Confusion Corner: Curing woes with stuffed animals

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ETHAN BROWN / THE FLAT HAT

One sheep … two sheep … three in the morning … four papers not yet written. Forget about it, sleep certainly isn’t for the school week. I’d like a word with the dimwitted dropout who decided that an immunity to insomnia should serve as a rite of passage into the life of a college student. Nobody ever wanted the pair of pet slugs sliming up under their hollow eye sockets each morning. Dreamy drool isn’t the greatest sanitizer to wipe beneath a fume hood. Open your eyes, people — you might like to believe that the reason your head feels so heavy upon your pillow is because your brain somehow slurped up a semester’s worth of that smarty-pants stuff Dr. What’s-in-a-name loves to ramble on about. Keep dreaming pal, the tooth fairy doesn’t do deadlifts for a reason.

Hello, doctor? I’m calling because I need to refill my Restoril prescription, I’m in college and I can’t sleep. What’s that? You’re giving me something else? What could you possibly have in mind, doctor? Plush and lace? You mean a stuffed animal? What are you, a loon?

Indeed, good readers, this doctor shouldn’t be fitted for a straitjacket any time soon. You see, the reason he swapped the benzos for a bear called Ted is because we college students gave up on the first line of defense against a sleepless night far too early in our juvenile development. Think about it, a stuffed animal is soft like a pillow, warm like a blanket and supportive like a mattress. It’s a Swiss Army knife you can sleep with, but with no fear of injury. For all the incels who whine and cry about not having a girlfriend to snuggle up next to, a good stuffed animal might be of worthy consolation …  but put that pair of scissors away before you go getting any funny ideas, pervert.

“Think about it, a stuffed animal is soft like a pillow, warm like a blanket and supportive like a mattress. It’s a Swiss Army knife you can sleep with, but with no fear of injury.”

Still, if there’s one thing I know about sleep, it’s that it works like clockwork. It has everything to do with patterns, and structure equals success. So, slink that familiar friend up under your left armpit, shut your eyes at precisely 11:34 pm each night and feel yourself drift away, my friend. Drift away.

But wait … that’s not all! It won’t take long at the College of William and Mary to realize that aesthetics turn people on at our campus like nothing else. Now, if you’ve felt yourself utter such a phrase underneath a nose ring and a finely-trimmed mustache on more than one occasion, then you might be of the camp to consider a plush Shiba Inu poking its beady eyes out of an unzipped pink handbag to be a rather touch-and-go stylistic statement. I’ll admit that sleeping with a stuffed animal at age 20 could be interpreted as both bogus and sad. But if I may, a brief tutorial in the human psyche: people dig confidence. Why waste time thinking up an alibi or lathering on makeups to disguise flushed, red cheeks? Embarrassment always bleeds through – like a popped pimple on a pillowcase. Instead, make it your own. Even the fashion police enjoy a good night’s sleep. Besides, Linus never felt embarrassed dragging his baby blanket along when he hung out with Charlie Brown. Nostalgic comfort neutralizes anxiety, which happens to be a common side-effect of attending the College.

“Nostalgic comfort neutralizes anxiety, which happens to be a common side-effect of attending the College.”

Now, time for a bedtime story. Once upon a time a freshman turns up on campus scared out of her wits. Leaving home feels like a waking nightmare. After all, she knows that without caution, college can be the perfect place to throw your life away. Falling into an unhealthy routine opens the floodgates to failed classes. Substituting a snooze for a few extra hours to study can cause a person to act like a real crotch.

I’ll stop here since I know you’ve all heard this one before, but the point is this: people loathe college because they’re afraid; afraid of deadlines, afraid of the future and afraid of unfamiliarity. It sounds like it’s not too late for a little pacification, and if you think about it, sleeping with a stuffed animal checks the box. And it still looks a hell of a lot cooler than sucking on a binkie.

Matthew Kortan is a Flat Hat Confusion Corner columnist who would like to emphasize the following important medical disclaimer: abruptly cancelling prescription medication is not a recommended course of action in the event that you or a loved one should win a polyester penguin at a ring-toss stand. Please don’t contact your doctor if you struggle with this.