STATESIDE STORIES: If I Could Just Get Organized!

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I nibble this, I nibble that/But never finish what I’m at


By Mary Foran

I look at my desk and wonder how it ever got into this state of disaster, with papers everywhere and correspondence still in envelops in shoeboxes used as temporary (permanent) files.

Then I look at my room with closet space at a premium, and clothes draped over the door to the armoire rather than neatly folded inside it, like my dear friend from Asturias Milagros used to do with her clothes when we shared a piso in Madrid. I guess I never learned my lesson from her, and her ORGANIZATION never rubbed off on me!

In fact, most of the Spaniards I knew in my ten years in Spain were very fastidious and organized housekeepers, used to living in small spaces and keeping things neat and tidy. My Spanish brother-in-law was absolutely obsessive with piso cleanliness and my sister Diana became so herself.

My father, a businessman all his life, understood the frustrations of paperwork and keeping things organized, and so, since he recently passed away, I offer his favorite poem for your perusal: If I could just get organized!


There may be nothing wrong with you
The way you live, the work you do
But I can very plainly see
Exactly what is wrong with me
It isn’t that I’m indolent
Or dodging duty by intent
I work as hard as anyone
And, yet, I get so little done
The morning comes, the noon is near
Before I know, the night is here
And all around me, I regret
Are things I haven’t finished yet
With you there may be nothing wrong
But here’s my trouble, right along,
I do the things that don’t amount
To very much of no account
That really seem important though
And let a lot of matters go
I nibble this, I nibble that
But never finish what I’m at
I’d do so much, you’d be surprised
If I could just get organized!

By DOUGLAS MALLOCH (1877 – 1938)