Sometimes, life gets in the way of some pretty important experiences. Take the recent television marathon of every episode of “The Simpsons” ever produced.
I admit that I don’t have the same affinity for the legendary cartoon that some people do, but this event really caught my attention. Just because I can’t remember which season was the best of pull out obscure quotes doesn’t mean I’m not thrilled by the idea of showing a couple decades worth of a TV show in order.
The problem is that I have a job and a family and a life. All three of these things are completely incompatible with seeing how far I could push my body before I collapsed out of exhaustion.
For the record, I probably wouldn’t have made it more than 20-some hours. I don’t have the stamina that I did when I was a kid, but it would have been fun trying.
OK, that’s not completely true. I probably wouldn’t have lasted much more than 20-some hours as a kid either. As much as I wanted to stay up for ungodly amounts of time watching TV, I could never do it.
The task had greater obstacles back in the day. I remember looking through the TV Guide – yes, kids, we actually had to look through a printed publication to see what shows would be on TV when I was young – to plot out marathon viewing sessions.
These sessions only existed in my mind. First of all, I would always find gaps in the schedule where nothing good was playing, even in the early days of cable TV. Second, the presence of my parents and siblings never guaranteed me unfettered access to the TV. Lastly, I’m a wimp and would conk out in the middle of the night regardless of how much soda I drank.
I can only think of a few times when I overcame this inability to satisfy my urge to stay up for long hours simply so I could tell people I stayed up for long hours. None of them involved television.
I managed long spells awake two of the times I flew overseas. The first time, when I was on a high school trip to England, I stupidly took some generic caffeine pills because I heard that’s how kids in college pulled all nighters. I didn’t feel so good afterwards.
One time in college, I stayed up all night to write an important paper, turned the paper in, went to my classes and worked the entire next night at the campus newspaper. I may have napped a little, but I was probably up for close to 48 hours.
When I finally got to my fraternity house, I went to our TV room to wind down before sleeping. I threw a quarter in the soda machine – which also had beer interspersed in it because we ran the thing ourselves as a cruel game of Russian roulette – and promptly got a Milwaukee’s Best.
I sighed, dropped another quarter in the machine, hit the same button and received another beer. My friends celebrated because that was the lone double whammy they had put in the machine.
Chagrined, I sat down, drank both beers and slept for an eternity. I guess I will never find out if 48 hours of Bart Simpson could replicate that slumber.