Let's talk for a minute about sleep. I think that's a good idea, because sleep is confusing stuff. Before we have our chat though, I just need to clarify that I love sleep. I probably love sleep more than all of the essential acts of living that I do (eating, drinking, staying the same temperature, paying taxes, etc.).

But here's the conflict: I love sleep when I'm planning on sleeping. That means I'm not a big fan of it at times when I'm, say, in class, in church, at work, driving, eating, drinking, etc. I don't mind it when I'm paying taxes.

The horrible, horrible thing about needing to sleep when you don't want to is the friggin' nuclear war it creates in your brain. Whatever part of the brain it is that controls sleep (I'm going to say the limbic system because I like it the best) is the fucking dominator of the rest of the brain when you need sleep. The limbic system is Genghis Khan of the brain and it's sleeping with the daughter of the prefrontal cortex to get its way.

Ghengis Khan boxer for WWF
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a title fight, no escape from this lecture dream.
Here's what I mean (ironically, I'm going to get you to daydream now):

Imagine you're sitting in class. You slept a whole lot of two hours the night before, either because of an essay or because you're dumb, and your eyes are starting to get heavy. Your mind starts to wander to non-sensical shit like your teacher is Hawkeye from MASH and he's lecturing on the seagull attacks of 3256 AD. Your eyes are closed and you don't know it—way to go, dipshit.

Your pre-frontal suddenly realizes that limbic is all over his daughter and he boots limbic in the face. You snap awake.

You all know what I'm talking about. The war between conscious and unconscious has begun.

This is the most bullshit civil war ever. The brain is supposed to function as a single unit, but when it comes to picking whether you want to look like an idiot or not during class (usually an easy question to answer) your limbic system says, "NO! Fuck you! You're going to sleep goddamn it, even if it means snoring in front of the class. HAHAHAHAHA!!"

The weird thing about Slack-Jaw is that your jaw hangs open wider than you're normally able to even open it while awake. This while the Prefrontal Cortex Defense System is going, "Stop right fucking there you limbic bitch, you're not making him look like an idiot without getting through me! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!"

And then they run across a field at each other holding swords.

The worst part is how fucked you may or may not look to the public as the battle rages. There are several different categories of sleepers in this situation:

1. Whiplash Sleeper

Whiplash is probably the worst affliction a sleeper can have in terms of embarrassment. The Whiplash sleeper loses all muscle function when they start losing the battle. Their head starts to droop and their limbs go limp until they end up in a shot-in-their-head kind of fetal position. The name Whiplash is owed to the fact that when the pre-frontal strikes back and wakes you up, all your relaxed muscles come alive in a ridiculous looking snap. Your head snaps up, sometimes you make an odd snorting noise, and your body gives a hilarious jerk.

Funny stuff.

2. Slack-Jaw Sleeper

This is me, in part. I don't lose muscle control of my entire body, only in my jaw. When I conk out, my jaw hangs open like a gay porn star. The affliction is usually accompanied by drooling. The weird thing about Slack-Jaw is that your jaw hangs open wider than you're normally able to even open it while awake. This makes the whole situation that much more embarrassing and opens your vulnerability to games of "try to land the paper ball in the moron's mouth."


3. The Snorer/Heavy Breather

This sleeper's affliction is the difference between seemingly and simply resting your face on your desk, and full-out obviously sleeping. This is embarrassing in the right that you can actually distract the professor. The prof may never catch the Whiplash or Slack-Jaw Sleeper if he never looks in that direction, but sound doesn't need to be seen. The worst part of being the Snorer/Heavy Breather is that the category has its own sub-categories: the light snorer, the whistler, the crescendo (when the snore starts soft and gradually gets louder), and the freight train.

Embarrassing for everyone.

4. The Talker/Mover

This one is rare, usually movement and talking other than jerking around and snoring comes in deeper sleep, which our friend pre-frontal usually won't allow. On top of that, sleep-talking and moving is rare anyway. Again, this category has its own sub-categories including, but not limited to: the jerk and flail, the walker, the talker, the talk-walker, and (God save us all), the screamer. I don't know if there's a screaming-walker, but I'd like to think that if there is, he's locked up.

I've never seen this category of sleeper in a public situation before, but I imagine it's dangerous. Who knows who you could insult/stab?

5. The Drifter

The Drifter has the strongest, most practiced pre-frontal. He's used to this battle going on and manages to ALMOST not look like an idiot at all. This is me in the other sense. I'll be sitting in a lecture and realize that I'm not watching the lecture anymore but instead I'm watching my ridiculous seagull dream and simply open my eyes. Unfortunately, keeping my eyes open involves me having a permanently surprised expression on my face and sometimes awkwardly rolling my eyes into the back of my head when I'm trying to force my eyelids open.

If you can't help sleeping, at least aim to be this kind of sleeper.

My whole desire to write this little essay is the mind-bogglingness of the battle. How can your brain, a single unit, not convince itself that sleep is a bad idea at a particular moment? We can refuse to eat if called upon; same with drinking. But sleep? It's nearly unstoppable. Ridiculous.

So ridiculous, in fact, that our body jerks us awake sometimes because it thinks the body is dying.

Limbic system is so fucking tricky that it has tricked the rest of the brain into thinking it's dying.

Holy fuck.

But here I am, loving sleep. Loving the rebellion.

Just not now, pleeeease? It's lecture time.