Once upon a time, there was a boy named Owen who never got tired, and, since he never got tired, he never had to sleep. His parents had struggled with this phenomenon since the day he was born and, as most parents did, they would put Owen down in his crib and give him milk and sing him lullabies to try and help him drift off to sleep. Owen enjoyed every moment of this very much, but he wouldn’t sleep. He just lay there happily listening to his mother sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for the thirtieth time until his Dad would take over for his part of the “night shift”. Owen’s dad would start reading him stories from his bookshelf, starting with the book, My ABCs, and reading every book in between until he got to the The Zebra Who Wanted to be Mayor.
On his third birthday, Owen’s parents allowed him to graduate from the crib and sleep in his first bed. This was done with much fanfare and his parents even purchased a bed in the shape of a racing car, hoping to encourage him to at least try and rest in there. This is when things went from bad to worse. Rather than enjoy his new bed, Owen preferred to get out of bed in middle of the night and begin playing with toys. This didn’t bother his mother and father too much at first, because he would just play with his toy cars on the mat in his bedroom. However, Owen soon tired of his cars and moved on to building blocks. They were always impressed with the towns and cities that he made with the blocks, it was just that they had tended to fall down during the early hours of the morning, once again disrupting his parents’ sleep.
On the night of his eighth birthday, having endured four more long years of interrupted sleep, they decided to allow Owen to build in their garage while they slept, giving them some much needed rest. Miraculously, his parents went to bed at a reasonable hour, slept through the night and then woke up feeling refreshed, having had one of the best night’s sleep they had experienced for many years. They took a moment to enjoy the feeling of having had a sleep in, only for panic to set in a short time later. Both of them got out of bed and went to the garage to discover that Owen was nowhere to be seen.
Owen’s parents decided to check outside by opening the garage door. Once they opened it, they were not standing outside like they had done every other time they had walked through the door, but were, instead, standing inside a large room made out of toy blocks. They realised at the same time that Owen must have built this room during the night. It was very impressive with its walls and windows and it even a place to hang your jacket or your coat. They saw Owen putting the finishing touches on what looked like a stair case and walked over to him. They couldn’t find it in themselves to be angry with him, as they were so happy to have slept through the night, so they congratulated him instead and left him alone to play and build in his new room.
That night, Owen’s parents agreed to let him sleep in his toy-block room and they eagerly drifted off to sleep, catching up on years of lost dreams. In the morning, they again woke up feeling refreshed, perhaps even more than they had the day before. They took their time making breakfast and enjoying their morning coffees before going to check on Owen. When they opened the garage door, they were surprised to find that they could not open it. Concerned, they exited through the front door of their own house and were shocked at what they saw in front them. Owen had built an entire city. There were now toy-block houses as far as they eye could see, and he had obviously been busy making roads and shops. They called out for Owen and he walked out of the largest building to greet them. He explained that he was hoping to encourage the people of his new city not to sleep by building houses without any beds, but that he was very frustrated to discover that this meant no one really wanted to live there. He went on to suggest that he didn’t understand why people would bother with sleep since it was such an obvious waste of time.
“Maybe the world is simply not ready for your ideas, Owen,” his mother said.
Owen sighed and agreed that, perhaps, he might be better off taking his city down for now.
Over the next several months, his parents managed to begin finding some normality with their sleeping patterns, as Owen was now old enough to allow them peace during the night. They even woke up to a clean house and a cooked breakfast each and every morning. Owen had found his own pattern, however, and was now spending his nights not only cleaning and cooking, but also making plans and going over his strategies, in preparation for when the world was ready for his ideas.