Sunday, September 13, 2009

Absorbing Ability 9/14/09

Much deep thinking makes me sleepy.

DB - The Vagabond
Step this way.
Beth says that some of the things I write make her brain hurt. I can relate to that. I'm very familiar with the pain in the brain. I have found that many complicated problems can, if not be solved, at least be eased by a good nap. And yet I knew someone who carried sleeping a big step further and actually solved complicated problems in his sleep.

This is about one of the most interesting people I've ever been blessed to know, a college roommate named John. I don't know all the facts about John's life but for the few years I knew him I got to experience the activities of an eccentric genius.

He came to college knowing three languages and became a classical studies major. He graduated in 3 years. He quickly mastered Greek and Latin, He memorized and recited ancient poetry at great length. He went through all the courses of the Classics Department in 2 years and took on special translation assignments.

In the meantime he mastered everything else he set his mind to. He was an actor in the Drama Department productions. He fulfilled his science requirement in his second year by taking an advanced mathematics course. When he was a teenager he had made the money for his college education by playing pool. During one summer he took a job selling encyclopedias, sold his allotted number by midsummer, sold the one he was given as a bonus, then sold magazine subscriptions door to door.

He fulfilled his Phys Ed requirement in his final year by learning tennis.

Besides his knowledge of languages and all the other things he did he could talk at length about world history and he was knowledgable opera lover.

But John had one major flaw. Once asleep it was impossible to wake him up until he decided to wake up. I got a phone call for him one day while he was napping. No amount of shaking him or pounding his head on the pillow would do it. He bought an alarm clock with two bells on the top of it and a hammer that went back and forth striking them. It would ring until it ran out of power. He tried mounting it on a pie tin to increase the sound. The whole contraption slid off his desk and crashed to the floor. He never heard it.

What was worse was that he was a sleep walker. He would start talking in his sleep, or appear out of his room and start doing things. You could swear he was awake. But he didn't respond to anyone. He might start doing things and then stop and go back to bed. One day he came out, fully dressed, lit up a cigarette, turned on the shower, got into it, stepped back out, turning it off, placed the soaking wet cigarette carefully in an ash tray and went back to bed, sound asleep the whole time.

But the brain didn't stop when he was asleep. One night I saw that his light was still on after he had gone to sleep. I went in to turn it off. He sat up in bed and started dictating a mathematical problem and its solution. I wrote it down on his pad and when he was finished his head went back down on the pillow, he never woke up. In the morning he was puzzled to find the math written out and thought I had done it.

I and his other roommates got used to him and his odd behavior. But one day he got married. She was a simple girl, a dairy farmer's daughter, but she knew just what buttons to push and chains to pull, and from then on when it was time for John to be up and awake he was up and awake.

May you have a joyful week.

This is not a contest.

A young man out west just took home 88 million dollars from the lottery.

Whether you play the lottery or not, if you suddenly had 88 million dollars, or the equivalent of whatever your currency is, what are the first three things you would do with it?

You have all summer to answer if you wish.

21 responses so far.



Beth said...

Haha! I guess it depends on when I read your entry...sometimes it makes my mind race, and other times I just can't connect the dots. I guess my response depends on my level of fatigue and possibly my levels of blood sugar!

I recall you writing about your roommate before. I find that sort of genius mentality both fascinating and scary. Hugs, Beth

Joann said...

That IS fascinating, but also scary as Beth said!! Glad his wife learned how to handle his sleep behavior!! Very interesting story!!

88 Million ~ I would first buy a house... a decent one, but not an outrageous one. Everyone says they'd quit their job... I'm not sure, I really love my job. I think I'd donate some $$ to my school district (since Arnie ain't doin' anything to help!). I'd donate ALOT more to other charities, too!!! = )

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

It would be fascinating to know someone like that, even if for only a short time :o)

Big Mark 243 said...

I am stuck on the finding of his wife ... isn't it something how life works out for people like that? I think that when you stay true to the course that you need to be on, then you will find yourself in the company of the people you need to have in your life.

Gerry said...

I used to say drat when I read about guys like this and think well, I thought I was smart. Funny story about a force of nature. Gery

salemslot9 said...

glad he didn't burn the place down

Rose~* said...

His wife must have had some pretty special powers, to say the least. For a minute there, I thought the guy might have had a sleep disorder.

Valerie said...

I know someone else who is like your old room mate. He ate gaucamole in his sleep. He hates gaucamole awake. LOL He did lots of odd behavior that was "him". I wonder if that meant something?? what would I do with 88 million? Give half of it to charity, make sure my family was settled in money for the rest of their lives, and put the rest in the bank (make sure I am settled =))... Neat question! Hugs DB, Val xox