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It’s 2:51 A.M. Can You Fall Asleep?

This is your bed.

Your bed is one of the most comfortable places in your apartment to fall asleep. The only times you don’t sleep in your bed are when you are on vacation or staying at a friend’s house. Tonight you are at home, so you are going to sleep in your bed.

You stayed up very late tonight preparing your big presentation for tomorrow. You work at the company that comes up with slogans for salad, and if you do well on this presentation, your boss says you will start getting paid.

Tomorrow morning you will pitch “My Vegetables Are Damp With Pleasure” as the new slogan for salad. But tonight, you need some sleep.

Your alarm is set for 6 a.m. sharp.

It is currently 2:51 in the morning, so you need to fall asleep as quickly as you can. You only have a few hours to get all the restful sleep you need before your big day.

The stakes have never been higher for you, so please fall asleep immediately.

You close your eyes as hard as you can and attempt to fall asleep, but you’re having a little trouble. What would you like to do?

Hmm. You have successfully turned your entire body, but you did not fall asleep.

Ah, tossing didn’t work either. Looks like you’ll need to fall asleep the old-fashioned way—by not moving at all.

Hmm. You have successfully tossed your entire body, but you did not fall asleep.

Ah, turning didn’t work either. Looks like you’ll need to fall asleep the old-fashioned way—by not moving at all.

As you tense up your entire body and prepare to not move a single muscle until morning, a thought flashes through your brain:

You forgot to brush your teeth.

*Ding-dong.*

Someone has rung your doorbell! It’s almost 3 a.m.—who could it be?

*DING-DONG.*

Your visitor has rung the doorbell again, and this time they have somehow made the bell much louder.

“Hello. My name is David Jenkins, I’m a volunteer dentist, and I’m going door to door to remind people about the importance of oral health. May I ask if you brushed your teeth tonight?”

“Please do not scream at me in front of my family,” David says, as his wife, parents, and children reveal themselves from around a corner.

You feel a massive pang of guilt. You did not know they were there and would never intentionally harm the three generations of family that stand before you.

“Apology accepted,” the man says. “But please, if you have not already done so tonight, brush your teeth immediately.”

You assure the man that you will, give him $50 for his troubles, and bid his family goodnight.

“I really want to believe you,” the man responds. “But I think you might be lying to me. Go to the bathroom and get your toothbrush so I can feel if it’s wet.”

“Please, do not ever lie to me in front of my family,” the stranger responds, as his wife, parents, and children reveal themselves from around the corner. “Go brush your teeth right now.”

You apologize profusely to the three generations of family standing before you, give the man $50 for his troubles, and shut the door.

You walk into your bathroom and flip on the lights. Yikes! You forgot how bright the bathroom is. Now you’re even more awake than you already were. Better make this quick.

What kind of toothpaste would you like to use tonight?

Excellent choice! This toothpaste was created as part of a promotion for the 2006 reboot of The Pink Panther, and Beyoncé still hands them out at all of her concerts to remind fans that she starred in the film.

Buongiorno! You’ll feel like you’re riding a gondola down the canals of Venice as you brush your teeth with the colors of the Italian flag.

Okay. It’s currently 3:02 a.m., and you have to be up in less than three hours for your presentation. In the interest of time, how would you like to brush your teeth?

The vast majority of the teeth in your mouth are just spares, so let’s narrow this down to the five that most desperately need a cleaning tonight. Which of these teeth would you like to brush?

Smart choice! With proper brushing and flossing, your Oral Horn can sometimes grow up to 3 feet in length.

Nice choice! People usually get their Vanessa’s Molar around age 13, when an adorable preteen girl shows up at their front door and shoves it deep down into their gums. The young girl’s name is Sarah.

Ah, the Lateral Wisp. Perhaps the most ephemeral of the teeth in your mouth. It barely exists, yet it needs constant brushing. Careful not to brush too hard, or you might corrode the mist.

Excellent choice. Your mouth actually has two Lil’ Biters, as circled in the image above. But time is of the essence tonight, so you should only choose one to brush.

Wise choice. Your Essential Tooth exists absolutely everywhere in your mouth, and is imperative for countless functions including slurping, grinding, stroking, gnawing, and milking.

