One of the family stories that my mother loves to tell with great relish, is the story in which my father talked a man to sleep. It was when they were living on the Big Island in the 70’s, and my dad was a salesman for a small business based in Hilo. One day, one of the local, older business men invited him to his home to give a sales pitch – an invitation my dad gratefully accepted.
Well, my dad soon arrived at this man’s house, exchanged niceties, and began giving his presentation. Halfway through, my dad notices that the man is snoring away, fast asleep. The part that puts my mother in stitches is not that my father had talked the man to sleep, but that my dad still kept talking. He was worried that if he stopped talking, the man would wake up and it would be awkward. So he finished giving his presentation to a man who was basically unconscious. When he was done, the man woke up…and they both acted as if everything had happened as normal.
I was reminded of this story when I noticed that I had talked yet another teenager to sleep in my high school video production class. I was also reminded of this when I had to give a lecture to my fourth graders last week, who all bore the same tortured look I remember having when I was their age, when I was being lectured about something just as boring.
Now that I’ve talked two teenagers to sleep, and am torturing/boring elementary students with my speeches, I’m pretty that makes me an official grown up.