Apr 23

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

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Or let’s call it the importance of sleep and what can happen when you miss it! In the past newsletters I discussed the importance of sleep. This story is related and is one of my favorite ‘tales.’ In the late 1980’s, I was working on my doctoral dissertation and had a deadline to finish the 360-page work. I had not slept for 72 hours! How I functioned… I had no idea… except I had to lecture at the university. Bouncy and enthusiastic, as my students always labeled the Teacher Excellence Award winner (and I was), I was discussing the role of parents in the sport sociology class. I was happily moving along but noticed the startled faces in the 250-member class. Immediately, one starts to think about dress flaws, something wrong with the hair do, zippers loose, etc. I noticed nothing of that kind, so I kept on talking. Finally, one young male student in the front row shouted out in German: Jawohl, Frau Professor! The “funny thing that happened on the way to the forum” was as I was taking a break at home from writing, I had prepared my lecture notes half in English and half in German, shifting back and forth. Easy to do since I am fluent in both languages and had German literary excerpts included in the dissertation chapters. I had not noticed the language change in the lecture preparation. Only when the student shouted out, did I realize what I had done and I broke out hysterically laughing, which in turn, after explaining the lack of sleep, my dilemma and the lecture prep, the whole class burst out laughing. The noise was so loud that the Dean rushed into the lecture hall so find out the reason for that turmoil. The class ‘was over’ as the saying goes… lucky we only had 10 minutes left… though that means I lectured for about 35 minutes in that mix of German and English! Needless to say, that story became the talk among students during class breaks. The moral of the story: Lack of sleep will cause many evils!

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