Brushing every single tooth in your mouth is an arduous process, typically lasting anywhere from four to seven hours. But you’ve got to be up bright and early tomorrow, so please make this as quick as possible.

The American Dental Association (usually abbreviated as Amrcn Dntl Assctn) provides an easy mnemonic to help you brush your teeth. All you have to do is remember your ABCs:

Assess your mouth.

Brush your mouth.

Close your mouth.

Ready?

1) Assess your mouth.

Open your mouth (or any hole with teeth in it) and examine it in the mirror.

Count to make sure that all your teeth are still there. Log any missing teeth in your Brusher’s Journal. If a tooth feels particularly sharp, smooth, or regular, write it down. Give each tooth a name, and do not use the same name twice. Log these names in your journal as well, and then dispose of the journal immediately.

2) Brush your mouth.

Firmly grasp your toothbrush with your non-dominant** hand, and slowly apply bristle to bone. Scrub until no bristles remain on the brush.

**IF YOU ARE AMBIDEXTROUS, DO NOT BRUSH YOUR TEETH.

3) Close your mouth.

Spit out any remaining toothpaste, blood, or gum skin into the sink, and then close your mouth to prevent a bug from entering it.

All done brushing! And it only took a few minutes. Well done.

The time is now 3:10 a.m., so please get back into bed immediately. You really need to get some rest before your big day.

Great pick! Nature’s Elegance proudly sources its toothpaste only from ingredients that animals or plants have secreted into a farmer’s hand.

Awesome! Patriot’s Choice toothpaste has been an American favorite since the year 1776. Rumor has it John Adams used this star-spangled toothpaste before he hacked Paul Revere to bits with an ax.

Excellent choice. Did you know that Mint Authenticity toothpaste has more mint per serving than three pounds of beef?

You don’t want big bags under your eyes as you stand up in front of the entire company tomorrow and pitch your slogan for salad. That means you need to fall asleep ASAP. You should have been in bed hours ago. Time is running out.

Suddenly, you remember something:

Your boss said that if you don’t do well on your presentation, he is going to punish you by coming to your next family dinner and slapping a chicken drumstick out of your grandmother’s feeble, arthritic hands.

He’s done things like this to your family before, so you know he really means it.

Speaking of chicken:

When you were 12, someone at school showed you a video of a monk setting himself on fire, and your classmate remarked that his burning flesh resembled that of a rotisserie chicken.

When you got home that night, your mom had made drumsticks for dinner.

You don’t know why, but you ate 15 chicken drumsticks that night. Your mom said it was the most food she had ever seen you eat. She seemed proud as she watched you, but she didn’t know about the monk thing. You wanted to throw up the whole time, but you just kept going.

Why did you do that?

After that night, your mom started making chicken drumsticks for every single one of your birthdays. She thinks they are your favorite food. There’s so much your mother doesn’t know about you, come to think of it.

Last week, you saw a monk at your local mall. And although you’ll never say it out loud, it made you fucking ravenous.

It seems as though you’re having some trouble falling asleep. What would you like to do?

Are you sure? Your doctor did give you a loose handful of sleeping pills at your last physical, but she warned you that taking them could be extremely dangerous. She even made you sign a waiver agreeing that she was an idiot for giving them to you. Remember?

You walk into your bathroom and flip on the lights again. Ugh. You always forget how bright it is in here.

It’s a good thing you’re about to take a pill that will make you fall asleep, even if it carries a small risk of making your organs explode.

You reach for the pile of assorted pills that your doctor, Mrs. Virginia, gave you. You hold them in your hands.

You’ve been saving these pills for the perfect moment. You’ve never needed to fall asleep as badly as you do tonight.

Suddenly, it occurs to you:

Mrs. Virginia never gave you a bottle with these pills. She just slipped the whole handful right into your cargo pants as you were kissing her goodbye.

Without a bottle, you don’t have any directions on how to take the pills.

You take a magnifying glass from your medicine cabinet and hover it above the pills.

Bingo. Each pill is inscribed with the exact same message.

HELLO, AND WELCOME TO MRS. VIRGINIA’S SLEEPING PILLS!

PLEASE USE ONLY AS DIRECTED.

TAKE ONE SPOONFUL OF PILLS WITH DINNER, OR WHILE THINKING ABOUT WHAT IT IS LIKE TO EAT DINNER.

