168. Naps


The best drug on the market is a well timed siesta. If you sleep in the middle of a day, in the midst of the noon mist, it’s the physiological equivalent of splitting your day into two distinct waking periods. In other words, you get two days out of one. It’s like cutting a piece of chewing gum in two halves and then chewing them at different times. My wife does this because she claims a standard piece of gum is too big for her mouth. I never noticed as I chewed on, unconscious of my wastefulness.

Usually a classic nap sneaks up on you like some skilled barefoot Indian hairdresser who gently combs you into benevolent somnolence and florid dreams while nitpicking away stress bugs and joy ticks . Ahhh, it could be the lovely fall air that is blowing through my opened windows this afternoon; it could be the early onset of mammalian urges to hibernate; it could be the half life of caffeine is nearing; but I think it’s some wiser power softly pulling my thinning gray hair backwards onto the couch and rocking me into decaf land.

“Thank you, Tonto, for this gourd full of bliss.”

“Kimmosabi, drink in the other world of dreams, where all is one and one is all there is.”

“Tonto, I didn’t know you could speak so poetically.”

“Kimmosabi, just shut up and sleep.”

Sleep served in one and two hour servings seems to satisfy me way more than 8 or 9 hours. I wake up post nap with something like a drug high, a brain float, an oxygenated joy effervescing at the reunion of mind and body. Not only does the brain re-engage consciousness, but the senses seem sharper because of the 90 minute shutdown of neural traffic. Imagine a busy city with no traffic for an hour or two in the middle of each day. How calming that would be, quieter and cleaner as well. I know the task oriented among us will shudder at the idea of shutting down productivity for an hour while the sun shines. However, they don’t read blogs so I think this heresy is safe among those of us who do. Get nappy, Blogworms. Burrow deep into the topsoil of consciousness.

In most lands that claim to practice Western civilization, naps are seen as wasteful exercises in laziness. Nothing more than figure skating on the inside of one’s eyelids. Dreaming one’s life away. I disagree. I think naps make one more civil. Let’s look at the antithesis of civilization, which is war. Imagine if the rules of war enforced a midday nap for both sides.

“Now fellas, you’ve killed enough for half a day. Let’s get out our blankies and get a good nap before you shoot in the afternoon. No one wants to die sleep deprived.”

Silly, you say. Of course, but no sillier than the prospect of highly productive war. So my hypothesis is that naps prevent wars. You want proof, I suppose. Well, the nation that leads the world in total napping minutes per person per day happens to be Switzerland. Okay? and here’s another factoid that is actually true: siesta comes from the Spanish word for sixth hour or noon. Now hear this: Fewer Swiss people are killed during siestas than at any other time of day. Why? Because the would be serial killers and their prey are fast asleep in the arms of Morpheus.

Now I know that some far right wing nuts will squeal that we need to be armed during our naps because “only outlaws will have guns if guns are outlawed”. But who will sleep if they are afraid of being blown away by a gun toting goon? The reasonable answer to their concerns is to do background checks on all licensed nappers. If the system notes a pattern of early rising or failing to go to sleep after circle time in kindergarten, those offenders would be flagged for further review by Homeland Security. I believe all law abiding nappers would sleep easier if such limits were in place.

Reason two for adopting napping as our national past time: our gross national product will skyrocket. Just like the trick in the 1980’s of turning one full time job with benefits into two part time jobs with no benefits. Ronnie Reagan saved employers billions and cut the working man’s buying power in half while making unemployment figures so confounded that it appeared everyone was suddenly working. His administration was also the first to count the military as part of the employment landscape. “Hey, Nancy, I just found a million jobs.” And he took daily White House naps. So, by napping on work days you are doubling the number of worklike cycles. Folks who nap could theoretically work from 7 a.m. till noon, take a two hour nap with lunch, and then work fresh from 2 till 6 p.m. That’s nine fresh hours of labor compared to about three good hours in the current anti-napping environment. Let that sink in… 9 is 3 times bigger than 3. I’m feeling a Nobel prize coming on. What does a round trip flight to Sweden cost?

Aside from Spain, siestas are common in the following powerhouses:

◦Greece
◦Italy
◦The Philippines
◦Costa Rica
◦Mexico
◦Ecuador
◦Nigeria
*Portugal
and China.

With models like these what are we waiting for? Look at China, for goodness sakes! It can buy and sell all the other sluggish economies on the listless list. And the internet tells me that they are napsters. As an added benefit fewer employees would be fired for sleeping on the job, thus freeing all the George Costanzas of the nonworking world from their undeveloped guilt.

One more reason comes to my well rested mind: workplace shootings. Who wants to mess up a nice two-piece day that is filled in the middle with bliss like an Oreo cookie is filled with euphoric gunk? Only insomniacs who could be rounded up by Homeland Security and given propofol injections. I think it’s all covered now and time for my nap. Tomorrow (or is it later today?) I must get to work on my Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

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