f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

May 2, 2008

naptime: forwards and backwards

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 9:33 am

What sort of materials and links do your friends and colleagues forward to you? Sometimes, when I see what kith and kin decide to send me in their email messages, I worry about my image and reputation. Although most correspondents have learned not to send me cute-pet photos, or to point me to so-called-haiku contests, I often get referred to articles that make me wince — with thoughts like: “this reminded her of me?!” or “am I supposed to need this advice?”

For example, my dear friend and much-honored Washington lawyer-poet Roberta Beary often passes on links about unhappy and depressed lawyers. And three days ago, she sent me a link to the Washington Post article “Nap Time” (April 29, 2008).

tired of feeding
on the horse
the horsefly naps

afternoon nap
our bare bottoms

…….. by David G. LanoueDewdrop World (2005)

In a nation where naps are traditionally associated with small children and old folks, I had to wonder what makes me the target of a “Nap Time” piece? Why would the topic of naps make a talented, attractive, charismatic woman think of me? Slowly, of course, my paranoia (and fantasies) died down, and I recalled just how often I mention naps and napping at this weblog, and post haiku and senryu on the topic. See, for instance:

With the snowballing Graying of the Bar, and the ethical duty of law firms to protect clients by putting into place procedures that will help compensate for the age-related physical and mental problems of older lawyers [see my article “No Senior Discount at the Ethics Bar” (The Complete Lawyer, Vol. 3 #4, July-August 2007)], it appears to be an ethical violation not to furnish nap rooms for attorneys at any firm with Boomers and other Geezers on the roster. Throw in Americans with Disabilities Act arguments, and age discrimination/EEOC issues, and we have the makings of a great cross-generational campaign to make sure lawyers can nap in comfort and without stigma in law firms across the nation. So, get to it Lat et al, your elders are here with moral support and all the mentoring you need (right after our afternoon nap, of course).

  • And the piece “naps and curses: horizontal punditry” (June 6, 2007), where the f/k/a Gang momentarily came out of a sleepy punditry hiatus to note that Bob Ambrogi of LegalBlogWatch had put the spotlight on “A New Zealand law firm that encourages its professionals to take naps if they are sleepy” — you see, the firm Meredith Connell had just won the country’s top work-life balance award, “offering workers flexible work hours to take account of personal commitments.”

within the red wine
a nap in my chair

Discovery channel –
an older male vanquished
heads for the hills

… by Tom ClausenUpstate Dim Sum (2003/II)

Suddenly, and especially after reading the WaPo article, I was beaming. Roberta didn’t think I was over the hill and needed more naps or another rocking chair. She was reaffirming my being ahead of the curve (due, frankly, to the lessons learned living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) on the importance of napping to an enlightened and efficient life and career.

That’s it: In his article, “Nap Time: Though the Practice Is Fading in Some Places, Experts Find Benefits In Midday Slumber. And a Few Firms Are Even Open to Shut-Eye,” Dennis Drabelle merely updates and expands upon themes we’ve been raising and endorsing for years here at f/k/a. Now, I feel a whole lot better (or, I will, as soon as I finish this long posting and head to my futon for a tardy mid-morning nap).

afternoon nap
i fall asleep
in a dream

………… by Ed Markowski

Drabelle has, indeed, done a good job of highlighting the new wisdom about napping. After noting that his own former nap resistance “put me in sync with the American way of sleep: Do it all at once and strictly at night,” he explains:

sleepLogo “Traditionally, we’ve begrudged ourselves naps. They may be forced on toddlers, recommended for pregnant women and tolerated among senior citizens with nothing better to do, but they’ve been frowned upon for worker bees in their prime. Recently, however, sleep scientists have discovered advantages to napping, which they view not just as solace but also as something akin to brain food. No longer written off as a cop-out for the weak and the bored, the nap is coming into its own as an element of a healthy life.”