IF YOU DO NOT DIE IMMEDIATELY AFTER TAKING THESE PILLS, THAT IS GREAT. YOU WILL ENJOY A RESTFUL NIGHT’S SLEEP.

DO NOT OPERATE HEAVY MACHINERY AFTER TAKING. IT IS THE ONLY RULE.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MRS. VIRGINIA, PLEASE SEE REVERSE SIDE OF THIS PILL.

ABOUT MRS. VIRGINIA

AS A SELF-DESCRIBED MEDICAL DOCTOR, MRS. VIRGINIA IS WILLING TO PRACTICE ANY FIELD OF MEDICINE YOU THROW HER WAY. SHE DECIDED TO BECOME A DOCTOR IN THE MID-TO-LATE NINETIES, AFTER DISCOVERING THAT SHE HAD A TRUE PASSION FOR TELLING PEOPLE THEY HAVE SCOLIOSIS. MRS. VIRGINIA WAS BORN AND RAISED IN THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, WHICH IS HOW SHE GOT THE IDEA FOR HER NAME.

Remember: You’re supposed to take these pills with dinner. But since you already ate your dinner hours ago, Mrs. Virginia says that you can just take them while imagining what it is like to eat dinner.

Chicken drumsticks…Saigon…salty and savory…oh God, a gallon of gasoline…sour cream dipping sauce…the flames licking flesh…room for seconds, thirds…he isn’t even screaming, why isn’t he screaming…that signature buffalo kick…the dark smoke, it won’t stop…marinated overnight…make it stop, please God…why…why…

why…

Okay! Down the hatch!

Congratulations. You have successfully swallowed the entire spoonful of pills, and you did not die. This is a major relief—it is logistically impossible to fall asleep when you are dead.

It usually takes about 30 minutes for the effects of a sleeping pill to fully kick in. What would you like to do in the meantime?

Technically, Mrs. Virginia advises against operating heavy machinery after taking her pills. But just once is probably fine, if you’re careful.

What heavy machine would you like to operate this evening?

You walk into your garage and take a seat in your tank. You figure you’ll just take it for a little joyride around the neighborhood. Driving always makes you sleepy.

Admittedly, you’re already feeling a little bit woozy from Mrs. Virginia’s pills. But one little drive around the block won’t hurt.

You walk into your garage and take a seat in your crane. You figure you’ll just take it for a little joyride around the neighborhood. Driving always makes you sleepy.

Admittedly, you’re already feeling a little bit woozy from Mrs. Virginia’s pills. But one little drive around the block won’t hurt.

You walk into your garage and take a seat in your tractor. You figure you’ll just take it for a little joyride around the neighborhood. Driving always makes you sleepy.

Admittedly, you’re already feeling a little bit woozy from Mrs. Virginia’s pills. But one little drive around the block won’t hurt.

You walk into your garage and take a seat in your forklift. You figure you’ll just take it for a little joyride around the neighborhood. Driving always makes you sleepy.

Admittedly, you’re already feeling a little bit woozy from Mrs. Virginia’s pills. But one little drive around the block won’t hurt.

As you start to rev up the engine, you suddenly lose all concept of time, matter, and space. Your vision blurs, you begin to drool, and it is taking every ounce of energy in your body not to fall asleep right at the wheel. What would you like to do?

Are you sure? Your entire objective this evening has been to fall asleep, and now you are actively fighting to stay awake. Tomorrow you will pitch the new slogan for salad. Don’t you want to be well-rested?

You have everything to lose and nothing to gain by doing this.

Well, all right. Just be careful not to hit the big tree on your way out of the garage.

This was the responsible decision. You are clearly feeling the effects of Mrs. Virginia’s pills, and you could fall asleep right now if you wanted to. What would you like to do?

You hit the tree and died. You did not fall asleep.

The next day at work, a state police officer showed up to deliver the somber news to your coworkers that your presentation would have to be canceled. They were completely devastated, and through their tears they asked the officer if he had any ideas for a slogan for salad. He humbly offered them “Where Vegetables Get Quarantined,” and they immediately offered him a paid position. He now makes $120,000 a year.

You were buried in an unmarked grave.

