Its 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.