By The Men's Editor
By Gary Sorkin
The older I grow, the more people that I meet, the more I hear those all too familiar words, “I didn’t sleep a wink last night.”
All this time, I thought I was the only one.
insomnia/insomniac - a verb - a noun - a person - an entire generation, tossing and turning, staring at the clock, slamming the pillow, cursing the darkness. I’ve tried it all: counting sheep (I’d get up to three jumping sheep before they’d begin to tumble and fall and I’m wide-awake with an unwanted smirk on my face). White noise, it works for an hour or two - then makes the rest of my night much too white and much too noisy. Ear plugs and an eyeshade - I feel like I’m in a coffin. Booze, pills, please,..not the answer. It’s a problem.
I am not alone.
Back when I was in college - I had a foolproof method. I’d open a textbook to study for my physics test the next day and fall fast asleep by the time I hit the Preface. There are no more textbooks in my life. I must remember to try some of those computer technology books one of these nights. I hear that they work better than Valium.
My dad was one of the world’s greatest sleepers. Sit him down and turn your back for a second and that noise would be whistling out of his nose, “ZZZZZZZZ.” I inherited his gene for body shape, his hair gene, but his sleep gene seems to have skipped right on over me. My mom? - Just like me, a tosser, a turner, and a pillow pounder.
One or two lifetimes ago I worked nights. I’d stumble into a dimly-lit factory at midnight. The men all looked like walking zombies. The only talk was really not talk at all - it was more like “grunting and moaning.” They moved in slow-motion. These were men who were chasing sleep. During this nightmare period of my life I found that I thought about sleep, planned for sleep, talked about sleep, and chased sleep, but never actually slept.
Come over here sleep. I swear I’ll think of nothing if you’ll just overtake me. That’s right, Mister Sandman, open up that window and come right on in. Throw some of that magic sand in my eyes. I’m waiting here for you. Yes sir, that’s me hugging the pillow with my eyes wide open. C’mon, c’mon, come closer precious one, be my master. Lay your blanket of unconsciousness over me. Give me some of your best REM magic. Float me off on a white cloud. Take me away. I’m so tired of chasing after you.
Yawn and worry
Maybe it’s our generation? Maybe we just have too much input coming into our brains to ever give peace a chance. What about the kids? What about money? What if I don’t fall asleep? What about the what about…?
Worry, worry, worry, what’s going to happen tomorrow?
The truth finally does tap you on the shoulder one day.
Hey dopey, yesterday is a memory, tomorrow but a dream, NOW is all there is.
Now, goddamn it, go to sleep!