Buckaroo Banzai Does Time Management

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension is a movie from 1984:

Maybe you've seen it. If not, I recommend it. (Mild spoilers ahead.) Buckaroo Banzai is a polymath something after the mold of Derek Flint, equally proficient at brain surgery, rock music, scientific research, and combatting world-threatening evildoers. The movie offers a complex, multilayered, witty story of attempted alien conquest, refreshingly un-dumbed-down. The final seconds promise a sequel which unfortunately never materialized.

Today's report, however, focuses on a single quote from the movie, which I sometimes turn to for solace and encouragement.

Anyone who has reached the age of twenty has had the opportunity to realize that time seems to pass faster and faster as one ages. Going from age ten to age twenty takes far less time than reaching age ten. And, generally speaking, each succeeding decade goes by faster.

Naturally I am interested to see whether this phenomenon can be manipulated or even reversed. This entails understanding the root cause, which not everyone agrees on. I suspect several factors are at play.

One of which being simply that the ratio of time to things-needing-to-be-done tends to be lower for adults than children. As a boy, I recall Sunday afternoons seeming to stretch on forever (not entirely in a good way). As an adult I am never bored. There is always something to do, whether obligatory or not.

I also have the kind of job where random tasks tend to pop up, some with sudden and great urgency. It is not so unusual to face an eight-hour day during which ten hours of work need to be accomplished.

Back to the movie now. At the story's darkest hour, with the minutes ticking away to the destruction of the Earth, and Buckaroo in shackles, undergoing torture worse than death (come on, that's not really a spoiler, is it?), the arch-villain (a delightfully unhinged John Lithgow) taunts him:

Don't you realize what you're doing? Your whole planet's gonna be destroyed and you sit here wasting time.

Banzai's response is the ultimate in cool:

Time? I've got nothing but time.

And it's sheer bravado. The bad guys hold all the cards (for the moment, of course).

I remember this when I'm facing one of those days, buried in crises. I take a breath and tell myself, Time? I've nothing but time. And then it's true.

(Note of interest probably to no one but myself: for many years my imperfect memory misattributed this quote to Indiana Jones in similar circumstances, where it works just as well. My inability to locate the utterance convinced me I had imagined it.)

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