Well, you’ve really stepped in it this time. You fixed yourself a little pre-bedtime espresso, and it has completely reversed the effects of Mrs. Virginia’s pills.

Look, time is really running out. You have to be up for work so soon, and you’re never going to give a decent presentation if you can’t get a little sleep.

You walk into your TV room and press the power button on the remote control. Nothing happens. That’s weird.

You press the button again, and this time nothing happens even more.

You look up and realize with horror: Your television isn’t anywhere to be found. Where would you have left it?

With no idea where your television might be, you start to panic. You immediately reach for the phone.

An operator answers your call right away.

“911. What is your emergency?”

“Hmm.” The operator thinks for a moment. “Did you leave it at the beach?”

Suddenly, you remember: You did leave it at the beach, when you went on vacation there last year.

“No problem,” she says. “Maybe I’ll see you around sometime. Bye.”

She hangs up.

Alas, you had completely forgotten that you left your TV at the beach. Seeing as you have to be up for work in just a few hours and the closest beach is over 5,000 miles away, you should probably just cut your losses on this one.

Alas! You suddenly realize that you must have left your television at the beach. Seeing as you have to be up for work in just a few hours and the closest beach is over 5,000 miles away, you should probably just cut your losses on this one.

Great choice! Counting sheep is an incredibly effective way to debilitate yourself.

Consider, for example, the story of Noah’s Ark: When Noah tried to count two sheep to put on his ship, he immediately fell into a deep, restful sleep in the grass. In fact, Noah fell asleep so hard that he ended up sleeping straight through the storm. He drowned in the subsequent flood, and that is why all sheep go to hell when they die.

Counting sheep is easy to do. The only skills you need are the ability to count numbers and a general knowledge of what sheep look like. If you can do those two things, you can fall asleep in no time.

To begin, please return to your bed, turn off the lights, and close your eyes.

In a moment, your brain will show you a series of sheep. Your only responsibility is to count them. In the event of a counting error, your tally will reset, and you will be required to start over.

It is imperative that you count the sheep as carefully and precisely as possible so that you can be well-rested for your big day tomorrow. Most importantly, remember to relax and have fun.

When you have successfully counted eight sheep, you will become comatose.

Please meet your first sheep, Denise.

Denise is one sheep.

Meet your second sheep, Craig. Much like Denise, Craig is a singular sheep and should be added to your count accordingly.

Count this sheep, and your total will be brought to two sheep.

CRISIS

You have imagined a boar. This animal cannot be added to your tally. Please remove it from your brain.

Your third sheep of the evening is Ramona. Ramona is worth one (1) sheep. Failure to count Ramona as one sheep (including counting her as multiple sheep, no sheep, or a fraction of a sheep) would result in an immediate termination of this round.

After you count Ramona, your total sheep tally will be brought to three sheep.

ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED

You have successfully counted three sheep out of the required eight. In this next challenge, you will have an opportunity to double your score.

TRIPLE SHEEP CHALLENGE

Standing before you are Marissa, Tamra, and Wayne. Together they total three sheep and are worth three times as many sheep as one sheep.

If you successfully count Marissa, Tamra, and Wayne, your tally will be brought to six sheep.

You’re doing incredible. You only need two more sheep to successfully complete the challenge. Do not choke now.

Standing before you is Dolores. Dolores is one sheep.

Can you count Dolores? If you do, you’ll be just one sheep away from the greatest night’s sleep of your life.

THE ULTIMATE TEST OF CHARACTER

Please open your eyes.

At the very start of this task, you were told that you must count every single sheep that you saw. This final challenge is a test of your personal integrity.

The last sheep you counted was Dolores. How many sheep stood behind her?

Answer correctly, and you will have successfully counted all the sheep you need to fall asleep right now. Get it wrong, and you will have to start over.

That is correct! There were seven sheep standing behind Dolores, and you have proven yourself pure of heart by counting them all.

You have successfully counted all the sheep you need to fall asleep. What would you like to do?

That is incorrect. There were seven sheep standing behind Dolores, and you would know that if you had counted them as you were told from the start. Let’s hope you handle your presentation tomorrow a bit better than you handled this challenge.

At this point, you have two options: Find a new way to lull yourself to sleep, or repeat this challenge.

Either way, this is a very disappointing result.

