Douglas Adams lives on beyond his trilogy in five parts, in newsrooms everywhere, their walls, clocks, support beams, computer monitors, coffee pots and mugs, and I am sure the occasional tattoo emblazoned with and giving voice to his quote, “I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.”

A deadline nearly whooshed by me today. Not for an important assignment, like a white paper or needs assessment or getting my boss some Chick-fil-A for breakfast, but for transforming from a soggy, sweaty wreck to office appropriate gent. It was a close call, dear readers. Close and soggy.

Here are my calculations. It takes 31 minutes to reach my office by the most direct route of 3.6 miles at my typical pace (without traffic, 26-27 minutes). It takes me 30-40 minutes in the summer to cool down, cease sweating and make myself daisy fresh. We are expected to be AIS by 8:30 a.m.

This is a critical time of which to be aware. Do some test runs to determine how much time these factors require. Add them up and you get maybe 70 minutes. Count them back from your ultimate deadline and your schedule aligns thus:

7:20 a.m. – depart home
7:51 a.m. – arrive at work, cool down, clean up
8:30 a.m. – ass in seat

I was out the door today at 7:20 a.m. sharp but my choices conspired to delay me.

I decided to stop by Lo-town’s en route, adding half a mile to my run. She was still awake after her night shift, so I gave (not lost) time to visiting. Leaving, I was stung by a bee: no impact on the story or time line, just color. My legs felt spry, so I threw on another half mile, in stubborn defiance of the 100-degree heat index-to-be, and detoured through Little Five Points.

Just over a mile and a half from work, I glanced at my watch: oh, Moses, that is not good. So I put on the speed. If you saw a 6’4″ man with long hair, short-shorts and a backpack barreling wild-eyed and sopping wet down Edgewood Avenue this morning, there is a one-in-four chance it was me.

Backfire: I arrived with plenty of time but was sweating more profusely than ever. With the aid of two fans, a towel, baby wipes and talcum powder, I got it under control, then grabbed my soap and headed for the restroom to wash up.

Amazingly, I was back in my office by 8:33 a.m., fresh and dry, smelling of roses and lotions, and none the wiser for my nearly-missed deadline. Because no one else arrived until 8:50 a.m. Damn: that would have left plenty of time for another half mile.

So, how ’bout it: any tips for calculating and meeting your deadlines?