Do You Remember Your First All-Nighter?

It was winter break of 1993.  I was a junior in college, and I had yet to ever stay up all night.  Sure, I’d pulled some late nights, but I’d always turned in for at least a couple of hours.  As winter break rolled around, my friends kept telling me about their all nighters.  I’d head home from Denny’s at 1 or 2 AM, declining their invitation to continue the evening’s fun and frivolity.

Well, my parents went out of town for a long weekend, so the opportunity presented itself.

I was going to stay up all night. On purpose.

Well, the evening started at someone’s karaoke party, complete with Chinese laser disks with translations of lyrics that were questionable at best.  The party brok up around 1, so we headed out to Denny’s where the caffeine consumption began.  It was a modest start, just two large cokes, but it was a start and there would be more.

After Denny’s we went to my house and sat around playing Magic: The Gathering.   The game was fueled by something like eight cups of coffee with way too much sugar and left over cookies and an improvised confection that a friend had made using “flour, butter, chocolate, and all the sugar in the house.” 

Somehow, the card game carried us through to the dawn.  While everybody else crashed on the floor, I took a shower and went off to work at the campus post office. 

I was wired!   I was ninja mail sorter.  Envelopes were flying to their correct places.  Piles of mail vanished in a flash.  I was in a caffeine-powered zone, and I made short work of my shift. 

Finally, I went home and dragged everybody out to the park to have a picnic of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Because that’s what you do after an all nighter, right?

Needless to say, the crash, when it came, was not fun.

A few months later, as an encore, I did another alnighter, this one a product of academic procrastination.  I had a cup of coffee at 7:30 on Monday and went all the way through Bible study at 7PM onTuesday with no other caffeine.  And I produced twenty-nine pages of academic gold in that time frame.


About Andrew

I'm a Christian, American, liberal, geeky, thoughtful, Northwest-transplanted Angeleno husband, father, and pundit who writes about anything he can think of.
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2 Responses to Do You Remember Your First All-Nighter?

  1. bwinwnbwi says:

    Yes, I do remember my first all-nighter, thanks for the question. I think it was 1963 or maybe 62. It was a sleepover with some of my schoolmates. I couldn’t sleep even if I wanted to because it was their idea to stay up all night. However, that was not the memorable part of the event. It was during that twelve hour period where I was afraid I would never see my parents again. The Russian ships were heading to Cuba and President Kennedy vowed to go to war unless the Russian missiles were not removed from Cuba. I was only a kid back then but I was fully aware (the others didn’t even pay attention to the drama as it was unfolding in the frequent TV news breaks that were religiously interrupting television back then.

  2. Andrew says:

    You know, it’s funny. As part of the “29 pages of academic gold” that I produced during the second all nighter, I wrote my best college paper ever. It was on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even studying it from thirty years in the future, even understanding the competing interests, even knowing that everything turned out okay in the end, it is still a terrifying event to contemplate. I can only imagine it from the perspective of a child with a father in harm’s way.

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