Good idea! Warm milk is a hot, creamy, and delicious way to concuss yourself. It’s the perfect method for falling asleep before your big presentation tomorrow.

As luck would have it, just the other night you saw Martha Stewart prepare her own special recipe for warm milk on live, national TV. You can probably find the recipe on her professional website.

You go to Martha Stewart’s website and click the leftmost tab, MARTHA’S MILKS. Within seconds, you are taken to a page with recipes for thousands upon thousands of various milks. And the one at the very top reads “Recipe For Warm Milk.”

Bingo.

Martha Stewart’s Recipe For Warm Milk

This recipe has always been a Stewart family favorite. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Ingredients:

  • Cow
  • Extreme heat

Milk the cow all the way to completion. Take whatever the cow gives you, and put it on top of the extreme heat. Bring to a boil. Serve with an old, filthy rag for your drippings.

If you do not have access to a cow, many stores sell milk in their dairy aisle, next to all the yogurt.

In conclusion, this has been the recipe for warm milk. Goodbye.

Well, that sounds simple enough.

Sourcing your milk right from a cow might make it taste fresher, but the nearest dairy farm is at least 100 miles away, and you need to be at work in just a few hours. What would you like to do?

Oh no. You forgot that your kitchen is broken because you left the window open during a thunderstorm last year. That means you have no working refrigerator. And without a refrigerator, there is no milk.

It’s the middle of the night, so you can’t exactly run to the store. What would you like to do?

First thing’s first. You must look up your neighbor’s address. Which neighbor do you want to rob?

Aw. Your poor neighbor’s address is 42 Poverty Lane.

Okay. You have to make this quick. Get in and get out. Straight to the fridge, and no dilly-dallying. You need to find your neighbor’s milk, bring it home, heat it up, and go to bed.

If you don’t fall asleep soon, you never will.

You quietly and discretely smash through every single window in your poor neighbor’s house with a mallet, until you find the window that leads to the kitchen.

You hoist yourself inside their poor-as-shit home, being very careful not to cut yourself on the glass, which would only wake you up even more.

You quietly and discretely smash through every single window in your rich neighbor’s house with a mallet, until you find the window that leads to the kitchen.

You hoist yourself inside their rich-as-hell home, being very careful not to cut yourself on the glass, which would only wake you up even more.

Your poor neighbor has two gallons of milk.

You slip the two milks into your bag and creep out the front door, which you did not realize was actually unlocked this whole time. You will keep that in mind should you ever decide to rob your poor neighbor again. Live and learn.

You slip one milk into your bag and creep out the front door, which you did not realize was actually unlocked this whole time. You will keep that in mind should you ever decide to rob your poor neighbor again. Live and learn.

Aha! The rich neighbor’s address is 1 Mansion Lane. That figures.

Okay. You have to make this quick. Get in and get out. Straight to the fridge, and no dilly-dallying. You need to find your neighbor’s milk, bring it home, heat it up, and go to bed.

If you don’t fall asleep soon, you never will.

Just as you suspected. Your wealthy neighbor has more milk than you can even fathom.

You slip all 82 gallons of milk into your bag and creep out the front door, which you did not realize was actually unlocked this whole time. You will keep that in mind should you ever decide to rob your rich neighbor again. Live and learn.

You slip one gallon of milk into your bag and creep out the front door, which you did not realize was actually unlocked this whole time. You will keep that in mind should you ever decide to rob your rich neighbor again. Live and learn.

You return home after committing your milk crime and place your spoils on the floor. You quickly consult Martha’s recipe again on the computer.

The first ingredient for warm milk is a cow, which you have successfully circumvented the need for, via theft.

But the second ingredient on Martha’s list will be much harder to avoid if you want your milk to be properly warmed:

Extreme heat.

How would you like to obtain heat?

Have you forgotten? Your kitchen is broken because of the thunderstorm. Having a functioning stove is a privilege, not a right, and you completely blew it when you left your window open for 20 minutes during a downpour.

You have no working heat source in your kitchen. What would you like to do?

Great idea. Fire is one of the hottest things in the world, second only to the sun, which is actually made up of—yep, you guessed it—1 million fires. Fire is certainly hot enough to warm up some milk, so starting one right here in your living room should suit Martha Stewart’s recipe just fine.

