THE HOME STRETCH

This little gem is being written late in the day, and I have a feeling that the only solution to the way I feel right now is to go home and sleep for forty-eight straight hours. I contemplate sadly, however, that we have company for dinner, after which I have to drive forty miles to lecture for two hours, after which I shall drive forty miles again to come home jiggety-jog and face the company again, and we will be up all night, and there is the beginning and the ending of a day. Furthermore, tomorrow does not really promise to be a whole lot better, after which the week-end, as they say, looms.

Many people excuse bad behavior in youngsters by saying that they need more sleep. I am willing to go along with that in most cases if only to get the youngster out of circulation and into bed; but I would like to pursue sometime the question of what has been called “cumulative fatigue.” Why doesn’t some physiologist or psychologist work on a thesis to show the relation between lack of sleep and juvenile delinquency? I see no reason for believing that lack of sleep makes for bad behavior in infants and does not make for bad behavior in adolescents.

If my observations are sound, maybe we ought to start packing our adolescents off to bed and at least get the juveniles off the streets. I happen to know one boy who lowered his quarter-mile track record by almost four seconds after about two months of regular exercise, regular meals, and enough sleep. I am confident that for weeks at a time college students do not get enough sleep, and that their ragged dress, their careless habits, and their slovenly speech betray their sleep hunger at every turn.

Our times are out of joint, and there is something wrong in more places than ...

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