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Charlie Hatton
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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!
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There’s No Fun in Poking

My wife and I have worked out a system.

During the week, we’re both pretty busy. She keeps herself occupied with work and attending law school at night and waking up at the asscrack of four AM every morning. Meanwhile, I wake up later and stay late at the office most evenings, and play ‘fat old man sports’ like softball and billiards when I have the chance. Also, I watch a lot of football on TV. And eat Cheetos.

Clearly, I’m getting the better end of the deal so far.

With all of this running around higgledy-piggledy, we sometimes don’t see much of each other during the week. And while we do our best to catch up on the weekends — one recent Saturday conversation started with, ‘So how was your summer?‘ — we don’t want to chalk up the work week as a total loss, relationship-wise.

So we’ve worked out a system.

Just before my wife leaves for work each morning, she comes back into the bedroom, gently wakes me, and gives me a kiss goodbye. That’s her job in this system. My job is to wake up, kiss my wife — without drooling on her clothes, apparently — and chirp, as cheerily as possible, ‘Have a good day!‘ Then she heads off to work, and I go back to sleep for three more hours.

Again, I would seem to be getting the long end of this particular stick.

“According to my wife, a shadowy figure looming and making puckery kissy noises at her at two in the morning can be ‘startling’.”

And mostly, it is a pretty sweet deal for me. First, it’s my wife who’s responsible for initiating the process. We tried doing it the other way once, where I’d wake her for a sweet kiss goodnight before slipping into bed in the wee hours of the morning. That proved to be problematic. According to my wife, a shadowy figure looming and making puckery kissy noises at her at two in the morning can be ‘startling’. At least, that’s what I gleaned from her shouting, ‘Whoooohaaaaaah!!‘ and beating me over the head with her nightstand lamp. So in the end, I’d say we were both startled. But only one of us was bleeding. This is why we don’t have goodnight kisses at two AM any more.

All is not sunbeams and fuzzy bunnies in the morning version, either. Yes, I appreciate that we steal a moment together, however brief, in the middle of our hectic schedules. And getting back to sleep is no issue — no sane human should be awake before eight in the morning, anyway. When my wife leaves, I glance at the ridiculously early time on my clock, and laugh my way right back to dreamland.

There is one problem with our arrangement, though — the method my wife has chosen to wake me. I call it the ‘Chinese Poking Torture‘. She picks a spot, ostensibly depending on which awkward position I happen to be dozing in. It might be my shoulder, or my back, or the top of my head. Once the target is selected, she gently, with one finger, pokes it.

Then she pokes it again.

And again. Poke. Poke. Poke.

Now usually, I’m dreaming when this poking starts. So my slumber takes an odd twist as my feeble brain attempts to reconcile this repeated prodding with whatever’s happening in my dream. I’ve interpreted it as being bumped, pushed, tapped, punched, landed on, tugged, and, in one rather ‘startling’ case, shot in the chest. Luckily for us both, my nightstand lamp was out of reach.

I suppose I can’t complain about being awoken with a poke — even if it’s not that kind of ‘poke’. At six or so in the morning, I’m lucky she doesn’t use a backhand across the chops to stir me. At least, that’s what I feel like doing to people when I’m up at that hour. If our roles were reversed, she might wake up with permanent marker drawn on her face, an atomic wedgie, and her hand in a bowl of warm water. It’s not that I’d want to do those things to her; it’s just that I’m cranky before nine o’clock or so in the morning. And before seven, I’m downright evil.

Consider, as an example, the day last week when I was actually awake before my wife came in to poke me. I decided to gently, lovingly suggest that perhaps finding another way of waking me would be preferable. As I lay there, facing away from her, I could sense her approaching my backside with her pointy finger poised to poke. Just as her digit descended towards my derriere, I flung myself around, jumped to my knees, and grabbed at her hand, shouting:


I’d like to reiterate at this point that a nightstand lamp upside the head really hurts. You’d think I’d learn these things the first time.

To add insult to the ensuing injuries, my little stunt didn’t have quite the effect I was hoping for. True, my wife doesn’t wake me by standing over me and jabbing me with a finger any more. No, now she stands across the room, and pokes at me with one of my golf clubs. Not only am I awakened just as rudely, but if I try surprising her again, I’ll get a nine iron to the noggin, too.

So in the end, as always, she’s got the better deal. Maybe there’s something to this ‘early bird’ crap, after all.

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “There’s No Fun in Poking”

  1. kerry says:

    when hubby leaves for work, he’ll just come in, kiss me goodbye, and tell me he’s leaving. if he’s lucky, i’ll at least manage a sleepy “bye, love you, be careful” before he leaves. sometimes i might actually wake up, but it depends on when i went to bed and how deeply asleep i am. i think if he poked me, he’d probably end up getting a right-cross to the jaw.

  2. Roofie Raccoon says:

    “I suppose I can’t complain about being awoken with a poke — even if it’s not that kind of ‘poke’.”

    Wouldn’t you be surprised if you were awoken with THAT kind of poke!

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