Channel the entity "Jeff Parker" from beyond the Ether

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Sleepy Origins 

Tonight on my favorite non-NPR radio show, Loveline, Adam Carolla made a good point about sleep. In essence, the world is made for people who sleep on their backs, and everyone else has a tough road to hoe. He falls into the side-sleeping category, typically light sleepers who are always having their night ruined by sounds such as dripping water or mousefarts, and they usually end up with back problems to boot. The snoring of back sleepers like myself are their greatest curse. We who could fall asleep at a racetrack if the seat declined enough, and won't wake up for earthquakes or sirens. Our greatest benefit is being able to doze through cross-country flights. That's like upgrading your accomodations on your own.

I used to be a fetal sleeper years ago, and like so many people I was converted by a medical injury. At 15 I crashed a moped ( I don't blame my pal Dean anymore for wiggling on the back, I was simply going too fast), got my leg caught between the pedal and the hotplate, and burned my skin down to near bone. I somehow convinced myself it wasn't that bad for about a day, and since I had no nerve endings anymore, my stupidity won out. I wasn't supposed to be on the moped, which is why I was hiding the injury-- only a teenager fears getting in trouble over their health. Then I got up from a nap (on my side of course) and fell when I tried to walk. Mom took me to the hospital and soon I was laid up for the whole summer with a skin graft and a big cast. My leg had to stay elevated, and there was no way for me to lay but on my back. It was hell at first, but by the time the cast came off, I couldn't sleep any other way.

Of course, the other benefit of that summer was that I did nothing but draw full-sized comics while laying there. There is the crucial point where I went from being a dilletante to a kid who had logged a few hundred hours at the board, getting bad art out of my system and getting firmly on the road to realizing that storytelling is a process of many steps. I've since found that lots of artists have a history of injury or ailment that rendered them unable to do anything else but draw or write. It's a fine substitute for dedication and discipline, more qualities teenagers are usually short on. Someday I'll dig out that Swamp Thing epic that I produced on the couch and scan it in. You will truly believe that Practice is Everything.

Now I think I'll lay back and go unconscious within five minutes. At least you side-sleepers don't drive everyone insane by sounding like a 2-cycle engine at night, so enjoy not being poked in the ribs.


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