Yeah, baby! I may be fifty-five years old, but most days I still take to heart the rockin’ message of “Afternoon Delight” (click here if you’re too young to know the tune of this classic song):
My motto’s always been ‘when it’s right, it’s right!
Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night?...
Looking forward to a little afternoon delight.
Absolutely. If something feels good at midnight, it’s going to feel just as good at three in the afternoon. That’s why I’m an inveterate napper, and why I’m not ashamed to call the pillow in our extra bedroom “Baby.”
Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight
Gonna grab some afternoon delight
Everyone has guilty pleasures. They are “guilty,” I guess, because we feel that other people would convict us if they knew that we indulged in them. But convict us of what? Where’s the crime in doing what you like?
I’ve decided that we inveterate American nappers need to come out of the closet. Other countries embrace the siesta. Why not the good old USA? For years I’ve been doing my part to raise this nation up to the standard of sleeping enjoyed by so much of the rest of the world. When I worked for State Health Planning here in Salem in the late 1970s I had a couch in my office. I’d close the door at noon, eat my sandwich, and lie down for a delightful half-hour nap.
I wasn’t trying to be more productive. I just liked to doze off and do nothing. If I could have done nothing for the whole rest of the day too, that would have been even better, but state government demanded at least a semblance of productivity before they gave me a paycheck.
I am the devotee of a pure form of Napping Philosophy, formulated over many, many years of diligent unconscious study. To wit, naps are not a means to an end; they are the end: self-indulgence, hedonism, unadulterated unproductiveness.
Thus I find it disturbing that naps are being recommended as a tool for accomplishing more. This is absurd. It’s akin to watching the Playboy Channel in order to better understand the cultural role of women in post-modern Western society. Anyone who takes a nap with a productive motivation in mind is a faux napper. I beg of you: Please, don’t sully the purity of this noble nonactivity. Have a cup of coffee instead.
I only consider myself a napping semi-pro, though, for I have a ways to go before I overcome the flaws that are keeping me from true napping greatness. For example, I haven’t been able to ditch remnants of a Protestant Ethic that speaks inside my head halfway through a Sunday afternoon: “You don’t deserve to take a nap until you’ve mowed the grass.”
Deserve? Where did that napping notion come from? In truth, a nap is undiluted grace. The Gods of Napping want us to enjoy their bounty guilt free and without reservation, for sleepiness is next to godliness.
So sayeth the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, who deserves to be the patron saint of napping:
“All beings desire happiness always, happiness without a tinge of sorrow. At the same time everybody loves himself best. The cause for love is only happiness. So, that happiness must lie in one. Further that happiness is daily experienced by everyone in sleep, when there is no mind.”
No mind in sleep. My napping is making me a Buddha. All praise to the nap! Om, Om, Om. Or better, Yawn, Yawn, Yawn.