I am someone who carries around a bucket full o’ irrational fears with me most days. This bucket ‘o fears is less about feeling anxious, and more about feeling prepared for the unexpected. What would I do, for example, if the wheel fell off the car when I was driving down the highway? How would I subdue an injured flamingo that had escaped the zoo? Where would I bring a bag of money that I suspected had been stolen from a bank without being accused of being the bank robber?
Well recently I had the pleasure of learning first hand from my toddler what I would need to do if I ever encountered one of my all time favorite questions that ironically keeps me up at night: How would I keep someone awake if they had a concussion and were threatening to fall asleep while awaiting medical treatment?
Without further ado, I present to you:
A Toddler’s Guide To Keeping Someone Awake Under Extreme Circumstances:
1. The Bag O’ Snakes- This one is easy and quite effective. Simply place your legs under the covers, and then, with the force of 35 wild boas in a poacher’s pillowcase, thrash them about recklessly paying no regard to what they may come in contact with. Heel strikes to soft, delicate areas rank quite highly on the “Awakeness Scale,” but must be used with caution as to prevent further bodily harm.
2. The Corkscrew– Similar to the Bag O’ Snakes, but more subtle, and surprisingly much more annoying. Wedge your hands and feet under the patient’s body, and rotate at your ankles/wrists repeatedly until the second coming of Christ, or day-break, which ever happens first. Jabbing a gyrating fist into the armpit, or neck hole can really up the discomfort/annoyance level of this move.
3. The Telephone In A Tunnel– Good for people who are more auditory than tactile. Yell: “Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello?” over and over, even if they respond by acknowledging your greeting. The longer you do it, the more effective it is.
4. The Butt-On-Face- This is only to be used as a last resort, but it is a proven fact* that nobody can actually sleep with a butt on their face. To accomplish this, place your butt, clothing optional, directly on their face. It is not suggested you actually sit on their face, but rather gently nestle it up against their cheek. Be sure to really get it in there. The less distance between your respective cheeks, the better. (*No actual science was done to prove this “fact” except for one test where the recipient of the Butt-On-Face tactic did remain awake until the butt was removed.)
5. Elevator Going Up- To perform this move, simply jab one finger deep into the center of the affected person’s belly button repeatedly, as if impatiently summoning a questionably broken elevator. If worried about efficacy, use of your pointiest or jaggedist (yes, that’s a word) nail will increase the discomfort exponentially.
6. Drowning On Dry Land– This one is easier than it sounds, and no water is actually needed. Visualize the saddest thing you can imagine, i.e. finding an empty carton of ice cream sandwiches in the freezer when you knew there was one left, or, perhaps, sitting down on the couch and realizing you left the remote across the room. Really focus on this sadness until the tears start to flow, and then propagate further tears by thinking about more sad things, like how you felt when Mufasa died in the Lion King, or, how no matter what you do, you will always be struggling to keep up with this ridiculous economy because organic milk costs $5.50/gallon at Whole Foods and you actually don’t even know if drinking organic milk is any better, but you do it anyway because you’re terrified of your daughter growing boobs at the age of 8 because you were too cheap to buy organic milk because you were just trying to afford rent and maybe go to the movies once a year… Whoa, sorry. Anyways, do this until your face is a waterfall of emotion, and then drip them all over the person you are trying to keep awake, like a tiny, tragic, saltwater rain shower.
7. The Trust Fall- This technique is a bit risky, but serves the dual purpose of building trust and testing out the seriousness of patient’s condition. Paying zero regard to if you are going to hurt someone or yourself, stand up above the person, and collapse on to them with the full force of your body. Head to head? Elbow to face? Knee to groin? Anything is possible when you are essentially throwing your body at someone else, but the surprise factor certainly keeps the recipient on their toes (even if they are laying on their back).
Got any time honored techniques for keeping someone awake? I’d love to hear them.