A danger lurks at every corner. A danger we may not recognize or even know exists. It comes to steal productivity, damage our free time, and interrupt our hard earned rest. I’m talking about that notorious verb – to dink.
The verb dink (as I prefer to use it) comes from the sport of tennis and refers to a soft shot that drops just over the net. It isn’t a power shot that rockets the ball towards the opponent, or a cleverly placed volley shot that skips just inside fair play and then bounces out of reach. If you dink the ball, you hit it lightly over then net with little energy barely keeping the ball in play. This, of course, forces your opponent to rush forward and struggle for a shot before the ball is dead. Somewhere in the 1930’s this verb became symbolic of light action, or action without purpose.
Dinking means to fiddle around at unimportant things or waste time with light purposeless action. Dinking isn’t work, because work, by definition, is the effort expended with a specific purpose or result. Dinking isn’t rest, because rest, by definition, is the act of refraining from work or activity. Dinking isn’t exercise or sport (unless you “dink” the ball during your tennis game), because sports have rules and objectives. Dinking is not a hobby, because hobbies are something done during leisure time for pleasure. Dinking does not fit any of those definitions. Dinking is dangerous because it does not further our work, enhance our rest, or improve our exercise. It simply dinks.
Thanks to a variety of electronic devices, we have become professional at the art of dink in our day. We sit in front of the TV with no particular show in mind, pick up the remote, and began changing through the innumerable channels available in search of something captivating. Usually we find changing the channels more captivating than the content on the channel itself, so we dink away our leisure time without actually doing anything of leisure.
The computer is the perfect dinking tool. These marvels of technology come loaded with superfluous games to while away the time in between answering meaningless emails. When we are done racking up a new high score on World of Witchcraft or Somewhereville, we can dink the day away answering emails about free credit scores, magazine offers, regrowing hair, electronic cigarettes, and online sites to help our love life.
Of course the Internet is the ultimate dinker’s paradise. Online videos, chat rooms, blogs, games, social networks, twits, forums, misinformation, editorial content, and various other free sources of infotainment combine to form a veritable dinker’s black hole that pulls you into its grasp never to release you until your productive time has long been spent.
Earnest Hemingway said, “The time to work is shorter all the time and if you waste it you … have committed a sin for which there is no forgiveness.” Of course I found that quote while I was dinking around on the Internet with no intended purpose. I guess I will seek forgiveness in the next life.
Now, what are you doing dinking around on my blog? Get back to work!