recently read an article about a British study that purported to reveal
a link between the position a person adopts while sleeping, and their
personality. The piece was accompanied by drawings of sleeping men and
women in cartoon pajamas. They were curled up in little balls, stretched out like
a hippie jumping off a cliff in a Mountain Dew commercial -- and
The whole thing triggered a full-body shiver.
There's no way to get around it: sleep is creepy. It's not something I
talk about in mixed company, because I'm seemingly alone in these
beliefs, but I've always felt this way.
I remember being a kid
and becoming slightly uncomfortable whenever they showed people in bed
on Little House on the Prairie, preparing to turn themselves over to an
eight-hour minicoma (on the prairie). I'm sorry, but the widely
accepted nightly ritual of climbing atop an elevated platform and
assuming a state of insect-like dormancy is disturbing to me.
The fact that otherwise bright and energetic people willingly allow
themselves to become drooling vegetables at the end of each day, feels
like a failure. We, as superior animals, should be above such base
requirements by now. It's clear that we aren't yet fully evolved, and
are nothing more than glorified praying mantises, walking around with
delusions of grandeur. Every night, as I climb aboard my raised dormancy
platform, I sigh with resignation, feeling like a monkey in pants.
And have you ever seen a person sleeping? They look like idiots. I have
no doubt that Albert Einstein himself resembled Gomer
Pyle in a gas leak, while drifting off to sleep. As I put a fresh pillow
case on my pillow every six months or so, I see the stains there,
created by excess saliva that rolled out of my mouth during my nightly
transformation into a lobotomized fool, and I feel shame.
This is no
way to live, people.
In addition to all the time wasted to voluntary loss of consciousness,
I worry that one of these days I'll go in too deep, and won't be able to
pull out on the other side. Sleep is Death Lite, and playing chicken
with the grim reaper is, I think, ill-advised. Yet we do it every day.
So far I've won every contest, but the odds keep getting longer and
longer. It's Russian roulette beneath a fluffy comforter.
Most of us
seem to be cocky about it, absolutely sure we'll wake up in the morning,
but I know better. Tonight could very well be the night that I'm drawn
to the light. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to
And the fact that sleep is not only accepted by society, but also
celebrated, concerns me. We should be working at correcting this
abnormality. Instead, we continue building
equipped with special rooms (chambers) in which to assume our freakish
science-fiction state of suspended animation, complete with fancy
hand-carved hibernation stands.
"How big's your new house?" "Oh, not too big. It
has four dormancy chambers, and two waste-elimination alcoves."
also frequent places of business, like Bed, Bath
and Beyond, where one can
purchase a whole myriad of frilly, scented dormancy supplies. Dr. Phil
might call it "enabling." If we had a grotesque dangling mole
on our faces, we'd have it removed, not drive across town to purchase
an imported mole cozy. Why are we not seriously endeavoring to eliminate
our reliance on the sleep abomination?
Don't even get me started on dreams. When somebody begins a sentence
with, "Oh man, I had the weirdest dream last night..." I head for the exit. Thank you for your desire to share, but the bizarre
misfirings of your nocturnal brain waves frighten me. You say you were
playing Jarts in a jock strap with Willie Mays and Mel from Alice?
Well, that's simply excellent.
My wife loves to sleep; she views it as a refuge. She actually looks
forward to it, which I find slightly insulting. I'm just the opposite,
of course. I put it off as long as possible, and curse its talent for
robbing me of one-third of my precious life. Escape can be had with beer
and DVDs which, I believe, is highly preferable to wallowing around in
heavy fabrics, three feet above the floor. When I finally give in to
sleep's evil come-ons, it feels like defeat. Why, if I had an extra
seven or eight hours per day, I could rule the world. Or at least watch
a shitload of television.
Through history there have been many visionaries who've attempted to
circumvent sleep, including Thomas Edison and Kramer, but we generally
just accept it as a fact of life. What we need is something that will
allow us to stay awake all the time, preferably in an easy-to-swallow
tablet, with no adverse physical consequences.
I seem to remember
reading a piece on the Internet a while ago, about a half-assed military
experiment along those lines. For some reason they want soldiers to be
able to stay awake for a week at a time, which seems a tad cruel. But
once they get all the bugs worked out, by testing it on gullible college
students and whatnot, I'd be interested in getting in on the deal -- far
away from the battlefield, of course. It would be like having your
In the meantime, though, I guess I have no choice but to play along and
do my time atop the platform. I do so under protest, however; I want
that to be noted.
And in case you're interested, the sleep position I
usually adopt is called The Yearner in the British study I mentioned.
"People who sleep on their side with both arms out in front are
said to have an open nature, but can be suspicious, cynical. They are
slow to make up their minds, but once they have taken a decision, they
are unlikely ever to change it."
You got that right, bucko. And that's why I'm writing this at