The Big Sleep

November 9, 2007

I’ve been thinking about hibernating this winter. I like cold weather-not too cold, of course. I don’t think I could ever live in a place where I’d have to buy a refrigerator to keep my food from freezing, but I like living in a place that has four distinct seasons, especially when those seasons are hot, really hot, insanely hot, and cold. At least sleeping through the winter would let me skip getting a cold this winter. I’m just not sure whether I should talk to my doctor about this first. Whenever I hear about some new great exercise device that’s guaranteed to make you lose seventy pounds in three weeks by working out for just fifteen seconds a day they always say, "Give us your credit card number and let us send you this device that looks like a cross between a can opener and a coat hanger for just eighteen easy payments of $2999.95 each!," but there’s also a little asterisk with the message, "Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program."

Should I consult my doctor before starting a non-exercise program, though? Imagine going in and saying, "Hey, doc, I’m planning on not doing anything for the next three months. Do you think my heart can take it?" And then there’s the diet. Like bears, squirrels, gophers, badgers, members of Congress, and other animals that spend several months in a comatose state I’ll have to bulk up, so I’ll also have to tell my doctor I’m doing to spend the next month or so eating eight to ten pounds of fried mushrooms and a block of Parmesan cheese every day. I’m just kidding. I’ll be varying my diet more than that. I’m sure even bears, who eat nothing but salmon in the Fall, would put more variety in their diets if they could. Most bears at some point probably even think, "Boy, I’d love a big, fat, slow-moving cheeseburger to swim upstream sometime".

But I digress. Aside from not getting a cold and being able to take all that vacation time I’ve saved up the other advantage of hibernating would be I’d be able to skip my birthday this year. I’m not exactly old, but I have reached an age people refer to as "getting on up there". I’ve reached an age where the songs I rocked out to as a teenager are now on the Golden Oldies station. There are now whole television shows devoted to the songs of my youth, and most of them have the phrase "Remember when?" somewhere in them. I haven’t reached the big milestone just yet, the one where people will send me approximately eight-thousand cards and greetings that all begin with "Lordy, Lordy", but I’m getting close, and I definitely want to skip that one. I don’t remember my father’s fortieth birthday party because I was too young to attend it, but I do remember that one of the gifts he got-I’m not making this up-was a device that would capture intestinal gas and transfer it through a long rubber tube so the gas could be used as fuel for a cigar lighter. My mother’s fortieth birthday party was a little better: she got a cake with black frosting. And it turned everyone’s teeth black, which meant a trip to the dentist. So you can understand why I might want to sleep through that birthday. On the other hand if I sleep through the whole winter I’ll miss a lot of other peoples’ birthdays, and I don’t want to do that. I have so many great gift ideas for people I know who have winter birthdays. For instance, I have this great cigar lighter my father gave me.

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