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Beating the Clock
by Jackie Cooper

Years and years ago there was a show on television called “Beat the Clock.” On it the contestants had a series of events in which they participated. They had to complete certain tasks before the clock ran out on them. They would run races or do other stunts, and all the while the clock ticked ominously toward the final hour. If they beat the clock they won prizes; if they didn’t, they lost it all.

Some days I feel I am a contestant on “Beat the Clock.” I don’t know how old I was when it dawned on me that a life span is finite, but it did dawn on me and the countdown began. I realized I only had a limited amount of time allotted to get things done that I want to accomplish. There are obstacles that could arise to prevent me from doing these things such as illness and loss of my facilities . . . and so I race to get them done.

What brought this to mind was my son asking me the other day when I was going to write my novel. I have said I was going to write a book about my life but it had to wait until after my stepmother died. The book will be a fictional account but it will deal with the problems I encountered growing up. I have been talking about this forever, but he reminded me my stepmother has died and I should get started on it.

He then asked me how long it would take me to write the book, and I answered quickly that it would probably take years and years. He looked at me like I was crazy and then added that I had better get started. And I guess I had.

Now I haven’t started this “Beat the Clock” thing just because I have gotten older, I have been this way all my life – or at least most of it. I have always felt I have to be doing something, have to be accomplishing something. That is why I am so miserable on vacations. I don’t like dead time.

My wife and I had a discussion about this. She likes having time to de-stress and chill out. To me that is like dog paddling in the ocean. If you are going to swim, swim! I don’t like idle time. I like to have goals to accomplish and things to do. That is why I am a list maker. I write down things I have to do and then check them off as I get them done. Now, some people make lists of things for other people to do. Not me, I make my own list.

It doesn’t matter if you are ten, twenty, thirty, forty or older, you are in a race against the clock if you have things you want to accomplish. Life is finite and the end could come at any time. That is not being fatalistic; that is being realistic.

I am a planner and I have things I want to accomplish. Of course I keep revising my list and adding to it. I think that is what keeps life interesting and fun. I will still go on vacations from time to time as my family seems to enjoy them, but for me the fun of life is in the race. I just hope my clock is set for many, many years in the future.


Jackie K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia. He is the married father of two sons and the proud grandparent of a boy and a girl.

He is familiar to people living in the middle Georgia area as the "entertainment man" since his entertainment reviews run in newspapers and are shown on television there. His short stories have also been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio.

Cooper has lived an exceptionally interesting life. Portions of it were contained in his first book JOURNEY OF A GENTLE SOUTHERN MAN. Now the journey continues in his second book titled CHANCES AND CHOICES.

Write Jackie Cooper at this e-mail address
and be sure to visit his excellent web site: jackiekcooper.com.

~Read more of Jackie's stories at USADEEPSOUTH~
Alzheimer's: The value of humor
Jackie White
Online Dating
Finding Your Face
In Praise of Red-Headed Girls
Fear Itself
Men and Their Automobiles
It's All About Me!
Moments of Memories
Walking Tall
Never Too Old To Hurt


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