Friday, February 16, 2007

I Want My NANA

Ask Mr. Long IslandBy Michael Watt

Much has been said about the first of the Baby Boomer Generation turning 60 this year, lead by such stalwart citizens as President Clinton, Steven Spielberg and Cher. Sixty is the new 30, they say – which should come as no surprise because nobody deludes themselves better than members of the Woodstock Generation. The folks on Yasgur’s Farm who were going to change the world through peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll are the same people who gave us pre-schoolers under pressure to excel, gas-guzzling Hummers and New Age music. Go figure.

But there is one social trend I would love to see the Boomers usher in: the universal acceptance of nap taking.

Think about this: Why can’t we put our heads down on the desk for a quick snooze during the workday? Why is five minutes of refreshing shut-eye frowned upon but it’s okay for a worker to take a ten minute break from his or her job to go outside, ignite a toxic-spewing product that makes your clothes, breath and hair smell bad and then toss the un-smoked remnants amongst the hundreds of other similarly dispensed butts? Why is the “coffee break” a built-in part of the workday but God forbid an employee should study the inside of his or her eyelids for a few minutes?

Actually I do the cause a disservice by associating nap-taking with age. John F. Kennedy was famous for taking naps in the afternoon, despite his relative youth. Lincoln took naps. Churchill took naps. Ronald Reagan took naps. I’m only guessing here but I’m thinking Carter didn’t take any naps and the current Bush should.

Here’s the deal. We’re all working harder and later than ever and getting out of bed earlier than ever, as well. (This Ever guy has it made, by the way). Doesn’t it make sense for us to re-charge the batteries easily and naturally – the way nature intended? Even God rested on the seventh day, for Heaven’s sake. I know when I take a nap I feel better and am ready to take on the world. When I have had too much caffeine, on the other hand, I get a little zippy and perhaps a little cranky, if you can believe that.

It is going to take more than just one simple humor column to get this done, however. I’m not even sure if we can rely on a good-old fashioned grassroots movement, either. No, my friends, we have to take matters into our own hands. We have to rely on something that delves even deeper into the nation’s fabric.

That’s right. Americans who nap – or at least Americans who would nap more often if doing so did not subject us to more ridicule than the Anna Nicole Smith situation – have to form our own lobbying group.

Not being the bashful type I am willing to serve as group leader, and suggest that we should call ourselves NANA – the National Association of Napping Americans. We could raise money and then, eh, spread that money around to convince legislators to enact legislation that would ensure and safeguard each and every American’s right to take a little snooze during company time. We could work to make sure “nap time” became an OSHA regulation and that teams of inspectors employed by the federal government would focus solely on whether our nation’s employers provided clean and safe napping facilities.

We would also have to endeavor to remove the stigma associated with nap taking by striving to strike from our vernacular such phrases as “caught him napping,” “he was asleep at the wheel” and “he played that like he was asleep the whole time.”

We could get Oprah to dedicate one of her shows to the benefits of napping – maybe even convince her to take a nap on stage during the show! Letterman could do a Top Ten List of benefits to taking a nap in the afternoon and Conan O’Brien could have Triumph The Insult Comic Dog put to sleep. Wait – strike that (note to self – add “put to sleep” to list of phrases that need to be dealt with).

As someone once said, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” And what better way to dream something than while taking a nap. To paraphrase that noted philosopher Country Joe McDonald, "Give me an N! Give me an A! Give me a P! What's that spell!?!

Thank for you for reading this column.

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