Now that March is upon us, I’m guessing there are a fair number of folks out there who are trying to forget that they ever made that one, really tough, New Year’s resolution.

You know the one I’m talking about. It might be hidden behind a vague intention to “try to be nicer.” Or perhaps it’s crouching ashamed between a brace of healthy indulgences, like “I’ll stick to lite beer this year” and “I will sleep in till noon every Sunday.”

Yep, I’m talking about The Big One. The one that darts out to bite you when you settle down to watch I Love Lucy reruns or load your favourite computer game. It might be the resolution that you didn’t make last year because you’d failed so often before. That would sound something like “I’m really going to quit smoking this year,” or “Perhaps I ought to get back in touch with so-and-so.”

But you never quite did get around to it, did you? It’s time that you looked in the mirror and admitted it; you are one of “them” — a bona fide, card-carrying, true-blue, never-say-die, dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator.

Procrastinator?” you ask. “Me?”

That’s right. It’s the big “P” word, and it’s been stewing inside you for ages. In fact, it’s about time you admitted it to yourself. You might just want to shout it from the rooftops, if only to help get used to the idea. Embrace the truth and move on.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Procrastination is seen as a failing (if not an active vice). And “procrastinator” does sound enough like the dreaded “M” word that sloppy moralists sometimes lump practitioners of both ancient arts together — as if the one somehow led to the other!

While there may be superficial similarities, conflating the two is what philosophers call a category mistake. It’s true that few of us choose to exaggerate either trait in the “Interests & Hobbies” section of our resumés; nor do we tend to dwell upon them when eulogizing departed loved ones. Further, I must concede that masturbation and procrastination are both “victimless” crimes.

But there is a crucial difference: the procrastinator isn’t doing much of anything, so how can he be accused of doing anything wrong? Desultory inaction trumps active wickedness any day. It is the dedicated procrastinator, not the medical practitioner, who most truly lives up to that ancient motto: “First, do no harm.”

In today’s complex and interconnected world, that’s no mean accomplishment. Consider some of history’s most despicable villains: from Genghis Khan to Hitler, Pol Pot to the Prince of Darkness, you will not find a single procrastinator in the lot. They were doers and go-getters, plotters and pillagers, highly motivated self-starters who kept their appointment books up to date  chock full of misdeeds and transgressions.

If you read the funny papers, you may have noticed that contemporary cartoon characters display the same tendencies. Take Georgie Porgie for example. (Not the one who kissed the girls; the one determined to bomb, burn, shoot, starve, raze and steal from an entire population of real people in Iraq.) The truth is, he’s gonna do it because, by gum, he said he’s gonna do it. To hell with anyone else’s resolutions!

Seen in this light, a little failure goes a long way. So take a deep drag on that cigarette and make sure you really enjoy it. You can always tell that rotten ex of yours to give back your cat some other day. In fact, all that getting-your-life-in-order stuff can wait until tomorrow — after you stop the war against Iraq.

Apply this logic liberally to a host of other problems, and you might manage to save the world yet.