Readers, I was once like you. I was a normal student who knew the feeling of the sun on my face and the agony of an 8 am discussion. Then, one day, as I made my 8:45 pm journey to 7/11 for my nightly snack-dinner of beef jerky and Mountain Dew Code Red, I felt the siren call of my bed, a mere eight minutes away down the nearest seventy-five degree incline hill. “Truly, I hunger for sleep more than any man has hungered before,” I mused, “but with a workload such as mine I couldn’t possibly go to bed for the night.” That is when a man clad in a trenchcoat and low-brimmed hat emerged from the shadowy little courtyard… alley… -thing by the UPS store.
“Hey, kid,” he hissed. “I heard you want some sleep?”
“Well, yes,” I replied, startled by his sudden appearance, but hoping that by engaging him in conversation I could get him to add me on LinkedIn, “but it is too early for me to retire.”
At that the strange man began to chuckle. “‘Retire’? Kid, I got the kind of stuff that’ll get that essay done in no time.”
“Really?” I enquired, intrigued. Could his claims possibly be true?
“It’s called a nap. You tuck yourself in at 9 pm, catch a few z’s, and then bada-bing bada boom, you get up at 9:30 feeling ready to work. All the cool kids are doing it.”
“All the cool kids?” I thought about all the attractive students who paraded their “Remove Before Flight” keychains about the engineering quad. Could the secret to moving myself up from working as Squeaky the Children’s Birthday Clown during the summer to working in a Fortune 500 company really be as simple as a 9 pm nap?
“All of them,” he assured me. “Trust me, kid, one taste and you’ll be coming back for more.”
“I suppose one nap couldn’t hurt…” I ventured.
The man began to laugh, “Heh! Believe me, kid, you’ll be surprised at all the things a nap can do for you.” Then, he vanished into the shadows faster than my hopes of academic success during prelim season.
Thus resolved, I made my way homewards, stopping only to wolf down my 7/11 beef jerky (either my first or seventh meal of the day, depending on your definition of “meal”). As soon as I reached my apartment I collapsed into my bed. “Just a quick thirty minutes,” I vowed, “and then I shall resume work again.” This was the last I thought before my world faded to blackness.
Sometime later, I awoke, tangled in my bedsheets and drenched in sweat. My mind was in a state of utter confusion. If it was the morning, why was it so dark? And why was I filled with the terrible dread that was only caused by failing yet another important assignment? I flailed for my phone, and what I saw caused me to bolt awake. It was not in fact 9:30 pm as the man in the alley had promised, but two in the morning!
“That scoundrel lied to me!” I swore. Then reason tamed my anger: “If I am already failing my liberal arts class, I may as well return to sleep,” I decided. But slumber eluded me. My 9 pm nap had provided me with more energy than any one of my fourteen hour depression sleep marathons. It wasn’t until day had broken that fatigue claimed my body once more. When I awoke again to darkness, I knew I had entered a cycle with no escape.
This is my life now. From dusk till dawn I scamper freely across campus, doing spineless rat person things like chewing electrical wires and joining consulting clubs. Then come morning I flee to the blessed release of sleep while cursing the wretched sun that blinds my rodent eyes. Reader, I beg of you, remember this: If nap you must, set an alarm, lest you never know the sweetness of day again.