Matter of Laugh or Death
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
NAP-CITY IN BLUE
As I write this, I am overwhelmed by as sense of peace and serenity, the likes of which I have not experienced since early childhood. It is the peace of perfect contentment; a peace devoid of any unfulfilled desires; a peace which says, “If I could capture this moment in a bottle, I would have Heaven on earth—or at least a consumer product that would put me in Bill Gates’ tax bracket.”
Though practically perfect, this peace is puzzling. Yes, I am completing a week’s vacation, the first full week away from work I’ve taken in more months than I can remember. Vacations are always fun, but they have never produced a peace such as this.
Did the quiet bungalow by the New Hampshire lake produce this peace? I don’t think so. I’ve stayed in equally wonderful and serene places in the past. Lots of fun, lots of relaxation, but never sublime peace.
Did the fact that I watched a lot of TV and snacked to my heart’s content while on vacation produce this peace? (At this point my daughter would say, “And this is different from every other day during the year because of…?”) No, channel surfing and a bushel of Ho Hos are not the answer.
What then is the cause of this peace? Did I win the lottery? Did my daughters announce they would rather wait until age 25 to begin dating? Did the head of the New York Times Syndicate leave a message that he’s anxious to carry my column in a thousand different newspapers? No, no, and yeah, right.
My perplexity about the true source of this peace is actually beginning to jeopardize the peace itself. I do seek an answer, but I fear my search may break the magical spell. I think the best thing to do right now is take a nap and dwell on this topic later.
Wait! That’s it! A nap!
That’s the answer! That’s the source of my serenity! I have now taken a nap for seven consecutive afternoons, the first time I have done so since age two, and it has transformed my life. I possess all the tranquility and carefree joy of a happy little toddler—minus, of course, the convenience of Pampers.
It is the naps. Now I know. Sleeping at night refreshes the body and the mind, but napping in the afternoon refreshes the soul. If I did not already believe in God, I would go out and form a religious cult which worships napping. (We would be called Jehovah’s Nappers, and travel in pairs going door-to-door. “Quick, Marge, hide! Nappers are at the front door. The last time they were here it took two hours to wake them up!”)
But now, here’s the major dilemma: I have to go back to work tomorrow. How am I going to keep napping each afternoon? I can’t imagine my boss will be too enthusiastic if I say to him, “If you don’t mind, right after my lunch hour I’m going to curl up with a pillow and my blankie for a nice 45-minute nap. (You see, a proper nap should come after lunch, not in lieu of lunch.) I should be back to work by two or two-thirty-ish.”
He probably won’t reply, “Great idea, Dunn. It’ll be our new corporate policy. Every day after lunch we’ll turn off the lights, shut down the phone system, and let all employees snooze for an hour. I’m sure it will boost morale and increase productivity. And by the way, I’m giving you a raise for being so brilliant!”
No, the only way that scenario will ever come to pass is if the government sets new labor guidelines ordering companies to provide a nap hour for employees each afternoon. Although it runs completely counter to my usual libertarian, get-government-the-heck-out-of-our-lives philosophy, this issue is so important, I’ll make an exception here and request government intervention. Besides, government officials already know daily naps are useful, since, as we private sector workers have known for years, all government employees spend each afternoon sound asleep at their desks.
Thankfully, this is an election year. We can do something about this right away. We’ve got to get a presidential candidate on a new third party ticket, the Siesta Party. I nominate Rip Van Winkle. (It doesn’t matter that he’s a fictional character. What? Do you think Al Gore is a real person? Please.)
Sure, some people are interested in the economy, education, Social Security, and other trivial issues. But once we educate the public about the soul-refreshing benefits of a daily nap, Rip will be a shoo-in. I’m going to start campaigning for him right away. Well, I’ll start right after I take a nap.
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