Joe Lavin

October 5, 2004

The Institute for Sloth Studies

Here at the Institute for Sloth Studies, we are working hard to bring you the very latest in the exciting field of sloth research. Well, actually, we're not working that hard, but with the grant money we got from the government we were able to hire a temp to do the work while we play computer solitaire and eat Fig Newtons all day. As you can tell, sloth is very important to us.

For this month's newsletter, there is much to report from the world of sloth, including some special news involving monkeys. Recently, scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health announced that they were able to use gene treatment to turn procrastinating monkeys into workaholic monkeys. Scientists created the mad workaholic monkeys by blocking their brain cells from receiving dopamine. Having done this to monkeys, could humans be far behind? As always, we must be vigilant. Yet again, those workaholic scientists are out to destroy a way of life for us procrastinators.

Of course, this fascinating study creates many questions, not the least of which is: how does a monkey become a workaholic anyway? Do these monkeys have important tasks that we just don't know about? Who knows? Maybe they are really getting things done on the banana-gathering or feces-flinging fronts? Or perhaps these are the special monkeys that bang out Shakespeare plays on typewriters. A little more dopamine blocking, and these monkeys will probably be kissing up to your boss and trying to steal your job. If you ask us, you should never trust a workaholic monkey.

As deplorable as all this is, we believe that this research may actually help us. By pinpointing a way to make monkeys work harder, scientists should also be able to pinpoint a way to make the monkeys work less. Presumably, this means that we can now isolate the gene that causes procrastination and laziness and harvest it in order to create a more slothful society. First, though, we're going to have some lunch and maybe take a nap.

Meanwhile, we would also like to applaud the work done by the good people at These are the people behind the Take Back Your Time movement, who are trying to convince the government to legislate a 30-hour workweek for us all. Here at the Institute, that still seems like a lot of hours, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.

The group has even created a holiday -- Take Back Your Time Day -- every October 24th. We're big fans of Take Back Your Time Day. Each year, we celebrate it by sleeping well past noon. Admittedly, we celebrate many days like that, but we're still excited. This year, it falls on a weekend, so you should have no excuse at all for waking up early.

Speaking of sleep, we are also quite happy to hear that Harvard University now has a Division of Sleep Medicine to study ways to help people sleep better. There are now actually three endowed chairs in Sleep Studies at Harvard. Imaging having the chance to be a professor of sleep!

Considering all the times that we fell asleep in class while listening to some professor drone on, it would only be fitting for one of us here at the Institute to become a professor of sleep studies. In short, this would be the dream job for anyone here, provided of course that Harvard doesn't work us too hard. We've left a few messages for the Division of Sleep Medicine, though apparently with all the sleep "research" they've been up to, they haven't had a chance to call us back.

Finally, good sloth takes money, lots of it. Soon, our government grant will run out, and without money we might be forced to give up our life of sloth. Our sloth research is far too important to abandon, so please consider donating money to help us continue in our slothful ways, if you can be bothered, that is. Thank you.

©2004 Joe Lavin

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