Other interesting points in the article include:

  • “When you take a look at American history, we might seem to be a nap-friendly people. After all, some of our most productive figures napped shamelessly during the day, among them Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison.”
  • “Napping was more valued on the other side of the Atlantic, where the habit’s foremost champion was probably Winston Churchill. In ‘The Gathering Storm‘ . . . the British statesman wrote, “Nature had not intended mankind to work from 8 in the morning until midnight without the refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts 20 minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.” [Editor’s note: Hmmm. Although Churchill never coined that maxim about hearts and brains and age, he apparently had some very good advice for the over-30 crowd.]
  • And, “Elsewhere, the nap is winning friends and invigorating people. Some new studies make dramatic claims for it. Taken in the workplace, naps can increase productivity and reduce ‘general crabbiness,’ according to a just-concluded 25-year survey of the practice in industrial countries.” Nonetheless, Drabelle reports that, despite its honorable napping tradition, “In 2005, the Spanish government canceled the siesta for its employees, although it offered them flex time for easing into the new regimen.”

chilly day in May –
the old cat naps
in a sunny window

rainy christmas
while we nap
the lawn goes from white to green

no nap
no stroll
the writer grinding teeth

………………. by dagosan

Drabelle concludes with a warning that “Severely troubled sleepers should consult a physician about fixing their slumber, perhaps with naps of suitable length folded in.” And, he suggests ways to ensure that naps won’t run “the risk of encroaching on nighttime sleep.” He concludes with wise advice:

“In a country where fewer than half of us say we regularly get a good night’s sleep, naps are increasingly important restoratives, and we owe it to ourselves to take them right.”

a noon nap napperPark
on a good day…
first rainbow

his quick nap
is just pretend…
hermit crab

…………………. by Kobayashi Issa , translated by David G. Lanoue

Looking Backwards: As much as I now appreciate Roberta sending me the WaPo nap article, I have to confess that the most enjoyable part of this episode was my discovery of who wrote the piece. Roberta did not know that Dennis Drabelle was one of my favorite colleagues at the Federal Trade Commission three decades ago, and we have sadly been out of touch for far too long. “Denny” and I worked in the Special Projects office of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, for our friend Bert Foer, who is now president of the American Antitrust Institute. At Special Projects, we had fun and became friends working on the new-fangled notion of “competition advocacy.” The cropped snapshot at the beginning of this paragraph was taken circa 1978 and depicts Drabelle and Foer at an office party at Bert’s house.

And, for another blast from the past, I noticed this guy, who also worked in Special Projects at the time, lurking behind Dennis in the same shot:

…. same party & photo: Mickey Kaus, Slate blogger [now]

So, I’m glad Roberta suggested I read “Nap Time,” and I’m going to use it as an excuse to email Dennis Drabelle a link to this posting. Meanwhile, the f/k/a Gang wish you pleasant mid-day dreams and happy nap times, today and everyday.

over my midday nap
the scent of lotuses

while napping
swish-swish stroked
by the willow

in no time
filled with sleep wrinkles…
my summer kimono

the stepchild’s chore–
during baby’s midday nap
picking fleas

…………………. by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

Better Blawg Browsing: We want to join Ted at Overlawyered.com, Ed at BlawgReview and many other top law-related webloggers in spreading the word about the new Alltop.com Law Pageand in thanking Alltop’s Guy Kawasaki for including f/k/a in its aggregation of the best law-oriented websites. As its About page explains, Alltop helps you “explore your passions by collecting stories from ‘all the top’ sites on the web.” A myriad of topics (from the environment to celebrity gossip, to politics, and now law) are presented by Alltop in “single-page aggregations.” They say:

You can think of an Alltop site as a “dashboard,” “table of contents,” or even a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. To be clear, Alltop sites are starting points — they are not destinations per se. The bottom line is that we are trying to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you’re already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn’t know existed. In this way, our goal is the “cessation of Internet stagnation.”

Alltop lists the last five headlines from each featured site, allowing you to see the beginning of each piece by scrolling over its hyperlink. This looks like a good tool for quickly finding blawg postings worth checking out.

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