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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

I Knew I’d Forgotten Something

Well, dammit. The easiest entry every two weeks, and I spaced on it. You’d think I actually want to come up with new crap here every time. Sheesh.

Still, better to be lazy late than to be lazy never, so here goes:

Since it is — or rather, was — the fifteenth of the month, that means that a new issue of Zoiks! is out. Which also means that the previous issue of Zoiks! goes into the archives. Which also, also means… I get a free post. Yay, me.

So, please find below for your reading enjoyment my second-most-recent contribution to Zoiks!, which ran in the last online issue. And if that doesn’t satisfy your thirst for yuks, then head over to Zoiks!, and check out the current issue, chock full of giggles and grins.

And that’s it. I’m pasting the last piece in, and I’m off on a new adventure. Man, these Zoiks!-related posts are easy! How the hell could I almost forget?

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

As a writer and aspiring stand-up comedian, I’ve been blessed with recurring insomnia. Under ‘normal’ circumstances, the condition might seem like a curse, but in my lines of work, it’s actually very useful. I get more accomplished after three am than most people do after twelve-thirty. On the other hand, I often sleep past eleven in the morning, so there are tradeoffs. That’s how insomnia works.

And eventually, all good sleepless nights must come to an end. So I’ve tried out a few ways to bring on the snoozes, when counting sheep just won’t do. Feel free to use any or all of the techniques below — just make sure you’re really ready to hit the sack. This is powerful medicine, folks; proceed with caution.

Drink a glass of warm milk: Generally, this doesn’t work, of course. It seems to be some sort of old wives’ tale. What old wives have against the rest of us enjoying a night’s rest, I don’t know, but drinking a full glass of lukewarm moo juice will leave you bleary-eyed and milkstached, but not drowsy. Still, you’ve got to start somewhere. And you can always graduate to a nice, warm glass of milk and coconut rum — hold the milk. That’ll put you to sleep, but you’d better be sure to cancel those morning meetings the next day.

Try reading a book: This is great, if you happen to have ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ lying around, or you keep ‘Principles of Organic Chemistry’ on your nightstand. It’s somewhat less effective if the closest book handy is ‘Amityville Horror’, or an audiobook from the Steven King collection. Instead of sleeping, you might spend the night hiding under the covers, hoping that the creaking outside your window is just the wind. Of course, those of us who are truly proficient with insomnia don’t have to worry so much — we’re not going to bed until after dawn, anyway, so there’s no ‘dark’ for bogeymen to go ‘bump’ in. Still, it’s not such a good idea to seed your dreams with the most horrific images that today’s writers can dream up. There’s sleeping, and then there’s ‘unconscious night sweating’. Stick to the textbooks and tearjerkers, if you go this route.

Listen to soothing music: Again, this is a great idea in theory — but one person’s ‘soothing’ is another person’s… well, ‘Hootie and the Blowfish’, for instance. Sure, their music is soft and lilting, but ‘easy listening’, my ass. My ears would find steel wool Q-tips more ‘soothing’ than that audiodrivel. Luckily, any music can soothe the insomnial beast, so long as it’s played softly enough. Sometimes, Rage Against the Machine at six decibels — or Nine Inch Nails, at a level only dogs can hear — is just what the sleep doctor ordered.

Exercise: Honestly, I’ve only tried this method once. I get the idea — the physical activity, late at night, should sap whatever energy your body has remaining, and let you slip sweetly off to dreamland. Fine. But remember, your hand-eye coordination and reflexes aren’t going to be up to par, after staying awake for hours past your bedtime. And, as I found out, it can be rather embarrassing to explain to the ambulance crew how you backhanded yourself down a flight of stairs, trying to do jumping jacks at four in the morning. I wasn’t sure whether I really wanted them to believe me or not.

Watch LifeTime: No, really. Anything on LifeTime. The Oxygen network works, too. Or the Golf Channel. Or any shopping network — unless you’re one of those people with a shopping problem, of course. You’re not doing anyone any good, lying there on the couch for three hours ordering commemorative Jackson trial dinner plates. But short of that, this is clearly the way to go. There are hundreds of channels out there; surely, you can find one that’ll put you to sleep. You call them ‘DirecTV’, but I’m calling them ‘Sandman’. Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

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