Lesson #8: Don't Waste the Garbage Time ("No Bare Feet and Other Lessons From the Caddie Yard")

Sep 03, 2023 by Mike Magluilo
Lesson: #8: Don’t Waste the Garbage Time 

Tom Petty said the waiting is the hardest part

We’re hard-wired to detest wasting time on slow drivers, doctor offices, delayed flights and checkout lines. As an impulsive teenager terrified of being alone with the thoughts in his head, sitting around the caddie shack hoping to get picked for a loop was torture.

Thank God for smartphones. Scrolling social media, ordering ahead, and playing Solitaire have rescued us from having to wait for satisfaction. 

At some point during my days as a young “B Caddie,” I looked to the older caddies for ideas of how to survive slow summer mornings. 

Some slept, some read, others socialized over games of H-O-R-S-E or dice. A few snuck off to get stoned and plenty quit. One kid even set-up a bench press in a corner of the cart garage.

The caddies who stuck around taught me how to get comfortable with delayed gratification and waste time productively. 

I still get frustrated when factors outside my control keep me from getting what I want in the moment. Instead of letting the junk time go to waste, however, I try to find satisfaction in the waiting. 

For example...
  • There’s no better place to have quality conversations with my sons than when I have them trapped on long, boring car rides;
  • I’ve never been more informed than when reading (or listening to) news or books during daily commutes;
  • Airplanes are my most productive places to get office work done; and
  • Waiting on edits from my publisher gives me the opportunity to pre-market my book, practice my writing skills, and sketch ideas for a second novel.

I could have quit my caddie job for one that didn’t waste my time. An hourly job stocking shelves would have dictated when to arrive, and my tasks would have been clearly defined and predictable. 

Instead I stuck with a job that taught me to be comfortable with uncertainty and boredom and reframe junk time as free time.

This reframing is about more than semantics. It’s about taking responsibility, seizing the moment, and not letting factors outside your control keep you from choosing to make something out of nothing. 

Petty also said don’t let it kill you baby, don’t let it get to you

Junk time is a waste. Free time is an opportunity…to explore an idea, think through a problem, nurture a relationship, or develop a hobby. 

Learn the difference between wasting garbage time and investing in free time, and you might also discover, like Petty, how to live like [you] wanna live now.