By Graham von Carlowitz, Columnist
For many years I’ve harbored a dream that now may never come true. Some kids grow up wishing to own bakeries and floral shops, or to own grocery stores, auto shops, kitchen appliance shops and the rest.
My dream took the shape of a nap shack, a store to enjoy a spurt of shut-eye. I wanted to offer drowsy employees in the area an opportunity to have one of those satisfying drool-heavy naps away from their desks.
Ali has Frazer, Pepsi has Coke, I have Schlafladen. That may sound like a disease, and I won’t lie, it sort of is one. Schlafladen, German for “sleeping store,” stole my novel childhood idea without even asking. It stole my livelihood for a few minutes. Oh, and it stole the English word powernap. I would be at peace with citing the proverb “you snooze, you lose” here, but isn’t snoozing the goal?
This isn’t the first time a good idea of mine has been taken by Germany.
My idea to enhance any store by adding a café is made manifest in fabric stores and copy shops alike. I kid not. But complaining won’t do anything besides make a few angry Germans puncture my ears with screeching words. As such, I will jump on the opportunity to share my idea for my university’s class gift before anyone else jumps in.
As far as I know, class gifts range from botanically- to architecturally-inspired. Trees are a nice thought, but it’s the job of environmentalists to primp our pastures. As for the architecture side, I remember seeing a brick decaled with “Class of 1956.” What exactly the gift was perplexes me still — was it the brick itself?
I’m sorry Class of ’56, I know engraving a brick might have sounded all “coolsville” and “just as jiffy as color TV!” back in your day, but I see it as unoriginal, tasteless even. Maybe you all were in a financial bind since gas spiked at $0.30/gal. But the very least you could have done was put some creative thought into the gift.
In comparison, a six-foot tall can of soda pop might end up causing more of a fizz than all the gifts of years past. My suggestion, however, has no carbonation added. Possibly some carpet sensation — that is, if you like sleeping on a carpet. That’s right, my class gift to the university will be the construction of a Schlafladen.
The history of class gifts shows that, besides plants and collection of bricks, scholarships are by and large the route to take. Easy, generous and sure to have an impact. Sounds a lot like naptime in kindergarten to me. By my calculations, everyone needs sleep and not everyone — overnight library lurkers included — collects the sleep.
With the addition of an on-campus nap hut, students will have a chance to do so. Moreover, they will acquire a worthy destination between awkwardly scheduled courses. Students will finally have something to do besides inhale social media by the second. Napping is
healthier by far.
I have come to terms with the Germans stealing my idea — to be fair, we did steal and bastardize their preposition “über.” Yet, while the taxicab service and word embellisher thrives in America, Germans don’t shy from their prepositions, über being no exception.
Schlafladen, then, is up for grabs in my opinion. And, my fellow Class of 2017, the idea is waiting for someone to adopt it already. You have two choices — allow future dreamers to dream and dose or witness their zombied faces limping about campus, waiting to “bite the grass,” as the all-too-literal German would say.