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Oh, you naughty girl you! NO, I can’t spend the night, I have so much work to do. I’m sorry…look…I promise I’ll make it up to you on the weekend. I won’t even go see my friends on Friday. Yeah, I promise. Sure, of course I think about you…I think about you all the ti-what!?! Now you think I’m cheating on you? Listen, don’t make this any bigger than it already is. I said I got some important stuff to do, and I’ll see you later!
I just had a talk with her. Didn’t go too well…Well what more does she want from me? Three hours a night isn’t good enough? But wait! Allow me to clarify things! This is not some petty teenage love quarrel, but a gruesome, drawn out war I have engaged in for much of my life. The “significant other” I argued with above is not a girlfriend, but uniquely, a void filled in my life by….a BED: that’s right! A bed! I’m unfaithful to sleep! I cheat on sleep like an adulterous husband, like a tango dancer that has had one too many partners! I “sleep around”: just about anywhere- in the car, on the lunch table, in history class-I’m high on life while simultaneously, nearly every individual component within my environment has a near sleep-inducing effect on me. But I realize now by the near end of my high school term, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
“Are you O.K. honey? Lately, you’ve seemed a little hara-kiriish-well, I mean, you’re way up there with your potential…you do have a lot on your plate.” Many concerned teachers have approached me with this same, almost robotically preset inquiry. My Algebra II/Trig. teacher, apparently with a bachelor’s in psychology, called me in once for a one-on-one. From his line of questioning, it was obvious he was looking for the tell-tale signs of suicide…No, I’m not suicidal! I have a wonderfully loving family, great friends, a great school: life is grand! I’m involved in so many things because that’s the only way I like it. While it may be somewhat painful the night of, the next morning, I’m amazed at having finished my math homework, written an English essay, and memorized all my lines for the play. What I do not like, though, is the word potential…”Calm down man, you’re way ahead of your potential” someone once said. A potential attempts to impose a calculated box around one’s achievements, limiting their possible accomplishments. If I am convinced my potential is an ‘8’, my every effort from then on will be to achieve a ‘9’. Potential is an individual’s promise to one’s self: one of excellence-to strive to achieve, to succeed everyday, to encapsulate yourself within a shell by morning and break through it by night. Only a quitter has a fixed potential.
I must say now, this whole ‘cheating-on-sleep’ idea is somewhat exaggerated and meant for comical effect. Surely, I am not an insomniac, nor am I narcoleptic, and I don’t intend on changing in college and making up for this ‘lost’ nap-time. But all I know for sure is this: if commitment to excellence comes at the expense of ‘cheating-on-sleep’, file me for adultery, ‘cuz I’m not changing!
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