Leave it to Lindsay Lohan to give naps a bad reputation.
As a dedicated nap taker, I now fear that my slumber will be violently interrupted by a "concerned" party who jumps to the conclusion that because my eyes are shut in the early afternoon and I am not responding to extraneous noises, then I must be dead or very close to it.
"Lindsay Lohan's nap scares producers."
According to various news reports, Lohan was working all night filming scenes from "Liz & Dick," a Lifetime movie starring the actress as Elizabeth Taylor. She left the set at 8 a.m. to get some shuteye and didn't answer when film personnel knocked on her Ritz-Carlton hotel room door several hours later. Note the phrase, "several hours later." Normally, several DAYS later would be cause for alarm. But if you are Lindsay Lohan, your handlers fear the worst if you spend more than five minutes in the bathroom. So they decided to rouse her from her nap by summoning paramedics. If I chose this tactic every time I thought my teenage daughter had overslept, paramedics would live in our house.
Lohan was fine; she was suffering from nothing more than temporary hearing loss, deep sleep or an affliction known as "too lazy to answer the hotel room door," which affects millions, me included. Everybody with a stake in Lohan's career was relieved -- with the possible exception of employees at website TMZ, who become positively giddy any time a celebrity is at death's door and probably rewrite Lohan's obituary daily.
The producers of "Liz & Dick" should be taken to task on two fronts: I'm no actor but I'm sure one needs proper rest to portray a film icon who suffered from, among other things, a benign brain tumor, skin cancer, congestive heart failure, dysentery and phlebitis. More important, a nap should never be construed as dangerous and NEVER should be interrupted. Ask any man.
I am a religious power napper. Almost daily at approximately 1 p.m., I turn off my cellphone, exit my email program, recline my chair, prop my feet on the desk and enter Dreamland. In case you're wondering, I work from home. Power napping in an office cubicle or behind a reception desk is not recommended.
My naps last between 10 and 15 minutes, which means I'm always awake before anyone calls 911 or starts looking for a battering ram. Yet, like Lohan, I have also been known to "nap" for several hours, particularly after a grueling evening. When this happens, everyone in my family is given strict instructions. No running through the house, no yelling outside the bedroom, and no barking, whimpering or scratching at the door. Yes, even the dog knows the rules. I awake when I am darn good and ready and I always feel ready to seize the rest of the day. Isn't that the purpose of a nap for everyone, Lohan included?
Lohan could have avoided all this panic surrounding her sleep schedule had she set an alarm or requested a wakeup call. Granted, hotel bedside clocks can be crazy confusing, with alarm choices that include "radio," "CD," "iPod" and "ocean waves," a selection that plunges me deeper into sleep. A phone call to hotel staff is far easier particularly when you bed down in a Ritz-Carlton, a chain known for basically doing whatever its guest desire. A Ritz employee in Denver once told me that the staff made a snowman for Kobe Bryant just so he could take photos of it for his child. If Lohan had asked the Ritz staff to tiptoe into her room and tickle her feet with an ostrich feather, the general manager would have asked what type of ostrich she preferred.
Clearly, Lohan must be handled delicately right now. Get her a designated driver, show her how to shop online and tout the merits of staying home at night. But please let her nap uninterrupted. Naps are refreshing, therapeutic and perfectly harmless.
They are also legal and of absolutely no interest to TMZ.
(Greg Schwem is a stand-up comedian and author of "Text Me If You're Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad," available at http://amzn.to/schwem.)