Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Taking a Nap... For America!

Happy Birthday, America.

To celebrate the 232nd anniversary of the Independence of our Nation, I’m taking a nap! Lot’s of them!! And I recommend that you do the same!

Actually, I’m celebrating The Fourth of July by spending a whole, entire week on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, roughly in the locale of North Litchfield Beach, just north of Pawley’s and south of Murrell’s Inlet. It’s my annual family vacation with the in-laws.

Before leaving for the coast, I had made plans that this year’s vacation would consist of three major activities: 1) Eating 2) Drinking; and 3) Napping.

But, having arrived at my destination, I decided to narrow the primary activity for the week to: Just Napping. It’s my personal tribute to Independence Day.

For sure, I’ve already partaken in a few other activities. By the time I had been here a full day, I had already participated in: Swimming. Sunning. Reading. Eating. Drinking. Games. Conversation. Listening to the Rain. Three trips to the Bi-Lo. And, of course, at this very moment… writing this column. But I’ve made a firm commitment to not let anything get in the way of my napping this week. I’m dedicated to it. To celebrate our nation.

At an early age, I learned the old adage that “anything worth doing is worth doing well”. I think that includes “napping”. “Do your best”, they taught me in Boy Scouts.

So I’m trying to do the best job possible at napping this week. Call me a patriot.

During my first day of vacation, I was admittedly not really dedicated to it. I simply spent the whole day catching as many naps as possible. Four to be exact. There was not particular rhyme or reason… no specific strategy.

By the second day of vacation, however, I realized I could do better. Four naps may seem okay… but that’s merely quantity, not necessarily quality. I resolved to spend a little time not only taking naps, but also studying the subject to increase my knowledge about the fine art of napping. After all, I’m doing it for America.

I was disheartened to discover that there does not seem to be a great body of knowledge about the subject. Apparently, napping is a field of study that science and academia has largely overlooked.

No problem. I just anointed myself to be an expert, and jotted down my own notes on the subject. (It’s the least I can do for the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.)

Following are a few of my early findings during my preliminary research on this most important topic:

-- The five best locations for naps are, in descending order: 5) Floor 4) Couch 3) Chaise lounge 2) Lazyboy recliner 1) Hammock (Note that “bed” is disqualified from this assessment due to unclear lines between “napping” and “sleeping”.)

-- Quality naps are directly related to air temperature. Both heat and cool can be quality naps. For instance, napping in the sun on the seashore is a high-quality nap… but so is coming in from the heat to nap on the couch in the air conditioning!

-- The three worst places to take a nap, based on my own past personal experiences are: 3) Airport waiting area; very similar to napping inside an airplane. (For that matter, most forms of public transportation are lousy places to nap. Don’t ask me how I know.) 2) The dentist chair. True story… I once napped during a cleaning. That’s possibly when I first realized I had a gift for napping. 1) At the office. Head down on your desk is a poor-quality nap, just like it was in high school trigonometry class 35 years ago.

-- All naps are not created equal. Excluding vacation naps, the optimal times for naps are a) weekends; b) mid-afternoon; and c) after meals, especially lunch. (An example of a less-desirable nap would be the “early morning roll-over”, when you’re trying to catch a few extra winks, but you know it's almost time for the alarm clock to go off.)

-- Optimal conditions for naps are: a) after a meal, especially the afore-mentioned lunch; b) during a rain storm; and c) with the TV on. (My personal favorite TV shows for drifting off are The History Channel, American Movie Classics, and, of course, the old reliable, CSPN2.)

-- Napping is seasonal. Holidays are the highest rated, along with vacations, both of which we refer to as “special occasion naps”. Other than the special occasions, the top napping seasons are summer, when it’s hot; and winter, when it’s cold. Winter napping generally requires a fireplace, while summer napping allows for greater diversity (i.e. – hammock, swimming pool, beach, ceiling fan, etc.). Autumn napping is also highly regarded, although it seems narrowly limited to football weekends on couches.

I trust you will find this brief overview of napping useful, and I hope it may, in some small way, add to your enjoyment this holiday weekend.

I know I will feel much better about the many, many naps I’ll be enjoying during the remainder of my week, comforted in the knowledge that I am doing my best. It’s the least I can do to show my patriotic pride.

1 comment:

Adriel said...

I too went out for a family vacation trip for the celebration of independence day.