816 North

David Knopf -- When it comes to laziness, there’s nobody more efficient

Information on the art my father Frank hung in his office is harder to find than I thought it would be.

Frank E. Knopf, CPA, was a great kidder — a defense mechanism I’ve inherited and wield against threats real and imagined — so I understand why he’d have this picture on the wall.

Best I can recall, it depicted a man at a desk in front of a wall covered by charts, graphs and equations. He was doing some high-level calculating in the service of efficiency. I think it was called “The Efficiency Expert.”

Ironically, it makes sense that my father, a man who worked with numbers and valued precision, would want to poke fun at efficiency. In his view, anyone who espoused


and pictured himself as an expert deserved to be lampooned.

The art — I remember it as a drawing — looked like it might be from a decade between 1930 and 1950. But even my good friend, the multifaceted, all-knowing Mr. Google, couldn’t help me find it.

Maybe Mr. G has an associate I’m not aware of, a Mr. Art or Ms. Office Art, I should consult.

The Efficiency Expert continues to pop in my head to illustrate a conflict that exists between two opposites in my makeup — a person at once efficiency-prone and exercise-challenged.

I know people like nothing more than to be reassured by someone else’s weaknesses, and I’m no different. Mine is Laziness.

We’ll get to Stupidity, Sentimentality and Self-Centeredness — the Three Somewhat-Fatal Sins —some other time.

I am about as lazy as our cat Bunzy, except I don’t sleep 22 hours a day or whine when I have to walk over for a treat. This may be why the big boy’s hauling some extra pounds.

Pop, I hope you’ll forgive me, but I’m a bit of a natural Efficiency Expert myself and seem to instinctually take the fewest steps to do anything. I don’t need to sit at a desk with charts and graphs to illustrate that.

Finding the fewest steps — in a literal sense — does me a big disservice when it comes to exercise, which I define as doing anything I don’t want to. That includes walking up the stairs twice instead of once to carry my guitar, my coffee, a Diet Pepsi, the newspaper and some laundry.

A perverse genetic strain instructs me to make the fewest trips possible. And as my wife would generously point out, I tend to leave a coffee trail wherever I go.

Were CSI investigating me they’d have to send out for extra evidence bags.

As you can guess, being at once efficient and lazy has had a negative effect on my desire to keep off extra poundage.

Make one trip up the stairs, let’s say, and you burn X calories. Make two trips and you burn 2X calories, minus whatever miniscule value the lighter load takes away.

I do sit-ups, stretches and some weighted ball exercises every morning, but as far as going on a for-exercise walk, bike ride or trip to the gym, you can forget it.

I prefer to get my exercise in the course of daily events. I suppose this is a victory for the efficiency-prone over the exercise-challenged, a constructive knuckleball of self-deception.

If that’s not efficient, I don’t know what is. It’s like killing two birds with one stone. The cat would like it, but only if the birds were delivered.