Anorak News | Bed And Boardroom

Bed And Boardroom

by | 29th, July 2004

‘TODAY we learn that Trojans, ants and two million of us suffer from a condition now officially called “work lust”.

‘I have a need for Provigil’

Despite the obvious mental link, the Independent, in reporting on the study by a body called Work Foundation, makes no mention of fancying our secretary or the new office boy.

This is a story about how there are about 2.4 million “workophiles” in Britain who prefer the office to home.

So hard-working are these people – who typically work a 60-hour week – that researchers looking at them were impelled to up their own work rate and so labelled this new group not once but twice.

They might also have branded this workaholic group “journalists”, because members of that noble profession have been skipping long lunches to produce more stories about working hard.

So, adding to the Indy’s story is the Guardian’s front-page report, which says that the Ministry of Defence has just taken delivery of more than 24,000 Provigil pills.

On hearing such news, our eyebrows pop and refuse to go down for a week as the paper tells us how this wonder drug can keep soldiers awake for days.

Suddenly, those proposed cuts to the armed forces don’t look so bad – with Provigil, one squaddie can do the work of three. Take enough and when junior asks his battle-hardened dad what he did in the war, papa can place his hand on his heart and offer the simple and truthful reply: “Everything, son. I did everything.”

But let’s not rest even for a second, because those hacks at the Times have been toiling through the night to tell us about a signalling molecule called Interleukin-6 (IL-6).

A team of scientists at the University of Cape Town have located IL-6, the protein that tells the brain to feel tired.

Paula Robson-Ansley, who led the research, sees this chemical trigger as a “distress flare that says the body’s in trouble, so slow down”.

But no sooner has it been discovered than the Times reports that Robson-Ansley and other scientists are looking into ways of blocking nature’s own clocking-off mechanism.

If they are successful, you’ll soon be able to wave a frantic goodbye to those old-fashioned ways of staying awake, like getting stuck into work or lacing your morning pint of Red Bull with a handful of Provigil pills.

You’ll just block your IL-6 and do away with all feelings of lethargy.

Which could one day mean that we get to live the 24-hour life we crave – working 120-hour weeks, sleeping for only two hours a month and dying at age 15 with our eyes very wide open…’

Posted: 29th, July 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink