by David Rosenbaum

The Soothing Sleep That Power Points Provide

Nov 30, 20062 mins

Like many men and women of my advanced years, sleep for me is something of a problem. Not falling asleep. I got no problem with that. The problem is staying asleep. I wake up several times a night. And when I do, I nudge the wife and ask her to read to me. And because she’s a good woman and loves me, she does and I’m soon able to return to the sweet dreamless.

There’s nothing like being read to to help me drift off. And that’s why I treasure those times when presenters read each and every word on each and every slide of their Power Point presentations. What bliss! By slide #2, a delicious drowziness begins to cloud my brain. By slide #3, my eyes begin to flutter and my breathing begins to slow. By slide #4, I’m nodding, and pleasant, disjointed, phantasmigorical thoughts (having little or nothing to do with the presentation) begin doing lazy circles in my brain.

For some reason, people giving Power Point presentations are often under the misapprehension that their audiences can’t read. So they read to them. One might think that, being familiar with their own slides–in many cases having given the same presentation, with the same slides, ad infinitum and ad nauseum–they would be able to talk about or around them, enliven them with jokes and anecdotes, insights and elaboration. But no, God bless them, they read them diligently, affording me a much needed opportunity to grab a couple of extra winks during my busy day.

I don’t feel at all guilty about this. I read pretty good. I look at the screen; absorb the message; and then I drift off with the soothing drone of the presenter in my ear. Sometimes, the presenter has printed out the slides and distributed them. I love that. Then I don’t even have to look at the screen or pay any attention at all, knowing that, if I want to, I can get all the information I need from the printout.

I don’t know why people persist in reading their Power Point presentations aloud. I only know that I’m grateful and I hope they never stop.

At my age, I need the rest.