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CARROLL: Hey Joe! Hey Donald! Take a Nap
David Carroll
David Carroll - photo by Special Photo

About 20 years ago, I began scheduling a physical exam each year. I still do. I’ve even outlasted a couple of my doctors. But their message is always the same. “You don’t exercise enough, you’re eating the wrong foods, and as Paul Simon sang in ‘You Can Call Me Al,” you’re getting soft in the middle.”

Guilty on all counts. Each year I pledge to exercise more, make changes in my diet (except for my weekly Whopper, come hell or high water), and tighten up that middle. And each year I fall short of those goals.

So when I find out I’m doing something right, it’s cause for celebration. The latest TIME magazine made me puff my chest out, and suck my belly in. TIME says new research “has linked napping to better brain and heart health, along with improved cognition, creativity, and memory.” This gave me great joy, because if napping was an Olympic sport, I’d be bringing home the gold from Paris in July.

I have written before about my glorious CPAP contraption, the sleep apnea device at my bedside for 15 years. I no longer wake up aching as if I had shoveled coal all night. I think it’s been good for my heart and my bones.

Still, I tend to get drowsy a few hours after I awaken. This has happened for decades. My first realization was during my radio career. I would be on the air for a few hours, and I was busy, busy, busy. Lining up the music and commercials, maintaining the equipment, making sure there was no “dead air,” and trying to come up with something witty to say. In my early radio days, I was doing all of this while also tending to my top priority: talking to girls on the phone. I was multi-tasking.

I was totally focused and occupied for at least six hours, with no break. Then it was time to make the 35 mile drive home. Most of it was on a straight, boring interstate highway. One day behind the wheel, I was so sleepy, fading so fast, that I started noticing unfamiliar buildings and new signs. “Wow,” I said to myself. “When did they put up that McDonald’s?” A few miles later, “Why is there a sign for Gadsden up ahead? I don’t live near Gadsden.”

That’s when it hit me. “Oh no. My exit was about 20 miles back.” I was basically sleep-driving, and in desperate need of a nap. From then on, before I hit the road, I’d find a couch somewhere and take the edge off. That practice still serves me well today, and I, along with TIME magazine, recommend it highly.

It just so happens that President Biden is on the cover of that particular issue, and frankly he looks like he needs a nap. No wonder. During the past few weeks, he’s been to Italy and back, and then France and back. I just want to say, “Dude! You’re in your 80s! Take a nap now and then!”

I think if his handlers would build in more nap time, he would be more alert, easier to understand, and would have more pep in his step. Plus, he has a debate coming up soon. The number one item on my debate prep list would be a morning nap, followed by an afternoon nap. Only then would I be ready for prime time.

As for Donald Trump, his handlers say he never naps. They say he is in full-tilt Trump mode for about 19 hours a day. Plus he is known to post angry tweets in the middle of the night, so I’m not sure he catches even 5 hours of shut-eye.

This despite many observers who caught him “napping” during his recent felony conviction trial. He denies it, and his lawyers say he was deeply concentrating. Maybe he should pull a 3 Stooges stunt, and paint eyeballs on his eyelids to appear awake.

One of these elderly guys will soon serve another four year term. I don’t want either to have his finger on the nuclear button unless he’s had a nice, long nap.

David Carroll is a Chattanooga news anchor, and his new book “I Won’t Be Your Escape Goat” is available on his website, You may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405, or at