There comes a point in the evolution of any great civilization which marks the apex of its rise. That, of course, is a good thing. This culminating moment of pomp, glory, power, and dignity will be the standard by which its character is remembered by the historians and poets of cultures yet to become a coffee stain on the annals of history.
That also is a bad thing, because by its very definition an apex means that the top has been reached. Even as the civilization struts, crowing and preening atop its precarious apex, the inevitable reality remains that such a civilization has nowhere left to go but down. Great civilizations never decline, they free fall.
This being so, it would appear that if we want to preserve our way of life as we know it for ourselves and our kids, the best way to do this is to postpone the apex. In other words, we need to slightly sabotage our country’s ascent to greatness. Not in a big way–no revolutions or coups or anything, just annoying little things to gum up the works, so to speak, in order to fend off the impending apex.
As Pliny the Elder so eloquently phrased it, “Da country, she get too big for her britches, she gonna go BOOM!” Of course, I was quick to tell Pliny that he had better pay attention to what he was doing and stop shouting in my ear or I was going to have to get a new barber. The last time he waxed philosophical while he was cutting my hair, he cut one sideburn three inches shorter than the other one. Who does he think he is? A Roman historian?
He has point, though, as soon as we become a really great nation, we’ve had it. Once we reach the apex, we might as well wax up our snowboards, because we are on the slippery slope now. Bye-bye apex, hello Kleenex! At that point we would do ourselves a favor to hunt up the nearest barbarian or Hun and hand him the title to our real estate and the keys to our SUV.
So before we reach the lamentable apex of greatness, I urge each of my readers to make it a point of personal patriotism to nip the ascent of our civilization in the bud. Once the dogs are eating corpses in the street, and tanks are reducing rioters to textured blacktop sealer, just about anyone can develop a touch of nostalgia for the “good old days”, but by then the point would be a bit moot.
They say that the foundation of a culture is its family unit. Strong families make strong communities, they say, and strong communities make strong nations. Now you cannot have a strong family without harmony and peace and all that, so here is where you can all do your civic duty to preserve our heritage.
Let’s all make a point to undermine each other’s sleep!
That’s right. Everyone who sleeps with a bed partner can begin this very night to sabotage your family harmony, which will then degrade the family unit, which in turn will weaken our communities and ultimately bog down our country’s mad race to greatness and its subsequent plummet into anarchy and ruin. If you love your country and your family, then, please observe the following checklist on a nightly basis. In advance, your country thanks you.
Always read for an hour and a half after retiring. The glare of the bedside lamp or the EM radiation pulsing from the screen of your device, the deafening rustle of pages like the rattle of musketry at Gettysburg and the raucous guffaws or sobs evoked by the wordsmithery of your favorite author will encourage your husband or wife (who has to get up at 4:00 to leave for work) to eschew the pitfalls of indolence and lassitude. Your spouse will rapidly begin to eschew you as well.
If retiring after your bedmate is already comfy, warm, and nearly asleep, a strict bedtime regimen must be observed. Although it requires discipline and concentration, the benefits that will be reaped in the form of weakened family ties and marital disharmony cannot be underestimated:
First, stomp loudly up the stairs, carefully switching on any lights your partner may have switched off.
Next, prolong the disrobing process, punctuating it with eloquent bodily noises and excerpts of classical chamber music played with great skill and vigor upon the hangers in the clothes closet.
Thirdly, set your alarm clock, allowing it to beep shrilly for two or three minutes to verify that it is still in working order.
Fourthly, seize the bedclothes and abruptly peel them all the way to the footboard. It is especially important that you never neglect this step if your bedmate sleeps au natural and it is rather chilly in the bedroom.
Fifthly, gathering your legs under you for maximum trajectory and impact, leap high in the air and plummet with a house-rocking crash into your side of the bed. (Note: If your bed happens to be a waterbed, an additional step must be inserted between steps five and six, consisting of extracting your bedmate from the mirror on the opposite side of the room where the tsunami has deposited him or her.)
Sixthly, recreate a Champion WWF match using the mattress, bedclothes, and both your and your bedmate’s pillows as your wrestling opponents. Continue this step for fifteen minutes or until you are comfortably nested, whichever comes last.
Seventhly, decide you’d better use the restroom or remove your contacts. Rise and do so. Repeat steps one through six.
Finally, remember that you forgot to turn off the kitchen light or lock the basement door, or turn off the oven or mow the lawn. It doesn’t really matter what you forget as long as you are careful to cajole, beg, nag and pressure your bedmate into getting up and doing it for you “…if you really love me!” The closer they are to sleep, the better. If they are actually fully asleep, this step alone can stave off America’s apex for at least a good thirty years.
Eat plenty of chili, refried beans, or broccoli throughout the day so that the sleeping environment will be unwholesome. After all, it was Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, who advised in Proverbs 7:17 to avoid those who say, “I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.” Therefore, be careful to create a bedtime atmosphere as diametrically opposed to such olfactory contentment as possible.
Cultivate the fine art of snoring. No other single element is so crucial to the instability of a home and thus a family, community and civilization. Do not be content with mundane or mediocre snores. Strive for excellence! No muted warbles or intermittent snorts will do. Make your snoring an intense, incessant and exuberant endeavor. Let the sound strike upon the hillside and echo through the river valley. Let the anthem swell. Let your voice be heard! Who knows, perhaps someday an immortal poet will look back upon your dedicated service and write stirring words in homage to your selfless patriotism:
‘Neath the rude quilt that arched the bed
Their nostrils in the breeze unfurled;
Here once lax, drooling lips were spread
And fired the snore heard ‘round the world.
Whenever it becomes necessary to roll over or shift position during the night, don’t move beneath the sheets, move with them. Make the bedclothes an integral and inseparable part of you. Bind them upon your forehead; wrap them about your leg. A properly executed roll should twist the blankets around you like spaghetti on a fork or cotton candy on a stick. Imagine yourself to be a toilet paper roll and your sheets and blankets the toilet paper. If done correctly, you should wake up in the morning at the center of a giant convoluted cocoon of fabric. Or, on a hot night, by carefully reversing the procedure you will be able to deposit a mountain of insulation precisely on top of your partner. Not only will these techniques erode family harmony, but they will strengthen your bedmate’s immune system and help to nurture the qualities of sacrifice and self-denial in the one you love.
In keeping with the tenets of some of the worlds most degenerate civilizations, cultivate the principle of taking from the have-nots and distributing it to the haves. Apply this to mattress space. A simple mathematical equation will enable you to quickly determine how much of the bed your partner should occupy. Start by determining the age of your partner. From this figure, subtract the number of years your partner has been alive. The number that remains represents the percentage of mattress space that is your bedmate’s equitable allotment. Firmly but lovingly enforce this allowance by strategically positioning extremities to block access to forbidden areas.
There you have it, my dear readers and compatriots–a manifesto for the longevity and preservation of our great nation. Heed it, and you can rest assured that posterity will bless you. Ignore it and the miserable, sordid collapse of an entire civilization will be your fault. It’s up to you. Will you rise…er, retire to the challenge?