The Subversive Yawn

We all know that yawning can be contagious but until recently it wasn’t recognized that yawning can also be dangerous for the body politic.

A few months ago, yawning became a virtual epidemic. At first it was suggested that Americans weren’t getting enough sleep. Cat naps were instituted at schools, businesses, churches, military and government facilities. Then, anecdotally, a pattern emerged that raised serious concerns in the highest quarters.

People weren’t yawning because they were tired. They were yawning because they had lost interest.

When one person yawns in church, that’s normal. But when the entire congregation yawns through the sermon, that’s something else entirely. Some churches upped their game, making increasingly bombastic and downright threatening sermons, and hiring professional speakers to deliver them. Not only did the yawning fail to abate, but church attendance plummeted.

It was almost as if the people didn’t believe the preacher spoke for God.

At businesses, mandatory “training seminars” became uncomfortably low key affairs. The ritualistic pep talks and cliches generated no response, except yawns. “Any questions?” No. Everybody had tuned out. Even worse, customers were yawning at the exciting new products and services that businesses were offering. Sales were way down for everything except basic food, clothing and shelter.

Experts claimed that the public would eventually get a good night’s rest and renew the American Dream. Didn’t happen.

Students always yawn in school, so the change there was harder to detect. But it was there nonetheless. The top students, the “good” students were yawning along with the rest. When your top students fail to turn in their papers and homework, and even daydream when they are called on, you know something is amiss.

Finally, in desperation, the National Guard was called out. (Or were they called in? I forget.) They enforced afternoon naps, and arrested “repeat offender” yawners.

Useless. The prisons filled up and the National Guard workers started yawning.

At the bottom, when all hope had been lost, I stepped in. I had ambition, energy and vision. I did not yawn. I offered my services, offered to take control.

My offer was accepted, or at least not resisted.

America has a king. Me. Tonight I addressed the masses. Attendance was compulsory.

“As of this moment, I am Oscar the First, the King of the United States of America. Today, we begin a new country,” I announced. “We will work together to fix the country, its economy, its safety, and most of all its spirit.”

A million hands were raised, and then moved to cover open mouths. Nobody wanted to be caught publicly breaking the law, yawning.

That said, I noticed two million eyes rolling.