My father observed a bizarre ritual during my childhood. Every autumn Saturday, he'd sit down in his recliner with a submarine sandwich and a great deal of excitement.
"I've been looking forward this all week," he'd declare, switching the channel to his beloved Purdue Boilermakers. He'd consume an impressive amount of smoked meats while Keith Jackson broke the pre-game down. And then, as the opening kick rose into the skies over West Lafayette, he'd slide into a coma; making a sound a jellyfish would make if it was sucked into a central vacuum system.
I always thought he was looking forward to the game. But middle age (and a better understanding of Purdue football) have taught me: It was the nap.
There's something marvelous about the weekend nap. It's every man's revenge against the working week. Yes, we will shoulder the load Monday through Friday: rising early, wearing ties, being mules for the Protestant work ethic. But Saturday is ours, to rip off the yolk of responsibility and let our wild sides roar! ... and if we're at an age where things no longer rip or roar, we reserve the right to lose consciousness on the sofa, to everyone's great inconvenience.
The nap is manly behavior at its most feral and inert. There you are, middle of the house, middle of the weekend, changing everyone's traffic patterns, making noises that embarrass the book group and frighten the dog. A lesser household figure might be prodded off to a bedroom. But they don't pay the mortgage, do they? So there you remain, drooling, rumpled and blissfully undisturbed.
Most of us don't seek naps out - they just kind of find us. One moment, you're casually seated on the couch, rewarding your morning yard work with a cold, malt-based beverage. Next thing you know, you're face-first into an accent pillow, the world is turned sideways and the dog is licking crumbs off your shirt.
It takes men a while to embrace the nap. Young men rise with guilt, knowing they have "gone starfish" on the sofa with so many home fix-it projects hanging fire. But middle age teaches us there will ALWAYS be home fix-it projects hanging fire! The job jar is perpetually refilled by an evil, hidden spring. It will last one chore longer than your life expectancy, and your headstone will probably wear Post-it notes. In this context, napping becomes the ultimate passive resistance. "Maybe I can't change the world," the napper says, "but I don't have to be awake through all of it."
So nap proudly, you somnambulant suburban males! Snore till the fancy china rattles, and wear those "couch marks" on your face with pride! Smack your lips loudly when you finally rise and say something aggravating like, "I guess I fell asleep."
You aren't "keeling over" so much as "marking your territory."
There are other ways to do it. But this is the least disgusting.