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 my belief), 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. I’m
sorry, but the widely accepted ritual of climbing atop an elevated
platform and assuming a state of insectlike dormancy is disturbing
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. Every night I climb aboard my raised
coma platform, I sigh with resignation, feeling like a monkey in
Have you ever seen a person sleeping? We look like idiots. As I
put a fresh pillowcase on my pillow, 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 get in too deep
and won’t be able to pull out 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. Tonight could very well be the night that I’m
drawn to the light.
And the fact that sleep is not only accepted by society, but
celebrated too-well, that concerns me. We should be working at
correcting this abnormality. Instead, we build homes equipped with
special rooms (chambers) in which to assume our freakish science
fiction states of suspended animation, complete with fancy
hand-carved hibernation stands. We also frequent places of
business, like Bed, Bath and Beyond, where one can purchase myriad
frilly, scented dormancy supplies. 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.
Don’t even get me started on dreams. When somebody starts 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 darts in a jockstrap with Willie Mays and
Thomas Jefferson? Well, that’s just 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. When I
finally give in to sleep’s evil come-ons, it feels like defeat.
Why, if I had had an extra seven or eight hours per day, I could
rule the world. Or at least watch a shitload of television.
Throughout history, many visionaries have attempted to
circumvent sleep, including Thomas Edison and Seinfeld
Kramer, but, in general, we just accept it as a fact of life. What
we need is something that will allow us to stay awake all the time.
I seem to remember reading a piece on the Internet a while ago
about a half-assed military experiment along those lines. I’d be
interested in getting in on this deal-far way from the battlefield,
of course. It would be like having your weeks Super-Sized.
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.
From Crimewave (#15), an Ypsilanti, Michigan-based
zine that is strange, quirky, and all over the place-but in a good
way. Subscriptions: $12/3 issues from Box 980301, Ypsilanti, MI