The nightmare of insomnia

Kevin Cowherd

January 21, 1991|By Kevin Cowherd

SOMETIMES the hardest thing in the world to do is . . . huh? Sorry. Must have dozed off for a minute.

I was going to say that sometimes the hardest thing in the world to do is get a good night's sleep.

Then again, the measurement of a good night's sleep varies from person to person. Some of us need eight hours, some of us need six, some of us would just like to close our eyes for five minutes. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?! HUH?! JUST FIVE LOUSY MINUTES TO . . .

What's that? Me? Well, now that you mention it, no, I'm not working on too much sleep myself. Spent a restless night, tossing and turning, the whole nine yards. Kept a journal of the entire rocky evening, too:

11:30 p.m. -- Teeth brushed. Alarm clock set. Pillow fluffed. Time for bed. Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs . . . whew. Brain circuits starting to fuse. Thinking process going haywire. Must be more tired than I thought. See you in the morning.

12:05 a.m. -- It's me again. Can't sleep. Will now try various sleep-inducing techniques, including imagery, 80-proof bourbon and holding breath until blacking out. Again, good night.

12:30 -- Let me say this about counting sheep: It's vastly overrated. Makes you bored, not sleepy. Got up to the eighth or lTC ninth sheep and thought seriously of digging out old button collection for a little excitement. Maybe bourbon will work. Good night.

1:05 -- Still awake. Just looked over at my wife, who is cuddled under the blankets and sleeping peacefully, the hint of a smile on her face. God, I hate her. How can she just lie there when I'm wired and staring at the ceiling? It's not right.

2:10 -- This woman is really starting to bug me. The least she could do is wake up and keep me company. Should I wake her? She's always saying that we never talk. Well, I'm ready to talk. Or play cards. Or Scrabble. Whatever she wants to do is fine by me. But she's not budging, dammit. Might as well try to sleep.

2:30 -- Have made up my mind. Will never speak to wife again.

2:53 -- What was that? Strange noise emanating from somewhere downstairs. Scraping sound followed by low whistle. Psycho killer with asthma dragging machete across hardwood floor? Should wake one of the kids to go investigate.

2:58 -- Typical -- kids won't get out of bed to check out noise. Unbelievably selfish, this younger generation. Well, thank you very much! Anyway, scraping sound turned out to be tree limb brushing against window. Low whistle was just the wind. At least that's what my wife said when she came back upstairs. Well, good night.

3:15 -- This just occurred to me: Hope wife checked behind curtains in family room. If psycho killer ever does break in, I bet that's where he'd hide. Then again, why should he hide? He's the one with a weapon. Hmmm, maybe I should send her back down to . . . oops, too late. She's asleep again. God, I hate her. Good night.

3:40 -- Just had a little snack. Food, the great tranquilizer. Made myself one of those 10-story-high Dagwood Bumstead sandwiches: meat, cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, spackle, roofing nails, God knows what else. Will either be asleep in five minutes or rushed to emergency room. Good night.

4:10 -- Just checked pulse, still alive. Let's see what's on TV. Good Lord . . . it's a nun in full habit and she's . . . she's soaring over a building now and . . . it's "The Flying Nun!" Haven't seen show in 20 years. No wonder they pulled the plug. Another compelling reason to go to sleep. Good night.

4:45 -- Apparently starting to hallucinate. Thought I saw Don Knotts peering into bedroom window. When I jumped terror-stricken from bed screaming "NO, DON, NO!" image disappeared, replaced by vision of Andy Rooney railing about too many gizmos on car --board. Am badly shaken now. Sleep seems far away.

5:30 -- Hallucinations much worse. Have been staring for last 10 minutes at shadow on ceiling in eerie shape of St. Francis of Assisi. Thinking of charging admission to viewing public, except image is simply the product of my own distorted thought process. Or is it? Can any of us profess to be any saner than . . .

6:30 -- Shrill buzz of alarm clock startles me from half sleep. I greet new day by snapping head back and ramming it into headboard. Possible concussion setting in. Feel dizzy, weak, nauseous as I head for the shower.

Although that might be the sandwich.

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