If it seems like a daunting task to start a fire, rest assured: It’s actually quite simple. In fact, the name “fire” derives from the acronym ‘Fire Is Remarkably Easy,’ because the people who made up the English language were so impressed by how little skill or experience is required to start a fire.

Furthermore, fire was actually man’s first invention, long before he had invented schools or universities. This proves that you do not need any sort of formal education in order to start a fire.

Fire is the one thing that anyone can make.

You are welcome.

On the flip side, starting an uncontrolled fire in your living room could potentially burn down your entire house, which would make it virtually impossible to fall asleep tonight.

Considering how early you need to be up tomorrow, and how desperately you need some sleep before the big presentation, are you sure you want to set your house on fire?

The first step in setting your living room on fire is saying goodbye to your couch. Your couch is almost certainly going to be destroyed in this blaze, and as the heaviest object in your entire home, it demands a certain level of respect before you burn it.

Please, take this moment to say a final goodbye to your couch.

You have successfully said farewell to your couch. The next step in making the fire is selecting your tools. How would you like to start the fire today?

Wise choice. Leaving an iron on is probably the safest way to start a fire, because if it gets out of hand, investigators will likely just rule it an accident.

All right. Just so you know, the only sticks you have at home right now are hockey sticks, and those are much larger than the sticks you would normally use to start a fire.

But then again, when it comes to fire, the bigger, the better.

Nice choice. A lighter is probably the easiest way to start a fire, at least on such short notice.

Well done! The fire has consumed your entire couch and is slowly making its way up the curtains and walls.

Be careful not to stare directly at the blaze, as it’s very bright and will probably really wake you up. The more tired you can stay while you prepare your warm milk, the better. That way you can just hop right into bed and crash.

The fire is truly hypnotizing. Just look at the way it crackles and curls. The heat emanates and envelops you. You reach out your hand to touch one of the dancing flames—no. You will not touch it. You must not touch the fire.

For you are not the monk.

The fire is strangely beautiful. How sad it would be to extinguish a fire as marvelous as the one you have created tonight.

You grab a nearby chair and throw it on top of the fire to sustain it. Warm milk be damned. Sleep be damned. It is the fire’s time to shine.

The fire will soon consume your entire home. That is okay. You don’t need it anymore. You don’t need anything anymore.

As you stare into the flames, your life’s true purpose begins to come into view. You feel a sense of clarity that most people spend their entire lives trying to find.

Let your worldly possessions burn. You are going to become a monk.

Unfortunately, you did not fall asleep tonight. Your house burned down to the ground, and the next day you moved to a monastery to begin a new life of prayer and contemplation.

The life of a monk suits you well. You can’t believe that just a few months ago you were so desperate to join the rat race of corporate America. You were just a cog in the wheel. But now, you spend every day amongst nature, you are completely at peace with your demons, and you have promised yourself that you will never go back.

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It’s working! Your milk has been properly warmed! Martha would be very proud.

Nice work. Just stamp out these final bits of fire and deal with the cleanup in the morning.

You sip your warm milk and gaze peacefully out of the part of your living room window that did not melt in the blaze.

You see day breaking across the horizon. Your alarm clock will be ringing soon, and you desperately need to sleep.

As you pull the covers up to your shoulders and snuggle yourself into a comfortable position, you finally feel yourself dozing off to sleep. It has been such a long night.

Congratulations, you successfully fell asleep!

You woke up right at 6 a.m. the next morning, and your presentation went off without a hitch. Your boss absolutely loved “My Vegetables Are Damp With Pleasure” and immediately made it the slogan for all salads worldwide. He heaped endless amounts of praise on you in the boardroom and even mentioned seven different times in his feedback how extremely well-rested you seemed today. He offered you a salary of $120,000 per year, plus you will start getting free salads wherever they are sold. Nicely done!

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Your kitchen looks absolutely beautiful, but it is now three months later and you have not slept a wink.

You were fired from your job for truancy, and your boss did indeed show up at your next family dinner to slap a chicken drumstick out of your grandmother’s old, arthritic hands as punishment. You didn’t even come to that dinner because you were too busy looking at tile samples for the backsplash. Your grandmother now has to wear an Ace bandage on her wrist for the next six weeks. Nice going, asshole.

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