Monday, September 21, 2009

Things That Don't Suck: Staying in Bed

Anyone who's ever had a child or a pothead roommate knows how difficult it is to get someone out of bed in the morning. Physically waking them up is never the hard part (if you have trouble, try splashing a little water on their neck or pretend that you are about to smoke some weed), the tough thing to do is convince them to take the covers and go to school or work.

But really, why should they? School is boring, work is hard and boring, and nothing in the day ahead is going to make them feel as good as they do when they're in bed--until they get back into bed after a long day of learning powerpoint or delivering pizza.

As far as I can tell, the main reason anyone ever gets out of bed is to earn enough money so your bed is not taken away and you have to sleep on a bench. If you are ambitious, you might want to earn more money to afford a larger or more comfortable bed, but I wouldn't advise that, as climbing the career ladder would leave you with less time to enjoy your bed.

But what if everyone stayed in bed, some busybody is asking somewhere--how will anything ever get done? ! I answer that with another question: what's so great about getting things done? If everyone stayed in bed longer we'd certainly have fewer wars, and fewer traffic jams, and less crime, and less stress. Lying in bed uses none of our precious natural resources and produces no harmful greenhouse gasses. What's the real downside?

Imagine if the September 11 hijackers had woken up on that fateful morning and instead of jumping right out of bed, praying eight or nine times and strapping on their guns, they had stayed under the covers for an extra five minutes that then stretched into half an hour, wriggling their toes in the hotel sheets and watching the soft gray light come through the blinds. I don't know for sure, but I bet those gentlemen, after thinking about how good the cool side of the pillow felt, would have said, "You know what? I'm not going to get on that plane today. I'm going to go to the hotel restaurant and get myself a big breakfast--with bacon. God bless America! God Bless American mattresses!"

As awesome as staying in bed by yourself is, staying in bed with another person--or multiple people, if that's your thing--is clearly way better. That's another of the main reasons to getl out of bed: to find someone who wants to lie in bed with you. Some people go from bed to bed fairly frequently and get criticized for it, but we should be encouraging this--they're just looking for the most comfortable bed possible, a far more noble goal than writing the Great American Novel or becoming Sub Vice President of Accounts.

A word of caution is needed here: like all good things, you can overdo lying in bed. Lying in bed for long periods of time and feeling miserable is a possible symptom of depression, and you should spend some time out of bed, if only so you'll enjoy being in bed more by comparison. (Also, you'll want to occasionally make yourself a sandwich, and you should not bring mustard or meat into bed with you.) If you are hiding under your pillow because you feel like you can't face the world, you're doing something wrong--lying in bed is supposed to be fun.

But don't get me wrong--I'm not advocating sloth or a lack of ambition. You can engage in a great number of activities while lying down. Marcel Proust wrote much of In Search of Lost TIme while bedridden, and Jabba the Hutt ran a successful smuggling business without ever standing up. The ancient Romans reclined whenever they could, including at most meals, and the modern Upper East Sider spends a great deal of his life lying on a couch under analysis. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I wrote this entry while lying in bed, and maybe you're even reading this while in bed. If you are in bed, God bless you. The world needs more people to stay in bed whenever possible.

(The painting is by Gretchen Schmid, if you were wondering.)

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