Tedious meeting? Pain is your friend.

Have you ever watched someone fight valiantly to stay awake? That was me this afternoon.

I have no idea why anyone would schedule a two-hour meeting right after lunch—and with copious charts and diagrams, no less.

At first it was just my eyelids that felt heavy, then my head and arms. Finally my entire body went weightless as the presenter’s voice faded into oblivion.

“MUST CONCENTRATE!” I thought, as I forced myself to sit up straight. “THIS IS IMPORTANT! STAY AWAKE!”

But my body wasn’t buying it.

There are a million tips on how to fight drowsiness. Unfortunately, “get up and move around,” “start a conversation,” and “take a nap” are generally frowned upon in meetings.

So I resorted to Plan B.

Ever notice how hard it is to fall asleep when you’re in pain? You see where I’m going: During a tedious meeting, pain can be your friend.

I started by slurping greedily on my ice water in an attempt to give myself brain-freeze. Alas, either the water wasn’t cold enough, or my brain was feverish from the PowerPoint. I struggled to stifle a giant belch.

Next, I tried jamming my fingertips with the tip of my super-sharp micro-tip pen. Painful, yes. Alertness-inducing? Not so much. Plus, now my fingertips looked like tiny little leopards. How festive!

Finally, I resorted to yanking on my forearm hair. I am not an especially hirsute woman, so it took considerable effort to grip and rip the tiny hairs. But the intense concentration—and the exquisite pain—were at least helping me stay awake.

Until I dozed off.

Oh, well … at least I gave it my best effort. And at least now no one can say that I don’t suffer for my art.


  1. Worst time of day to have a meeting. Anyone who schedules such a meeting should suggest that everyone stands. The best way to keep it short!

    • Short meeting? Isn’t that an oxymoron? 🙂
      Actually, I did suggest that they hold this big, quarterly meeting in the morning. At least everyone’s coffee is still working that time of day.

  2. You could have tried drinking so much water you desperately needed to pee. Almost impossible to sleep with bladder imperative! On the other hand, also hard to concentrate on tedious meeting…

    • Great idea! Wish I’d thought of that. A friend at work also suggested bringing a nine volt battery and licking it. Probably best not to combine the two methods, though. 🙂

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