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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!

How Does That Rip Van Winkle Bastard Do It, Anyway?

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend recently: I’m not nearly as good as I used to be at sleeping.

Now, I wouldn’t have thought that lying down and losing consciousness is one of those skills that would slip away with age. Really, how hard can frigging sleeping be? I’ve heard people describe something trivially simple as being ‘as easy as falling off a log‘. Well, shit — sleeping’s not only that easy, but if you can manage to land on your damned head when you slip off the log, it’s self-actualizing, too. Fall off a log just right, and bam! — you’re sleeping. It doesn’t get any damned easier than that.

And yet, I struggle. I’m not really sure why, but sleep just doesn’t come as easily as it used to, either on the front end or the back end.

(Of course, if you’ve ever tried catching forty winks on a ‘back end’, then you know that’s not a terribly enjoyable experience, even if you can get to sleep. All you do is dream of ass all night long. And yeah, I know — that sounds like it would be a good thing, but trust me, it’s not. Even ass gets old, after a while.)

What really concerns me, though, is sleeping in. Or rather, not sleeping in, even on weekends or, as I’ve recently discovered, on Christmas break. This is deeply troubling, to say the least. For the first thirty-plus years of my life, I was a world-class morning loafer. I could wake up at eight am, check the time, and roll over with a grin, knowing that I had much sleep left in me. At nine, I might come up for air again, give the clock a derisive snort, and snooze well into the double-digit morning hours, or later. I mean, I was a fricking pro, folks — no matter the bedtime, or the distractions, or the noise level, I was one kick-ass sleeper.

But lately… well, let’s just say that I haven’t seen ten am from sleep-encrusted, still-bedded eyes for a long time. Even on weekends, I’m up by nine, nine-thirty at the latest. Nine-frickingthirty! That wasn’t even the ‘home stretch’, back in the day. I used to laugh at nine-thirty on Saturday mornings; it wasn’t even an option to get up before eleven or so.

And frankly, why the hell would I get up early on weekends, or Christmas break, anyway? Nothing useful happens until at least noon — football games, basketball games, keg parties… these are all things that start after the magical noon hour. It does me no damned good to be awake mid-morning, when there’s nothing good to do. I end up watching the boring ‘outdoorsy’ crap that’s on ESPN, or getting sucked into household chores, or eating English frigging muffins. Let me tell you, people, there is nothing even remotely redeeming about watching ‘Joe-Bob’s Fishin’ Hole Extravaganza‘ while buffing your floors and munching on a stale hunk of styrofoam and calling it ‘breakfast’. There’s not enough tequila in the world to make that nightmare feel right.

And yet, that’s where I find myself, time and again — awake and tragically conscious when I have no right, or reason, or desire to be. And I’ve tried everything to fix it — staying up until three or four in the morning, running up and down the stairs until I’m exhausted, even drinking ‘sleeping draughts’ of NyQuil and chloroform before hitting the sack. And none of it has worked — I still wake up at eight or nine, and have to go through three hours or more of horrible, distasteful morning before the tolerable part of the day gets underway. There’s got to be some answer.

Or maybe my sleeping prowess is gone forever. That’s a scary thought — maybe I’ve lost it for good. Shit, that would suck. I don’t know what the hell I’d do, if I couldn’t sleep in ever again. I’d have to find some way to entertain myself during the dark hours before noon on Saturday and Sunday. Or Christmas Eve, for that matter. I was up early today, too, and I can only twiddle my thumbs for so long before my brain starts trying to seep out of my ears to escape.

(I often have to jam something in there to hold my brain in. Traitorous bastard organ, anyway. On a really bad day, it’ll make a break for another orifice, and I’ll have to plug up my nostrils, or even my mouth. My wife has walked into the bathroom more than once to find me there, with Q-Tips jammed in my ears and nose, and my hairbrush in my mouth.

I do my best to explain that it’s necessary, to make sure my brain doesn’t leak out. Of course, she never understands. She just nods and smiles, and pats me on the head, and says, ‘Yes, dear. Of course, dear. Unfortunately, I think it’s too late. There, there.

Humph. What kind of talk is that, anyway? Maybe I’ll jam one a Q-Tip into one of her orifi one day, and see how she likes it. Feh.)

Anyway, it looks like I’m not going to be back to my deliciously slothy ways any time soon. I’ve been exhausted and sleep-deprived the past few days, with zero reason to be awake and functional before noon, but I still haven’t slept in, even once. I’ll have to work on this once I get back home; maybe sleeping pills or sharp blows to the head before bed will work. Something’s got to give — I’m starting to get desperate. If I have to watch one more goddamned goober on early-morning ESPN sneak up on a pheasant, or yank a bass out of some crap-encrusted lake, I’m gonna lose it. I’ll have to keep those Q-Tips and hairbrush in place permanently, or risk losing my brain altogether. And if there’s one thing I hate more than crappy TV and bland breakfast food, it’s the taste of hairbrush in the morning. I have got to beat this damned thing.

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “How Does That Rip Van Winkle Bastard Do It, Anyway?”

  1. Sharon says:

    Merry Christmas to you, to your family, and to all your readers!

  2. shelli says:

    seasons greetings to you and yours

  3. The Hearn says:

    ESPN Classic shows old NASCAR races on Saturday mornings. I can’t think of a better way to greet the day then trying to shake off a hangover while watching Cale Yarborough spin Darrell Waltrip into the infield!

    Okay, I have serious problems. Don’t hold it agin me.

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