Nobody worries about the prospect of being found comatosed in their own bed. And rightfully so.
After all, if ye can’t slumber soundly within the confines of your own chamber, where on earth can ye?
The sages of the ages have spoken of rest as one of the essential elements of life.
“How do you tell if something is alive?” asked Aristotle.
“Because it grows,” answered Plato.
“And how do you tell if something grows?” responded Aristotle.
“Because you can hear it snoring like a bear for eight hours a night,” replied Plato… maybe.
For reasons relating to geography and time, it is difficult to eavesdrop on the conversations of antiquity.
However, if both these pesky barriers were removed, I reckon this imagined exchange would be precisely the sort of thing that an intruding ear would overhear the two boys saying to one another.
“I have to hand it to ye, Plato, you’re getting quare and good at this aul’ philosophising craic,” Aristotle would say, slapping his pal across his toga-draped back.
“Now, more to the point, how long have them grapes been lying in that bucket? I’m gasping for drink.”
Anyway, before the thin thread that hopes to hold this column together snaps, I’ll get to my point.
Everybody enjoys sleeping in the privacy of their own bedroom.
Whether your day has been one of tortured toil or languid leisure, depositing oneself between duvet and mattress is an act that seldom disappoints.
“Nothing like a good sleep,” you might whisper, as you pull the bedclothes tight, roll onto your side and bury your head in the pillow.
However, beyond the borders of your own bedroom, succumbing to this most natural of processes can be the source of irreparable shame, humiliation and embarrassment.
One example that springs readily to mind took place in a wee house in Omagh in the 1950s.
Apparently, so I am led to believe, it was custom in this small dwelling to have a bit of a shin-dig every Saturday night.
Corked bottles of stout were the ubiquitous drink at these convivial affairs.
On one particularly busy evening, the 11-year-old son of the house, with the aid of a few blind-eye-turning attendees, took to slurping the foam from the top of the bottles of Guinness.
He was getting away with his surreptitious intoxication until about two o’clock in the morning when, after drinking about five bottles worth of foam, he slipped into a drunken sleep at the kitchen table, fell violently from his chair, and had to be carried off to his cot.
Another story that calls itself to my attention involves a certain mother of mine, a certain sister, and a certain very boring graduation ceremony.
The venue was a grand hall in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Proud students were sat at the front, while proud parents were perched in a balcony behind them.
Warm was the room, long was the ceremony, and tired was the aul’ doll.
I was only wee at the time, however, I can still recall the small water (drool) feature that had accreted in the hollow of her collarbone by the time the sister stepped on stage.
With the slap of a leg and an instruction not to spill that thing, we managed to bring her to… just in time to catch her darling daughter receive her shinning certificate.
Aye, falling asleep in public is a thing that is seldom welcomed.
And though the two examples I proffered were relatively harmless (I hope my Ma agrees), having your eyes closed when they should be open is, in many circumstances, deemed an even more grievous crime than talking when you should be listening.
However, while the talker might see his high-impact punishment, the sleeper awaits their wallop in total, defenceless ignorance.
Tip of the week: Keep them open out there.
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