Sunday, February 17, 2008


Main Entry: nar·co·lep·sy Listen to the pronunciation of narcolepsy
Pronunciation: \ˈnär-kə-ˌlep-sē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural nar·co·lep·sies
Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary
Date: 1880
: a condition characterized by brief attacks of deep sleep often occurring with cataplexy and hypnagogic hallucinations
As far as I know I do not have narcolepsy. I am very good at falling asleep wherever I am and in whatever position I may be situated, but I do not think that I am narcoleptic. (Mostly because I don't know what cataplexy means. If I were to guess I'd divide the word up into "cat" and "plexy" and go from there. A cat is a small furry animal with a tail and bad humor. Plexy brings to mind the words plexiglass and pleather. I don't think that I am small nor furry and I feel that I am of a good-humored nature. And clearly I am not a clear sheet of unshatterable plastic. Um...I'll just skip the pleather part.)
Anyway, I bring this up because lately I have been increasingly unable to stay awake in situations where such is the socially acceptable status. A few examples are during classes, watching movies and eating dinner (true story). Of late this has become increasingly uncomfortable for myself and others. Just last week I was in my Astronomy class and the girl sitting next to me nudged me to wake me up because I was breathing so loudly. She did so laughingly while I quietly apologized. And within minutes I was out cold once again. (I must put a disclaimer on my falling asleep in Astronomy. I have the class at 1:00pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and it is my fifth class in a row of the day. Not only that but we attend class in the Planetarium where the seats are ever so comfortable and the powerpoint presentations, which only increase the slumberous atmosphere in the room, are broadcast onto the ceiling so we have to sit back in our chairs to see them. Then, when the professor turns off all the lights and turns on the stars, my stupor reaches near comatose.)
It seems that once I am asleep, I'm deep asleep and I immediately enter the dream stage. This can be quite adventuresome in classes such as the History of Jazz and Calculus because my mind goes crazy and creates the most interesting situations and plot lines using the things that the professors are saying. I've never thought of Calculus as a super engaging and enterprising topic, but when the subject is put into the overactive imagination of a sleepy student, the most amazing things happen. Unfortunately I'm unable to remember any specifics, but I can say that more than once I've started awake with my heart racing and wondering what will happen to that poor function when it's taken to and analyzed at its limits.
As for movies, I don't know that I've watched a movie to the end for a month or so now. A few movies that I've started and continue to be in a state of suspense over having not seen the ends to are; The Rundown, Ratatouille, Phantom of the Opera, Stardust, Nacho Libre, The Illusionist, Masters of the Universe (Good ol' Heman), and Martian Child. The problem is, everyone else has seen the ends to these movies and therefore don't want to watch them again, and I'm stuck wondering if the Rock ever finds the rich mans son and whatever becomes of the cooking rat and how, if at all, Christine escapes from the Phantom. It's frustrating.
In short it seems that every time I sit down, or even if I just stand comfortably, I fall asleep. I wish it weren't so, but such is my unenviable state at the time.
Meh. It's not so bad. At least I don't snore in class...yet.


  1. Well, if you want, I can just tell you how most of those movies end right here. It will save you some time. heh, heh. Or maybe I'll make you wait in suspense until you can watch them. I'd say it's time to start praying for spring. That's the only way you're going to stay awake in any of your classes.

  2. I'll lend my faith in the prayer for spring; then you won't have to arise at 3:30 a.m. to clear the snow from those never-ending BYU sidewalks. (I'm going to anonymously nominate you for employee of the month and/or winter season. That should put a hefty bonus in your next paycheck!) Can you discreetly nibble on a little something during your classes to keep you awake? Sometimes it works for me. Nothing too fattening--your 6'2", 150 lb. frame couldn't take much more! And while I'm at it . . . don't forget to take your vitamins . . . why do you think I've been reminding you about it all these years? (A mother's work is never done.)

  3. You'd think we were brothers or something... True story: When I first started as a grad student at UR, I sometimes dozed a bit in class. I would occasionally ask a question or participate as part of the learning experience. Over time I got to know some of the other students in the class and found out that I was famous for being that guy who would sleep during most of the class, then raise his head and make the most insightful comment of the day. I was revered and hated at the same time.
    A little while ago, a woman (professor)on the CHE forums started a post asking if it was appropriate to knit during seminars to stay awake. Unfortunately, the consensus was no.

  4. I would blame your sleepiness on the snow when I do think that is a major factor but I had class with you when you were a freshman. Those too were times of breathing loudly during a lecture of Dr. Robinson's or others. Perhaps you and David have the gift of osmosis, particularly the "usually effortless often unconscious assimilation."