Sleeping with the Enemy When I fall asleep in public, Alex informs everyone that “Bryan likes to pay money to go to sleep.” His words don’t stray far from the truth. I am convinced that I am afflicted, cursed, by something. I am haunted by the constant threat of unconsciousness. Glancing behind me, I see nothing, but sense the shadow that lurks. He is never very far, waiting patiently for me to drop my guard. We are very close, my shadow and I, and we know all of each others’ tricks. A continuing match of wits takes place every time I step into a living room, a movie theater, a library, an automobile. The summer after high school, five buddies and I set off in a van to watch baseball games at sixteen different parks across the continent. A dream road trip for six baseball crazed dudes. During one sweltering afternoon in Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium, the game tied in late innings, I passed out completely. As a rule, chests were painted to spell out the home team as we, imposter rabid hometown fans, cheered our lungs dry. Today I was an S. As my comrades leaped to their feet following a big hit, fans in front of us turned and squinted. “Who’s Phill?” they asked mockingly. The embarrassed friends just pointed at a seated snoozing S, who would later find the outline of his letter sunburned onto his chest . I snored next to probably a dozen different sets of screaming bleacher fans that summer. “Sleepy McSleepsleep” and “Permanent S” became my permanent new nicknames. Yes, I fall asleep a lot. Wherever there is a big test to study for, wherever there is a great movie I must see, wherever there is an important person I should listen to, I am there, ready to enforce my reputation and see/hear/read none of it. It’s not that I don’t try to maintain long stretches of consciousness, but I fight a losing war. It’s like the cybernetic Borg from Star Trek. “Resistance is futile,” they drone, “Classes are irrelevant. Obligations are irrelevant. Friends are irrelevant. Time of day is irrelevant. You will be one with the Borg.” A terrified crewman fires phaser blasts at the oncoming machine man, but it has adapted, and continues to mindlessly approach. Suddenly it extends mechanical tentacles into the poor guy’s neck, and the crewman’s skin goes gray, ceasing to be human and becoming part of their Borg collective.