This is quite possibly the best feeling in the whole world.
It's huge, insistent, and irresistible. It consumes most of my attention and colours whatever notions might be passing through my mind (being a bit of a synaesthete, I can report that this colouring is a sort of orangey-brown, shot through with the occasional yellow).
I'm held in the grip of the process for several seconds, and when the seizure finally passes I'm supine, limp, and about an inch longer from scalp to toes.
It's Day 13991, the alarm-clock has been stilled, and I've just had that first glorious stretch of the day: a moment of duvet-shedding transcendence. Is there any better reason for having musculature, I'd like to know?
Stretching -- by which I mean, specifically, that thing we all do instinctively when we've been immobile for any length of time -- is a funny old phenomenon if you think about it. While we're doing it it's the most exquisite pleasure, but it falls out of our memories almost immediately afterwards. Clunk.
I'd bet any money that if, come the end of a day, you were asked to list all of that day's most pleasurable bits, you wouldn't recall the stretches -- and there'd be a goodly number of them, make no mistake.
Stretching is the great overlooked boon of our physiology, it fills us with agreeable feelings, and if you ask me, it will help us to save Earth from the Daleks.
The Daleks, Paul?
You bet your boots, the Daleks.
Please help us out here Paul, because we struggle to see the relevance. We suspect you of being off your chump.
Allow me to illustrate: you'll see whether or not I still have my trusty chump bearing me up.
Come back (or forward) with me, to 1964 (or circa 2164) and the Doctor Who story we now know as 'The Dalek Invasion Of Earth'. That's the one with the Robomen, the Slyther, and the Daleks' hare-brained idea of turning the Earth into a steerable spacecraft. There's enough implausibility about that notion to fuel a hefty essay all on its own. Suffice it to say that the Daleks' nefarious scheme is foiled by the usual means: brute force, secondary-school science and a few gentle urgings of the subjugated to try standing up for themselves a bit.
But the whole scheme was doomed to failure anyway wasn't it? Because those brainwashed Robomen in the kitchen-steamer helmets were reduced to shambling human automata.... and among the many things they no longer did was stretch. So what was going to happen to them after a couple of days in Roboman-Land? Cumulative stiffness of movement, leading to total immobility, that's what. The Daleks would soon have found themselves lording it over an army of mannequins modelling cookware. Who was going to do all the fiddly stuff for them then? Who would build those 'cities' of laminate flooring, wire up the fiendish bombs, pursue dissidents across all terrain?
Let's face it, unless the Daleks had instituted a daily morning exercise period for their slaves ("O-bey the Da-leks! Be a tree! Be the tall-est tree in the pet-ri-fied fo-rest! Stretch those pun-y hu-man frames!"), they would've been banjaxed: confined to the shopping-malls and the pedestrianised streets -- and we would all soon have learned to dodge them on our way to buy courgettes.
So celebrate your stretches, savour them, luxuriate in them, remember them; don't take them for granted. One day you might need that little extra suppleness when you're up-ending the Dalek trying to sell you a new ISP.