An old-school adage sprung to mind as former National Party leader Simon Bridges used his newly freed up time to over-caffeinate and catch up with old friends this week.
It was idle hands are the devil's playthings.
The return of Bridges to Parliament highlighted one of the problems his deposer, Todd Muller, has landed himself with: Bridges has absolutely nothing to do.
Bridges was left in limbo under Muller's reshuffle after he rejected justice, and Muller refused him the foreign affairs portfolio.
Muller could find he regrets his decision to leave Bridges yawning on the backbenches.
In recent history, Bill English, David Shearer, and Andrew Little have all stayed on post-leadership, and rebuilt their reputations and careers.
English in particular did it with resounding, if unexpected, success – ending up as Prime Minister.
If Bridges wanted to stay, there is no reason Bridges should or would go: he is still relatively young at 43 years old, and politics remains his passion.
He was considered highly enough by his colleagues to warrant getting the leadership in the first place, and Muller did not roll him easily.
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Nor has Muller's own beginning been convincing enough for those MPs to yet be certain that the right decision was made.
Some MPs may now be discovering Bridges was better at the job than they had realised.
Bridges still has a significant enough support base to make Muller's life more uncomfortable than it need be.
Bridges will also know that if National does crash and burn at the election, another leadership change may be in the wind. While that may not be him, MPs' fortunes can change under different leaders.
Having opted against retreat, there are two paths Bridges could now go down.
One is the seething ball of resentment path, constantly on the watch for a chance for revenge.
The other is to knuckle down and maybe become a minister, as Muller has promised.
At the moment there are signs Bridges is torn between the two paths.
Muller was clearly hoping Bridges would cut and run.
However, now Bridges has decided to stay on it is in Muller's interests, as much as Bridges', to ensure Bridges chooses the second path.
Muller could have made things easier by at least cutting the undergrowth from the entry to that path.
All those who have successfully stayed on have been given paths to redemption by the leaders who replaced them: a job to do.
After Don Brash rolled English in 2003, English was given the education portfolio and proceeded to bludgeon the Government in Question Time.
Shearer got the foreign affairs role, and Little is now considered one of Ardern's best performing ministers.
It is something of a pity Muller was not able to offer Bridges quite the same opportunity to focus his energies elsewhere.
It does not help that the man who kept the portfolio Bridges wanted, Gerry Brownlee, seemed to get a trifecta of his favourite things.
Brownlee emerged with his old roles of shadow Leader of the House and foreign affairs intact, and a new job as National's campaign chair.
Whether it was the prize Brownlee secured for his support or simple happenstance he is the Smaug of the National caucus, lying across his stash of treasures.
He has the prize Paula Bennett had had in campaign chair, and the one Bridges wanted.
That Muller rubbed further salt in the wound by saying Bridges had wanted time to consider his future was more by accident than design.
That may have been true when Muller had talked to Bridges after his coup, but it was not true by the time Muller set out his reshuffle on the Monday.
It seemed to be a result of the haste with which Muller – and Bridges – were having to make decisions than any deliberate move by Muller to close out Bridges.
Reshuffle in haste, repent at leisure.
It is not all up to Muller.
Bridges, too, now has work ahead.
It was English who said "you learn more from losing than you do from winning".
The perpetual struggle of leaders of the Opposition is to get oxygen and relevancy.
In pursuit of that oxygen, Bridges developed a chainsaw approach.
He was blunt and simple. He had black and white lists of baddies: taxes, gangs, and criminals in particular.
It did very little for his personal brand – but it was effective until Covid-19 came along.
However, there is more nuance to any politician than that, and there is certainly more nuance to Bridges.
That was partly why Bridges had not wanted justice: he was good at the thundering law-and-order rhetoric, but he wanted to shed the "tough on gangs" persona.
Bridges' case for the foreign affairs portfolio was that he had been involved in international relations during more than two years as Leader of the Opposition, and had enjoyed it.
Brownlee is a former minister of foreign affairs but his campaign chair role is effectively a full-time job until the election, which leaves little time for his portfolio.
Muller has given himself room to move, saying during his reshuffle that if Bridges chose to remain in Parliament he would be in Muller's shadow Cabinet.
However, he has shown no inclination to do so either by wrestling foreign affairs from Smaug or by coming up with another portfolio Bridges might engage on.
There is no real reason Muller could not simply hand the portfolio to Bridges belatedly, other than a reluctance to look as if he had either caved, or was already reshuffling his reshuffle.
The coffee meetings around the diplomatic circles would at least keep Bridges out of his sight for the next three months.