Lately I’ve let the slacker part of my life lapse into disrepair and dysfunction. Too much work, too little time honing my techniques of sloth. I just don’t goof off as well as I used to.

It’s bad when you look at your golf clubs and don’t recognize them. Whose driver is this? Is this my wedge? Surely that’s not my putter. I can no longer picture myself wearing golf spikes, just like I can’t see myself in a convertible. It’s sad.

Inertia, uselessness, torpor and profound mediocrity are like anything else in life: Practice makes perfect. But if you’re always scampering off to work, or grinding in the cubicle, or doing stuff just because “it’s your job” and “they pay you a salary,” to cite a couple of popular tropes, then you’re going to lose your slacker edge.

There was a time when I could smoke a stogie on the porch to beat the band. But now, I go to the cigar box, there’s not a single cigar in it except for this thing that looks paleontological. I mean it looks like the femur of an extinct creature. I don’t want to smoke it, I want to donate it to science.

There comes a point in life in which a man needs to own, among other things, a hot tub. But I’ve passed that point. I look at a hot tub and see all kinds of mechanical, plumbing, electrical, hydrological and thermodynamic problems waiting to erupt. It’s beyond my skill set to be a hot tub owner. I’m at the very limit of my technological prowess to handle a bathtub. (But I rock the bathtub.)

The one thing I got going for me now is the yard, which has been subdued, its flora brought to heel under my unassailable dominion [sentence under construction]. This year I went long on mulch and may keep going in that direction, until the entire yard is buried in it, the house embedded in mulch up to the second floor.

Because you see, once you’ve mulched up a storm, you can kick back, and relax. You can do nothing. You can be a zero. The mulch is your leverage in life. Someone tries to speak to you as you sit on the porch, you say, “Shhhh! Listen.” Yes, there it is, faint but unmistakable: The sound of mulch, working....