Saturday, January 10, 2015

Nightcap anyone?

After an extended period of wakefulness, I have succumbed to the Dark Triad.

And what are you going to do about it?  Scatter!  Be gone! 

You early birds.  You sound sleepers.  You refreshed ones all in your places with bright shiny faces.  Boo!

And here’s the deal:  I am not accountable for any unscrupulous or crabby behavior.  You couldn’t prove it anyway.  I’m smarter than that.  I have left no clues.  Take it to court if you want.  I’ll be there with my attorney and my Twinkie.

But Carolyn, what have you done?  You seem delightful – mostly.  You have such a charming way about you, generally speaking.  So far as we know, you’re a good person…?

Don’t worry.  It’s not like that.  And if it were, what am I going to do?  Confess?!  Please. 

Admit it Dear Reader.  Even you have thrashed your way through the wee hours, wrapped in your Wamsuttas, damp and desperate. 

Tell me you never entertained a treacherous thought after you missed your bedtime, woke up angry and found your dog there smiling at you.  All that incessant canine cheerfulness!  Right.  Right!  I love you too!  Now go outside by yourself for once and pee!

We each have an alter ego.  No one knows how shadowy it might be or what will bring it to the forefront.

For me it began innocently enough, happily even:  I retired and didn’t have to get up early any more. 

There.  That’s it.  That’s all there is to it, really:  I no longer had to wander upstairs in a foggy haze at 9:30PM, fall like a redwood onto the Tempurpedic, only to leap up again at five the next morning preparing for work in a frenzied stupor. 

Staying up late seemed the most harmless thing.  Like a sleepover party.  Like the Stay Puft marshmallow man – it could never, ever destroy me.  But that’s where the downfall began.  Don’t let this happen to you:

I stayed up later and later.  I watched Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. 

A dash of political cynicism; a pinch of buffoonery.  That’s all.  How could that possibly turn against me? 

But the laughter brightened me and I extended my nights into Jimmy Fallon and Indie flicks.  I felt so urbane.

Next thing I knew it was 2AM and I realized I’ve never seen Edward Norton and Naomi Watts in “The Painted Veil.”  Sounds intriguing.  And it was. 

Now, I’ll just turn on my side and slip off to …wait!  What’s this on my phone?  An internet connection…

Did I mention I’ve had a spate of sleeplessness?
No need to be concerned, I thought.  It’s a passing thing, owing to the You-Just-Can’t-Have-Everything-Going-Well-All-at-the-Same-Time syndrome.

And I put the shift in my sweet nature down to the Sleep-Deprived-People-Tend-to-Be-Cranky-and-Make-a-Lot-of-Errors-in-Decorum disorder.

But now I know:  My name is Carolyn and I’m an insomniac – a person most likely to become a manipulative, self-admiring psychopath.

That’s right.  Research published in the journal “Personality and Individual Differences” shows that people who have a tendency to stay up late are more likely to exhibit anti-social personality traits.

I’ve been initiated into the Dark Triad – the Machiavellian, the narcissist and yes, the psychopath.

I didn’t know!  Please believe me!  I didn’t know!! 

A psychopath: Characterized by reduced empathy, antisocial behavior and disinhibition. 

A narcissist: egomaniac.

A Machiavellian: One who manipulates and exploits others without regard to morality.

Where does it go from here?  Oh, where will it end?!

Dr. Peter K. Jonason, the study’s author explains:

“Those who scored highly on the Dark Triad traits are, like many other predators such as lions and scorpions, creatures of the night.”

OMG.  I can’t believe it!  I’m a predator??!!

Jonason explains, “For people pursuing a fast life strategy like that embodied by the Dark Triad traits, it’s better to occupy and exploit a lowlight environment where others are sleeping and have diminished cognitive functioning.”

Oh no.  Just last night I watched “Interview with the Vampire”!  Or about a third of it.  Even for us Dark Siders, it’s pretty hard to take.

Protect yourselves Dear Readers!  I may not be able to stop myself – there’s a Breaking Bad marathon tonight.  But it’s not too late for you!

Unless of course, you’d like to stay up and join me.