The Watching-Paint-Dry Scale of Task Boringness

by Lincoln Sedlacek

10 – Purely banality
As boring as watching beige paint dry on a smooth wall in a completely silent room, where you are completely paralyzed and are capable of doing nothing but watching. A person who ranks at a 10 on the WPD Scale would require an extinction-level event to wake them from their stupor, after which they would have just enough time to be thankful for the sweet, peaceful oblivion that is death.

9 – Mind-numbingly mundane
Like watching taupe paint dry on a wall with a single irregularity, which provides enough drama to maintain neural activity, but too little drama to stop someone from wishing a porcupine would crawl down their throat just to spice things up a bit.

8 – Lifelessly monotonous
Akin to watching brown-, sand-, or gray-colored paint dry on a wall with one or two cracks running through it. Perhaps the most terrible place to fall on the WPD Scale, as one retains the capacity for human thought well enough to understand how miserable their situation is. A task this boring, while not quelling cranial functions, is still dull enough to make the world’s most talented meditator dissolve into tears.

7 – Tedious
For example, watching paint of any non-vibrant color (like maroon or puce) dry while the muffled sounds of a movie come from the next room. The movie sounds like it could be interesting, but it’s impossible to tell. All that is known is that in another room, people are interested in something, and all you have to occupy yourself is puce.

6 – Slightly unsettlingly boring
Like watching paint dry in an apartment that is slightly less than completely furnished. The TV isn’t working and your phone is dead, and you feel like you should be able to find something interesting to do, but you can’t think of anything that seems worth doing. People ranking at a 6 on the WPD Scale will continue in this way for hours, but will eventually occupy themselves by spending a half-hour deciding where to get take-out from.

5 – Uninteresting
As boring as watching paint dry where the paint also happens to include the text of the technical details for the Maytag Centennial 7.0-Cubic-Foot Gas Dryer. It is possible that a person might find a task ranking at a 5 on the WPD scale to be interesting, but only under very specific circumstances.

4 – Fleetingly engaging
Similar to watching paint dry as a single drop accumulates and dribbles down the wall while an ant desperately crawls away from it, avoiding being trapped within its soon-to-dry liquid mass. It does provide some level of intrigue, but within a minute the ant dies. After a few minutes of considering the fragility of life, the task becomes fully uninteresting once again.

3 – Provocative
A task ranking at a 3 is like watching a paint Rorschach test dry. What was a powerful panther becomes your scolding parents, before they become two French porcupines making love in your refrigerator. This paint would score between 60% and 70% on Rotten Tomatoes as it dries. Still, a viewer would certainly be aware that they could be watching more interesting things, like a live feed of echidnas from French Guiana having sex in a microwave.

2 – Intensely suspenseful
Like watching scarlet paint dry, only the coat that has been applied to the wall is too thick, and now the paint is starting to slowly – glacially, really – dribble down the wall toward the pure-white floor molding. You are powerless to do anything to stop the paint, but you know that Jacob will divorce you if the molding is stained with red in any way. He told you to cover it in painter’s tape, but you didn’t listen to him. Now you can only watch the paint dry – and wonder if your relationship will survive the journey.

1 – Enthralling, miraculous
Comparable to watching paint start to dry, but instead become alive. The paint has its own energy, its own sentience. Within its existence lie infinite possibilities – exotic creatures, human-level intelligence, art, wars, love, hatred, laughter, beauty, and a new path of the history of the universe. All that, and it’s got a cool polka-dot pattern, too.

0 – Awe-inspiring divinity
You’re watching paint dry, but the experience is being narrated by Morgan Freeman.