Remember when you were in school, and wondered what the best job in the world was, and how you might get it? My answer when the question became part of a group discussion in class was usually: "Mattress tester". I would like to be paid, I explained, for falling asleep on mattresses to test which were the best ones. Quality control, as we would say later.
If only I had waited. Four decades and more later, my dream job is being advertised on a website, and although I am better qualified for it now, I don’t have the inclination. That’s life.
"We are sleep obsessed," says the website, "and our main goal each night is to give you all the assets and information you need to get better sleep at night." A clear conscience means I sleep well at night, thank you, I want to respond.
To cut a long story short, however, the website was hiring people to become ‘Nap Reviewers’ and paying them to nap. Where were you EachNight.com – that’s the name of the website – when I needed you? The gig is for a month and pays $1,500 per reviewer. All you need to do is sleep. This gives the expression ‘dream job’ a whole new meaning. And suggests a response from those who were told to follow their dreams.
There is something about the daily nap which refreshes us. Napoleon was famous for it, knocking off for a bit even ahead of battles. So were Winston Churchill and John Kennedy. Edison’s genius for sleep, said one of his assistants, equalled his genius for invention. When the going gets tough, the tough take a nap, as the man said.
As a young student, I would sometimes relax in my room after lunch holding a metal object in my fingers – a spoon or a bunch of keys – over a steel plate. Sometimes I did that just before cricket practice.
As I fell asleep, the spoon or keys dropped and I woke up. Refreshed. On rare occasions I woke up with a headache, but that didn’t matter. It’s something I can do even today (although I don’t have to now). My wife hasn’t stopped being impressed, which is always a good thing. Later I read that the painter Salvador Dali did something similar, although I am not sure if he had a headache occasionally.
That’s probably an old technique. I can imagine the caveman balancing a rock over his head, which would fall when he let go of a rope as he dozed off.
The baseball star Yogi Berra had a different technique. "I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four," he said. That’s what I do now.