factoid, and 30 seconds later have no idea what it said, or even what the topic was. Where was I? Oh, yeah, back to college…

At first, assignments like essays and term papers would be typed on my Smith Corona manual typewriter no earlier than a day or two before the deadline. Then that seemed too compulsive when a person could simply stay up all night playing cards, crank it out at 3:00 a.m., and snatch the last page out of the typewriter just in time to make it to the class where it was due.

In my junior year, in a Psychology class in which the term paper was 60 percent of your grade, I anticipated the Eagles’ mega-hit “Take It To The Limit” and turned it in not at the BEGINNING of the class, but ran to the lecture hall at 8:45 for my 8 o’clock class, snuck in, and turned the paper in at the END of the class. It was perhaps my finest procrastination achievement up to that time, eclipsed many times since.

Oddly enough, when I had chosen this topic, I picked up my weekly checkout counter magazine, Women’s World (Motto: “Proudly catering to overweight hypochondriacs for over 15 years!”). And right there on page 2 was the following joke (paraphrased):

A tough professor told his huge lecture class that tests would be turned in IMMEDIATELY when he called “Time!” — no exceptions. The exam proceeded and he called time. Everyone turned in his or her paper but one young lady. She took an extra sixteen seconds to fill out a last answer. He told her he would not accept the paper. Outraged, she asked, “Do you know who I AM?” He said he did not. “Good!” she said as she rushed his desk, stuck the paper in the middle of the big pile, and ran out.

Isn’t that a great joke? Of course, this level of procrastination only works with the Liberal Arts course offerings, even though this was long before Gender Studies, Feminist Studies, Black Studies, Madonna Studies, Studies Studies, and the like. In my European Fiction class, we had to read about 20 books, serious books by Thomas Mann, Marcel Proust, and Andre Gide. But, it could not be done with a foreign language, Math or Science. No way can you learn French in the last four days of a quarter. Evidently. And I took virtually no Math or Science.

When I got married after my junior year, my mother organized a nice bridal shower for me in absentia with the ladies I had known my whole life and they kindly provided most of the items that Joe and I owned. After a June wedding, the thank-you notes for these life-saving items were out within 4-6 weeks, which Emily Post said was “on time,” since the social class she was advising was just back from their extended Continental honeymoon in that timeframe.

However, a handful of thank-you notes did not get out until Christmas. Two things were responsible for that. As the weeks went by, I thought, “It’s been THIS long, I might as well write Thank You Christmas cards and save a stamp.” Also, the last four or five items I had no idea what they were. You can’t just say, “Thank you so much for the lovely heavy blue glass item which may be a candy dish, or possibly an ashtray. It was just what we wanted.” Or, “We sure are grateful for those shrimp forks or fishing lures. Some day we hope to make enough money either to purchase shrimp or at least bait. Your thoughtfulness was much appreciated.”

Many decades later, a wedding was an occasion for a most felicitous bout of procrastination. A nameless relative on Joe’s side got married and we were definitely obligated to send a card with some money in it to The Happy Couple. We all know what the Road to Hell is paved with, and this was no exception. For many weeks I “intended” to get ‘er done. On the very day that I bought the card and got out the checkbook – no joke, man! – we heard from the groom’s father that the marriage had already fallen apart and divorce was imminent. Whew!

Which brings me to a bit of cheery news. A disappointingly small number of people have asked me, “Susan, you have compiled your columns into books for years 1 through 7, but where the heck are 8 and 9?” To those eager readers, I am happy to announce that I have COMBINED both Years 8 and 9 into a single largish book called Double Tap. It is a Best Of compilation where I culled a few columns from 2021 and 2022 that I thought were not quite up to “snuff.” “Only the very best snuff for my devoted readers” is my motto.

In my defense, dear readers, we had the two years of COVID catastrophe, the disastrous 2020 election, and the subsequent nightmare. There were several minor and a couple of fairly major health events in our immediate family, plus the death of my beloved Papa. Frankly, it put me in a place of lethargy and depression from which I am still recovering. Hey, at least I was able to keep up with the weekly columns, even if I wasn’t able to collect them into books.

But now I have! Every recording artist worth his or her salt eventually puts out a “Best Of” CD. And Double Tap is in that fine tradition.

As they say in late night ads, “But, wait! There’s more!” Famous novelist Max Cossack has his second audiobook — Zarah’s Fire — out and available from Amazon very soon. But he also has a most charming little novelette called Naima’s Fire featuring your favorite characters from The Wilder Bunch. Just $6.99 from Amazon (and $5.00 at Commenter-Con), it is priced to move! So you can see that by Susan’s Shopping Logic it makes a lot of sense to fly to Mesa, rent a hotel room for three days and pay $200 as a registration fee in order to “save” that $1.99. Why, I do things like that all the time!

Max is also hard at work on a whole new novel in which he has killed off all your favorite characters from his previous 7 books. Haha. April Fool! (It is actually April 1 when I am writing this…) No, seriously, it’s the great old gang back for his Book 8. He is trying his best to keep political parody and cultural observations AHEAD of the mind-boggling real-life antics of the Biden Crime Family, the Swamp Creatures, and the Davos Crowd, but it ain’t easy.

The eBooks and paperbacks are available on Amazon. And paperbacks available at Commenter-Con April 23, 24, 25 in sunny Mesa, AZ. Or you can order the paperback directly from the authors at and receive the special 20% Powerline Discount. Just enter PLDISCOUNT (all CAPS, one word) at checkout. So don’t procrastinate! Order these 3 items today. While you’re still allowed to own them.

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