Must Stay Awake Commentary • Opinion • health • ISSUE 44•21 • May 21, 2008 By Bob Schloman It's no secret our economy has reached the point that my eyelids are drooping. Face falling toward keyboard. Energy level sinking fast, but cannot stop now! Must keep typing op-ed piece. Deadline looming! Article due! Cannot allow self to sleep precious, precious sleep until finished .Must sustain...interest of reader. Must make trenchant point about sociopolitical and/or cultural topic. But what? What? Can't focus thoughts. Unable to to formulate thesis statement. But must! Must .Ahh. Face on keyboard nice. Little buttons feel soothing against skin . Wait! No! Cannot give up. Op-ed piece must be turned in!Must grab attention with deftly worded turn of phrase Just need opening sentence that draws reader in. Remember journalism training: Use active verbs! Make point quickly then back up with factual evidence and thoroughgoing analysis that concisely and convincingly illustrates .Just a quick rest. Close eyes and pause briefly before continuing. Be in better shape to write op/ed if I rest eyes for just a second first finish in morning .NO! What am I doing? Cannot give in to exhaustion! Must keep typing no matter what! Have to find strength to move pinky finger to reach "Return" button for next .paragraph break—Did it! Now only a few hundred words to go Losing interest. Can almost feel readers' attention dwindling. Must engage them with lively, interesting anecdotal and factual evidence proving validity of editorial stance .I I .Okay! Okay, I'm awake I'm awake I'm awake! Roll head around on neck. There we go. Smack self in face with palm of hand. That's it. Move around a bit, bounce up and down in chair. Bounce, bounce, bounce; bouncing up and down— Yeah! All right, here we go! Woo! Let's do this! Four hundred words, right now—fire them off! Four hundred words! Here they come like a Gatling gun:In this time of national uncertainty, we would do well to remember the. The. The As the economy continues its relentless slide into er. The the thing. The president. Umm...Iraq. The Federal Reserve now more than ever must look to the arena of . that is the arena of .Sleep. Sleep blessed gift of the waters of the mythical river Lethe. Washing over me like an unstoppable tide of blissful oblivion. Sucking me under, into the realm of the unconscious, to dream of moonless, perfect darkness snuggly warm blankets tucked under chin soft, yielding pillows that know no newspaper, no assignments, no deadlines nothing but pure unadulterated quiet .. drool on cheek causing uncomfortable tickling sensation....huh? What? SNORT—MMMBLEAARGH! Ack! Oh, no, NONONONONO! Doing it again! Mustn't let myself. Can't keep going. Fading—fading fast. Must conserve energy by not typing out inner monologue! Ellipses repetitive and boring triple-click sound of hitting period key three times in row hypnotic Lulling me into unconsciousness like sweet lullaby can't stop it slumber sweet, sweet slumber wrapping me in folds of inky black typing abiilitiesd starwrtinjkgt to faade This op-ed ridiculous anyway. Must stay awake . Have to finish column! Job depends on it boss . will fire . . Bob Schloman was an editorial columnist from 2003 until 2008, reaching more than 5 million readers worldwide. This is his last column for this newspaper.