Way, way back in college, I didn’t sleep a lot. I also smoked a pack a day, drank a tureen of Diet Coke, and literally could not be made to understand the health benefits of drinking water (ie. drink it or you’ll die), so I think I was dehydrated a lot.
During this time, my friends and I identified The Four Stages Of Dan’s Exhaustion, which would creep in after I spent any day telling people how little sleep I had gotten the night before. You may identify yourself in many of these stages, as I think the human response to lack of sleep is pretty standard. But literally, every time I didn’t get enough sleep, I walked through the valley of the following:
STAGE ONE: EUPHORIA
Man, I was a hoot and a holler during this one. You know when you’re so tired you feel like you have to compensate for the tiredness and you just become an even more manic version of your already insane self? College Dan sure did! Sure, it’s fun like drugs to feel unhinged from yourself and reality, but apparently not for others around me, who, rumor has it, would start referring to me conversationally as “Dan Loud” during these spells. Which is a delicious pun.
STAGE TWO: ANGER
This would come in flashes, directly out of the euphoria, at the moment I was least expecting it. I would be perfectly fine, walking and talking, drinking a twenty-ouncer of DC, and all of a sudden…Mr. Hyde. Someone would be all, “Man, I have a lot of work to do,” and instead of amiably screaming in reply, “MAN, TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT, AM I RIGHT?” I would veer straight off the politeness cliff and bellow, “Yeah, and good luck getting into the library with that fucking cross strapped to your back.” Then I would roll my eyes. Then I would mumble, kind of confused, “God, I am really tired.” This is also approximately where I would get around to finally taking a shower, but you know how when you’re really tired you never, ever, ever feel clean?
STAGE THREE: PARANOIA
The constant, creeping belief that every room I walked into contained everyone saying everything about me that was mean to say, ever. Much of this paranoia was probably warranted, however, due to the sheer asshole quality I exhibited with such style back in Stage #2.
STAGE FOUR: TEARS
“Sniff. Jeez. Sorry. I’m so sorry. I really am. I didn’t mean to yell. I have so much work to do. I’m — man — I’m so out of it. I’m — have I told you I didn’t even get three hours of sleep last night? I know. Crazy. But seriously. It’s no excuse. My exhaustion is not your problem. I shouldn’t have made it that way. I’m just really burnt out. So much work to do. So much. Sigh. Thanks for the tissue. Nice. You’re nice. Sniff. Anyway. Wanna go smoke a cigarette? I have, like, a shitload left to do.”