At any given moment, scientists are conducting sleep studies using rats. They're letting the rats sleep, then prodding them awake, then letting them sleep, and so on. Question: Why don't they ditch the rats and just use Americans on Thanksgiving Day? That's when every one of us is also forced into the most insane sleep-wake cycle imaginable.
SLEEP: To fully cook a turkey paradoxically larger than the oven itself, we rise at 5 a.m. The sleep deficit gets us dozing.
WAKE: Guests arrive, and we’re so glad to see them we perk up. We unpack their convivial boxes of Asti Spumante. We talk at warp speed to catch up on Botox procedures and bar mitzvahs.
SLEEP: Due to lack of judgment induced by onion dip overdose, we look directly at the Thanksgiving Day Parade. It hypnotizes us with the soporific pace of a gigantic lumbering Sponge Bob Square Pants being passed on the left by an earthworm.
WAKE: We switch to the football game. Westbrook takes a handoff from McNabb…he runs for 70 yards…touchdown! Everyone dances wildly, overturning both the onion dip and the spooked Rottweiler. The last time you were this awake you were freebasing nutmeg in college. More stimulation ensues during commercial breaks as personified beer bottles shake it to Shakira.
SLEEP: We ingest turkey. Due to its natural sleep enzymes, even the hyperactive kids' faces end up plunged into cranberry remains for a catnap.
WAKE: Sleepy cousins have to drive home eventually, so we make coffee. Soon everyone is playing foosball without a foosball table and making Obama sculptures out of the cold mashed yams.
SLEEP: Dessert time. The sugar high of pumpkin pie rebounds into lows so low that guests pass out in corners coated with each others’ cinnamon-spiked drool.
WAKE: We argue with spouses over who should clean up. We play earsplitting Santana while scouring pans and shoving leftover turkey into fridges already suffocating from barrelfuls of "underrated" rutabaga stuffing.
SLEEP: Time for after-dinner drinks. We break out the Baileys and the Smirnoff and let a little lull us to sleep, perchance, to dream of sending the visiting Baileys and Smirnoffs home.
WAKE: Our guests didn’t drive all this way to not play Trivial Pursuit. We have a spirited match that takes us well into the 5 a.m. range.
SLEEP: We've been up for 24 hours. We fall asleep at once.
WAKE: At 6 a.m. on Black Friday, our shopping klatches phone us. The stores are primed for holiday spending. The gang’s coming to pick us up for some defensive crowd dodging and that contest where you see who can sneak in a lap dance while sitting with Mall Santa.
THE END: We decide to skip the shopping and with great empathy go rescue a few rats from the nearest sleep laboratory instead.