What Thurston Howell the Third had in common with an 8th Century Buddhist monk.

You wouldn’t think that a monk and a millionaire are very similar, and you’d be right.

Not getting enough sleep is one of those things that can make the difference between being a bit ornery in the morning, and undergoing a complete personality metamorphosis. Never much of a Kafka fan, I’d always preferred to get as much nightmare-free sleep as possible, ideally 10–14 hours a day.

I’m a very light sleeper.

I need it pitch black to sleep, any light—even a little—keeps me awake. As a young man, I’d tape newspaper over my windows. I’d tape blankets over my windows. I’d spray-paint the window glass and, if the landlord complained, accuse him of failing to remediate black mold. Eventually, I found an easier solution.

The search for comfort is universal.

Born in 685 CE, Śāntideva was an Indian philosopher who loved the feel of leather underfoot. Yet, he saw the impracticality of “[covering] the entire surface of the earth” with the stuff. Instead, he chose to simply wear “leather soles beneath my feet,” achieving the same effect without slaughtering 21 billion cows.[1]

Can you put a price on a good night’s sleep? Yes. It’s about 15 bucks.

Sleep mask
An “Alaska Bear”(?) silk sleep mask on a tiny girl’s head.

Likewise, Thurston Howell, III—millionaire and person of interest in the sabotage of the SS Minnow—could’ve easily afforded the expense of building a huge space shield to blot out the sun. Yet he chose to simply wear a sleep mask instead. Both guys understood that achieving their personal comfort goals needn’t require altering our global ecosystem in ways that’d be catastrophic for everyone else.

Sleep masks let you get your beauty rest while the world goes to hell around you. I wear a sleep mask now, too, mainly so I don’t wake up when the monsters come for me.

1 One cowhide covers around 50 square feet. The surface of the earth is about 196,900,000 square miles. So: 196,900,000 x 5280 ÷ 50 = 20.7 Billion

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