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By Scott Sullivan
Editor
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Too little sleep raises risk of depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s … zzzzz. I’d be less crass about this crisis du jour had I not been up all night sweating it.
We should be more conscious about the value of being unconscious. Sleep is essential. How do we know what we know if we don’t know what we do not?
Take Tom Brady, for whom I am frequently not mistaken. He has six Super Bowl rings, supermodel wife, mansions everywhere and swears he gets much of his edge from sleeping. Think it’s hard to “Be Like Mike” (Michael Jordan)? Try being “Calm Like Tom.”
A 1942 Gallup poll found adults slept an average 7.9 hours per night. By 2013 we slept less than seven. The Centers for Disease Control affirm that the less awake people are, the better.
How else is life going to hell? Take “Motorcycles are everywhere” signs. Up, down, left, right … arrgh! There’s no escaping!
What journalist worth assault doesn’t share alarms while they’re fresh as cow pie? Saying “Sleep tight or else” is the cherry on top for me.
The good news is a study just found playing “pink” noise — which is like white noise, with different frequencies — in a specific pattern increases time people spend in deep sleep, the most restorative.
Noise has colors? Think what black, blue, chartreuse and polka-dot may bring. As for patterns, how about The Knack’s song “My Sharona”? After hearing that, I might never want to wake up again.
Which ties in with Romeo, thought to be the world’s last Sehuencas water frog, finally finding his Juliet. After living alone for 10 years in a Bolivian museum, he was last heard performing his mating call two years ago. Scientists feared he had given up. Even putting Romeo’s profile on Match.com yielded nothing.
Last month five Sehuencas — three males, two females — were found in a cloud forest. Cupids hope Romeo and this new crew will create pink ribbet noise together and the pitter-patter of little hoppers’ webbed feet will once more be everywhere.
Look out for motorcycles! Now water frogs? We could all use a respite from consciousness. What if Romeo snores? I hear that sidetracks procreation.
I encountered Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride during a family trip to Disneyland 50 years ago. Based on the 1908 story “Wind in the Willows,” riders took mini-cars through Toad Hall with toad portraits, sculptures and stained-glass windows.
From there you’d collide in a kitchen with the Butler’s butt, launching you into the countryside where you saw Ratty’s house with a boat nearby.
After entering a town with signs telling you “turn back,” you encountered bright lights, police and a barrel room with barrels falling over. Next came a tunnel, then into a demon’s jaw with a flaming “welcome’ sign and devils at every corner. Then back to the loading area.
Who invents things like these? Someone rich … No one drives whimsy gravy trains like Disney. I didn’t go on this ride nor need to. Just imagining what it was, was enough for me.
I’ve thought of renaming this column after Mr. Toad’s ride. Its dreamlike changes defy waking logic, as I try to do her because, like deep sleep, it is restorative.
Most stories adhere to A-B-C narratives. It makes comprehension easier. But imposing such order is not how events always fall and can muddle what’s really happening.
So these columns skip: A-X-7-pi-times-the-radio … The more taxing the transitions, the more they invite imagining. That’s the threat as well.
The National Sleep Foundation will hold its first Public Expo March 8-10 in Houston. It will showcase medicines, mattresses, maybe even Tom Brady’s new line of Athletic Recovery Sleepwear using bioceramic particles that absorb infrared wavelengths emitted by the body.
Vendors work tirelessly to ensure we don’t die from lack of z’s disease. I could get in on this and make millions — maybe consult or consort with Tom’s wife while he snoozes — at what expense?
The best part of any ride —ask Mr. Toad or Romeo — is when we get off, it seems.