Like vinegar to the teeth and like smoke to the eyes,
so is the sluggard to those who send him.
Maybe it’s just my own narcissism, but it seems that whenever I sit by a campfire, the smoke always comes in my direction. I can stand and observe the direction of the wind and its affect on the smoke from the fire, choose my seat accordingly – then inevitably – the wind will shift and take aim at me. I can get up and move around to a better side of the fire, and yet, somehow, the smoke ends up back in my face.
I don’t particularly like smelling like smoke, but that’s also not that big of a deal. Breathing is nice too, but you can usually cough your way through that. But when the smoke gets in your eyes and it burns – that’s literally a real pain. Of course, the pain usually goes away unless you get an ember in your eyeball. But, generally speaking, you’ll be fine in a minute.
This annoyance is what today’s proverb is speaking about. When you send a sluggard off to do some work, you’re gonna have a bad time. You should just expect to be annoyed. You’ll send him off with a specific set of goals to be accomplished, and he’ll come back having accomplished none or a small portion of them. Mmmm vinegar. Or he’ll come back after completing the task and you’ll discover that it has to be redone. Ahh, the pleasant burn of smoke.
While, yes, the point of this proverb is saying “don’t waste your time hiring a sluggard, it’ll just annoy you” I think it’ also a continued warning to not be the sluggard. Perhaps you haven’t been stimulated into living proverbiously yet, well this is a different kind of motivation. This is the kind of that seeks to draw on your desire to please other people. This plays on your drive to be seen in a certain light.
When you’re a sluggard, you’re going to annoy people. When you’re lazy and don’t do things the right way, but instead just try to get them done the quickest way possible, someone is going to have to come behind you and clean up what you didn’t do well. When your motivation is getting back on the couch ASAP, you’re going to be creating trouble for others.
So, for a bad time – call 1-800-sluggard. (Don’t really call it, I don’t know where that’ll ring…) To give someone a bad time, be a sluggard. Either way, prepare to be annoyed.