laziest man in history

Once upon a time there was a lazy man, the laziest man in history. His name was Henry Peter Gaines. He was so lazy that he couldn’t even bother to do the things he enjoyed doing like eating and watching television because it was just too much effort. He was so lazy that he found it an ordeal to do nothing but mooch around the house all day long in his dirty underpants munching pistachio nuts and quaffing fizzy drinks.

As well as being lazy (some would say because of being lazy) he was also very bored. So bored that on weekends and holidays he could think of nothing better to do than to sleep.

Every Friday night, for instance, Henry would go to bed around nine, nine thirty. He would wake up around eight on Saturday morning, doze in bed for an hour or two, then get up and shuffle to the toilet. After that, he would either go back to bed, or make himself a cup of tea then try and decide how to spend the day.

“What do you feel like doing?” He would ask himself. “Play with the dog? Nah, he’s got his own stuff to do. Read a book? Nah, nothing worth reading. Listen to some music. Nah, heard it all before.”

Most times he would get back into bed, pull the covers over his head, and lose himself in slumberous repose. He slept most of the time---it was easier that way. On the odd occasion if he was feeling particularly energetic he would sit on the sofa and doze in front of the television for a couple of hours, then get back into bed for an afternoon nap.

During the week, he would turn up late for work, spend most of the time goofing off, leave early, contribute the bare minimum. Mondays were the worst. Colleagues would ask, “did you have a nice weekend Henry, what did you get up to?” And he, embarrassed and furtive, would fumble a reply, “ah you know, the usual…” (ie nothing).

On really bad days when sleep would not come, he would stumble from room to room of the crappy little apartment, trying to think of something to do, something to occupy the long slow hours stretching to eternity. (Something to eat? Nah… too hard to get it together. Watch a bit of TV? Nah… don’t feel like it. Walk up to the shop and buy something? Nah… too hot, too tired.)

It might have been manageable if he hadn’t been such a whingeing loudmouth about it: “I’m so bored…” he would moan, “…so depressed …nothing to do…” .

Over the years things progressed from bad to worse. Eventually Henry wouldn’t or couldn’t get out of bed at all. He actually lived in his bed---eat, drank, slept, crapped and pissed in that godforsaken bed.

By that stage he was married, which was lucky for him. For very peculiar if not unfathomable reasons his wife, Darla, loved him to bits and looked after his every need---dotingly, obsessively, unceasingly---including his ‘personal needs’ shall we say. She made it her mission in life to satisfy Henry’s every whim, (not that he had many whims, it took too much effort).

Anyway, over the long years they ended up manufacturing two kids, Boris and Doris, who grew up hardly ever seeing their father, because he was always sleeping, or dozing, or resting: in his bedroom, the lounge, the TV room, or wherever he happened to be. Aside from dragging himself into work on at least two out of five weekday mornings, he hardly ever left the house. He never took a stroll in his own backyard, for instance.

Towards the end, when he was living 24/7 in bed, every Sunday morning Darla would insert the vacuum cleaner hose extension between the sheets to suck out all the accumulated rubbish of the week. Basically dried shit and piss and bits and pieces of food, to be blunt.

What killed him? You could say a whole range of things, including heart, lungs, liver and kidney failure. But the root cause, the prime causal factor if you like, was stress-inducing boredom brought on by extreme laziness.

When he died they erected a statue in his honour in the middle of the octagonal pond at the northern end of the Plaza facing a seedy entrance to premises habitually frequented by those preferring to remain unidentified.

On a plinth in the base of the statue were inscribed these words:

“Nothing much remains of Henry Peter Gaines
a man of little worth and even less of brains
now that he’s dead, and out of bed
the linen is quite free of stains.”

Copyright © S R Schwarz 2007. All rights reserved.

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