Monday, March 23, 2015

The Rest of the Story: The Art of Napping

“I don't feel old. I don't feel anything till noon. That's when it's time for my nap.”
Bob Hope

One of the rewards, and true pleasures, of getting older is that nap time once again becomes a socially sanctioned activity.  Why it is that this one-time, essential and scheduled, activity losers favor is beyond me.  If I were the conspiratorial type I would blame it on corporate advertisers seeking to wear down our resistance to buying things we don't need because we're too exhausted to resist.  Thankfully, I'm not that paranoid . . . yet.

Unlike the normal transition to old age, when it comes to napping, young and old once again meet.  This is clear to me as neither I, nor my granddaughter, do well if we've not had our naps.  Sadly, this bridge across the generations does not last.  One of the sure signs that the innocence of childhood is giving way to Pre-teen years is the resistance to, and arguing about, naptime.  During this phase of life, one naps because we’re told it’s good for us.  Ironically, there comes a time, much later in life, when one actually has to argue in favor of a nap by making this very point.

Fortunately, in time, the balance is restored and naps take their rightful place amongst the comings and goings of modern life.  Does anything feel better than the lazy afternoon nap on a rainy Sunday? Can anything compare to the feeling of surrendering to the call of the couch after a few chapters of whatever latest best seller you've been trying to read, only to realize that you've just read the same sentence three times?  I submit that there is no better feeling than these unscheduled trips into the Land of Nod.  I would even go so far as to suggest that naps are so vital to our existence, so woven into the fabric of collective unconscious, that we could take most of the great quotes throughout history and insert the word “nap” without losing one iota of profundity. 

For example:
Descartes: I nap, therefore I am.
Julius Caesar: I came, I saw, I napped.
Ronald McDonald: You deserve a nap today.
Neil Armstrong: That's one small step for man, one giant nap for mankind." (OK, it doesn't always work, but I think you see my point.)

Just in case my point did not hit home, here’s a final thought.  The book of Genesis could have just as easily read, "And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he napped." Check and mate!

If napping is the art that I believe it is, there is one form of napping that is the Sistine Chapel, the Mona Lisa and Starry Night rolled into one.  I speak, of course, of the nap that takes place at work.  Known as wapping by connoisseurs, this experience melds two of mankind's greatest desires; to take a well-earned rest and to get paid for doing nothing.  Whether it is with feet on the desk, known as the Executive, or curled under the desk, known by Seinfeld addicts as a George, there are few joys in life that can compare. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons that the trend toward meditating in the workplace is growing at such a rapid pace.  "Permission to sit with my eyes closed for 30 minutes so that management gets props for introducing worker wellness? Yes, please."

Putting the official stamp of authenticity on nap taking, and keeping it from going the way of being able to walk around with a binky in one’s mouth, requires a few guidelines.  This also helps to keep out the riff-raff; those who see fit to, “rest,” “take a fiver,” or try some other method of passing off imitation naps as the real thing.  I humbly offer the following:

1. Naps must fall in the range of no less than 15, but no more than 90, minutes. Less than that and your just examining your eyelids; more than that and you’re just being greedy.

2. There are only 2 reasons that someone should be roused from a nap.  The first is that the house is on fire and the second is to have sex; after which you can, yep, you guessed it, take a nap.

3. A nap must always take place in the clothes that you're currently wearing. Changing into something more comfortable constitutes getting ready for bed.

4. If a nap is disturbed while in progress, aka, nappus interruptus, then one is allowed a do-over, no matter what household chores await.

5. Despite being socially acceptable when referring to a very young child, it is never, ever, acceptable to use the phrase, "We had to put grandpa down."

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