August 24, 2013

The humble Farmer: Extolling the regenerative benefits of a preprandial nap


Sadly, one of our neighbors had to have a leg amputated after getting hit, while bicycling, by a mower blade on a passing truck. A nurse who happened by saved the man's life. It's good to know that there are skilled people out there who are always ready to help us.

You might have seen on TED that the response time for a 911 call in Israel is now two or three minutes. The paramedic who is the closest rushes to the aid of the injured person, often on a motorcycle that can dart through stalled traffic.

When I collapsed on the floor of a practically deserted Tel Aviv airport, there were 20 or more people with oxygen and a wheelchair surrounding me within seconds. I bravely waved them aside and staggered over to where my wife was sitting. She didn't even look up or move her lips when she said, "I suppose you want an academy award for that."

We have an excellent ambulance team here in St. George. My father-in-law called 911 after sundown because of a heart attack. A dozen men materialized in as many cars, and our ambulance rushed him off to the hospital without waking me up.

Around midnight a nurse called from the hospital to see if we were still out roistering on the town.

I observed at the time that anyone who could burst into a house and carry off a 200-pound man in the middle of the night -- without waking the other occupants who were sleeping upstairs -- was probably in the wrong business.

If you plan to live forever there is nothing wrong with knowing how to sleep. Don't nursery school children often lie down and rest for a few minutes every afternoon?

Yet, in spite of the proven regenerative properties of a nap, planned rest periods are not acceptable in the workplace. I know this. When I was making radios for Edsel automobiles in 1957, the noon whistle was no more than tacit permission to collapse on a piece of cardboard and spend an unconscious dinner hour on the floor.

Because people like me can't live without a planned rest period, in this country an afternoon nap has somewhat of a wimpy connotation. Management has done nothing to correct this misguided assumption. But then, when you read of people 95 years old who chew betel nuts while running to work on shoes made from automobile tires, somewhere down around the third or fourth paragraph don't you always learn that a two-hour siesta and perhaps a quart of rum is an integral part of their daily regimen?

Many of us recognize the regenerative prowess of a preprandial nap and believe it would contribute to the health and happiness of all of our friends and neighbors. Preparation is the key. Before one can sleep, one's mind must be no more than an unscribed tablet.

Yes, Ibn Sina's Tabula rasa comes immediately to your mind. It is my source. I admit it. I confess it. But this has nothing to do with Sartre's "Being and Nothingness." Or Mencken's imaginary intelligent woman who would read to him as he passed in and out of consciousness. We are not going to drift up around the ceiling on the end of a silver cord.

You might have seen this sign on a friend's office door: "Out of Body: Back at 11." We are not getting into philosophy or metaphysics here. We are simply talking about generating an environment that is conducive to sleep.

In other words, our goal is to approximate the mental state of the average audience of an underpaid after-dinner speaker.

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