'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
LACK OF ‘SLEEPY’ MAKES COLUMNIST ‘DOPEY’
A few weeks ago I wrote about getting stuck behind a school bus early in the morning. I was trying to beat the rush hour traffic to work, but at 6:30 a.m. a big yellow snail blocked my path and it took about 15 minutes to travel a section of road that usually takes one minute.
Part of the delay was the fact the teenagers standing at the end of each driveway waiting for the bus were sound asleep. No, that’s not a typo; I really meant to write “sound asleep.” My friends who are high school teachers assure me teenagers have an amazing ability to fall sleep anytime, anyplace, and in any position, including standing up, walking down the hallway, or during the middle of an important conversation with a teacher.
For me, being awake and showered and dressed and in my car at 6:30 a.m. is no big deal. No matter what my schedule, I’m always awake by 5 a.m. anyway. Even on the weekends, when I WANT to sleep in, I can’t. My pal Mr. Bladder often wakes me up. Just before five he whispers at me, “Pssst, hey bud, time to get up.” To which I reply, “Huh? What’d you say?” Then he says a bit louder, “I said, ‘Pssst! Get up!’ And when I say ‘pssst,’ I really mean ‘pssst,’ if you get my drift.”
By then I do get his drift, and so I crawl out of bed and head for the bathroom. Even on those rare occasions when I stay up late doing some serious partying, I still can’t sleep past 5 a.m. the next morning. (By the way, serious partying for me now means sitting on the couch until 10:45 p.m., reading a book and sipping an O’Doul’s. Yes, you’re right, totally out of control, which is why I’m often mistaken for Charlie Sheen.)
It wasn’t always this way. I can remember being in high school where having to arrive at school by 8 a.m. felt like the middle of the night. I could’ve slept until noon if that had been an option.
When I went off to college, I discovered sleeping till noon WAS an option—at least if you either arranged your schedule to have all afternoon classes or you simply didn’t care about your grades and skipped those morning classes. I’m proud to say I worked hard to achieve both goals: all afternoon classes and complete apathy.
From what I understand, waking up early is only going to get worse. There will come a time when I’ll long for days when I could stay asleep till 5 a.m. I base this on what my mother recently told me. Not surprisingly, my mom is older than me. (I learned this important fact in one of the biology classes I slept thru.) Of course, it’s not polite to mention a person’s specific age, so let’s just say, for discussion purposes, in very vague terms, that my mother is 81.
So Mom told me that she wakes up at 3 a.m. most mornings. In her case, her whispering friend is not Mr. Bladder; it is Mr. Arthritis.
Being asleep is a mysterious phenomenon, which scientists do not really understand (unless they do understand—I might have been napping during that biology class lecture). Some people sleep when they should be awake, and others are awake when they should be sleeping.
The only thing I can say with certainty is this: nobody gets enough sleep nowadays. And exhibit “A” is this column, which I wrote while only half-awake.
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