Doing Nothing

Seth wanted to do nothing, and so did.

He sat on his couch, watching television and eating popcorn. In eating, he realized he was not doing nothing, as he had hoped. He wanted to tell his coworkers that, on his day off, he had done nothing all day.

Seth stopped eating and set the bowl of popcorn down. Sprawled out, he stared at the television until the second realization hit him: he was still doing something.

Seth turned off the television and lay on the couch. He stared at the ceiling. His ceiling was popcorned, little hills and valleys everywhere. But one can only stare at a ceiling so long, and Seth rose to get a book.

He stopped himself, remembering that he was doing nothing today. If his coworkers could do full days of doing nothing, as they claimed, then so could he. Seth lay back on the couch, and looked around.

As he lay there, Seth realized he still wasn’t quite doing nothing. He was lying on a couch. He slid off the couch and tried lying on the floor, but he was still doing something. Seth tried very hard to levitate, but his body wouldn’t rise, and still, he wasn’t doing nothing.

He considered suicide as a means of nothingness, but he wasn’t that committed to telling his coworkers, and the more he thought about it, the more he realized that even that wouldn’t count. He would still be, he would simply be dead.

After much deliberation, then, and a good deal more practice, Seth ceased to exist for a seven-hour period, until midnight of the next morning. His disappearance and reappearance caused ripples in the apartment building, his place of work, his bank, the whole world around him, like a pebble tossed into a bowl of water. But the next day, Seth could proudly say he had done nothing, if not for the whole day previously, at least for part of it.

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