You know what deadlines are like? They're like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
I know what you're thinking. (Yes, I do. Because you are now busy spouting every line from Ghostbusters, because of course you love that movie almost as much as I do. To which I say, "We'd like to get a sample of your brain tissue.")
You're thinking, whoa, time out there, Fletch. The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man is a giant, lumbering paranormal monster that wreaks havoc on New York City at the climax of a cheesy movie that first appeared almost thirty years ago. What on earth does it have to do with deadlines? To which I say, thirty YEARS? How the heck can it have been thirty YEARS since –
Oops. I digress.
In any case, I am convinced that the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man is indeed the perfect metaphor for a deadline. The SPMM, as we shall refer to him to save my typing fingers, appears in the movie in three different places. Yeah, you thought he only showed up after Ray Stantz latched onto his image when the Ghostbusters are ordered to choose the form which Gozer the Sumerian will assume. In fact, he appears twice before then – once on a bag of marshmallows when Dana Barrett's eggs decide to cook themselves on her counter, and again in a graffiti advertisement beside the Ghostbuster's headquarters. He's been there all along, the sneaky little devil, looking so common. So cute and cuddly. So … manageable.
I think you can see where I'm going with this. For yes, when deadlines first appear on the horizon, they often seem harmless. Almost like something we remember from our childhood. Something that could never ever destroy us. Then suddenly, without us ever realizing what has happened, they're upon us – lumbering through our lives, wreaking havoc with our sleep patterns, stomping churches...
Okay, maybe not the churches. But there's no denying that by the time deadlines are in front of us, they are just as huge and overwhelming and capable of leaving us terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought. However, as we all know, the door swings both ways. It's only when we look those deadlines in the face and find the courage to cross the streams – to toss our fears aside and put everything we have into our work – that we can emerge victorious. We might have been slimed, we might feel possessed, we might qualify for a guest appearance on Wild Kingdom, but we will emerge. Victorious. Possibly covered in roasted marshmallow fluff, but definitely victorious. We came, we saw, we kicked it's ass.
And then we celebrate with a Twinkie (thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds) and do it all over again.
(*Yes, I know. That line is from Monty Python, and it really should be the Spanish Inquisition, but come on. It works.)