Family and friends alike have banded together in support of Zachary Harrison’s fight against an incredibly debilitating disorder: the PR director, 33, always arrives precisely 12 minutes late to any meeting or event he is invited to.
“So many people say to me: ‘Zach, just try leaving 12 minutes earlier in the future,’ or ‘Zach, maybe you should learn some time management skills,’” said Harrison. “What they don’t understand is that I am actually physically incapable of doing so, and that their words are incredibly hurtful.”
Harrison explained that he has tried nearly everything to attempt to improve his condition. “At one point, my friends even started lying to me about the time we were supposed to meet up,” he said, “but my body could somehow sense when they weren’t telling the truth, so it never worked.”
Some have grown to accept Harrison for who he is. “I know that Zach is always late, but I still love him anyway,” said Matt Jacobson, who’s known Harrison since they met in the third grade. “He was twelve minutes late to my 9th birthday party, and he’ll be 12 minutes late to my funeral.” (Jacobson is battling a rare tissue disorder. Doctors give him only a few months to live).
But not everyone sees the impairment as a disability. “I’ve been baking a lot of cookies lately, as part of a fundraiser for my friend Matt,” said Jenna Harrison, Zachary’s sister. “I know that if I put the cookies in when Zach says he’s going to get here, I can take them out when he actually arrives and they’ll be perfectly done, every time.”
Scientists are not sure what causes Harrison’s confounding tardiness, but they say they are far from finished with all their testing. “If we can locate the source of Zachary’s consistent lateness, then maybe, just maybe, we can reverse it,” said Shauna Glass, lead researcher in Harrison’s case. “Right now, this is our number one priority. I mean, he’s never arrived to a brain scan or experiment on time. Not even once. It’s pretty fucking annoying.”
“I’m happy for Zach that he’s getting the help he needs,” said Jacobson. “Sometimes, I wish that scientists would pay more attention to my rare tissue disorder, but then I realize I’m just being selfish. Zach’s condition really impairs his everyday life, and he deserves all the resources he can get.”