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My Visit with Divorced Dad: “Can I return to earth now?”

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Dad (biplane in hand circa 1930) during his Lucky Lindy airplane phase.

My father’s peculiarities were prodigious. Of course when you’re young and in thrall of your father, you see no peculiarities – it’s just Saturday with dad. So I never really noticed them till I got older. I knew he was a smart guy, but in many ways he was also a functioning non sequitur. And I attribute most of his eccentricities to his mother Helen’s benign malfeasance (I think she dropped him on his ego – a lot). Inside the bosom of this bleak and scolding woman beat a stingy heart pumping out precious little affection. Consequently, my forsaken father looked askance at all he surveyed and fought mightily to compartmentalize his wounded emotions. The poor guy. It turns out that choosing the right parents is a very important thing. Why so little is done about this is beyond me.

 

 

My dad was a depressed person, but he never visited his dysfunction on others. No “woe is me” from that guy. He just withstood the incongruities of life, waiting for someone, or some entity, to respond to his bedrock assertion, “I never asked to be born.” My dad’s philosophy was a slightly darker version of Disney’s. Whereas Disney might be the happiest place on earth, to my dad, life was “the inconvenient-est place on earth.” In his eyes life was such a bother, for something so inconclusive. For better or worse, some of his nuanced take and skewed analysis didn’t fall too far from the tree.

 

 

My dad was not a hater. He was a withstander. He was the Chuck Norris of enduring things he’d rather not contend with. And I loved him because, because…oh, I don’t know why. It’s just what you do in this universe of God’s trickle-down Lovenomics. I mean the Almighty is rollin’ in the stuff and we (his adoring children), residing far down stream, get the briny runoff – just enough to hydrate us and motivate us to search for its source in hopes of further slaking our cosmic thirst. Enough I say! I rise up and proclaim “Occupy God,” but that’s perhaps another story I’ll write at another time. For now, this quaint and foible-filled feature is what I want to share with you.   

 

 

I’ve chosen to highlight only one of Dad’s oddities because if I listed them all, this chronicle would need to be retitled The Never Ending Story. The following goofily aberrant father-son playdate was indicative of his refracted perspective. In 1970, in the midst of their divorce, my caring, warm-hearted mother arranged a Saturday night sleepover for me with my father. She had to arrange it because he sure as hell wasn’t capable of organizing it himself. Though he may have desired some quality time with his adolescent son, he was genetically incapable of doing anything that wasn’t statutorily required or absolutely necessary for survival. Bowing to convention would be anathema to this man of apathetic appetites – plus it would be way, way too inconvenient. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s in Your Sleep App?

Top 10 (or so) Least Popular “White Noise” Ambient Sounds

  1. Rain falling on a corpse
  2. An endless loop of “Please listen carefully as some of our menu options have changed”
  3. Waves crashing on a Land Rover parked too close to the shore
  4. Nail guns operated by the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps
  5. Wind blowing through an orphanage
  6. An endless loop of “If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 911”
  7. Morgan Freeman slowly enunciating, “Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Heeeeere kitty.”
  8. A batter repeatedly hit on the ankle by a 95 mph fastball
  9. A continuous sound of rubber being punctured by one of those “Caution: Severe Tire Damage” spikes.
  10. The Gettysburg Address solemnly spoken in Pig Latin
  11. A quartet of Leaf Blowers playing “When the Saints Go Marching In”
  12. The sound of no hands clapping. AKA the Sound of Silence.

    Whatever get’s ya thru the night…It’s alright. It’s alright.

  13. Christopher Walken reciting “Rock-a-Bye Baby”
  14. The whoosh of toilets flushing
  15. A 15-round recording of Rock’em Sock’em robots boxing
  16. A veterinarian brushing Grover’s teeth. Grover is his assistant.
  17. The zipping sounds of aestheticians administering a bikini wax

And if this list doesn’t put you to sleep, nothing will.

“I Will Not Sleep, Until I Find a Cure for Insomnia”

Those are the words of Dr. Gershwin Fassbender, Director of the SIA (Slumber Institute of America). Like most of the employees at the Slumber Institute, Dr. Fassbender is woke. In fact maybe a little too woke and that’s what accounts for the insomnia.

 

The Problem: Nocturnal Adrenalizing

When cartoon figures suffer from insomnia it’s funny. But when it’s you, well that’s another story.

We will survey the career of Dr. Fassbender in due course, but first let us examine the disorder of insomnia. Insomnia is a pervasive national calamity responsible for grievous errors in judgment including leaving a tip at McDonald’s, watching Hee Haw or sending money to a Nigerian prince. Chronic insomnia dumbs us down, jitters us up and can leave us in a state of trivial speculation whereby one wonders if the employees at Yahoo! drink Yoo-hoo. I do. Do you?

 

The vicious circle of sleeplessness presents its ironic geometry when you lie awake all night worried that you won’t fall asleep. This self-fulfilling prophecy of not getting to sleep keeps you up at night, so during the day you shuffle about somnambulistically. And if we’ve learned anything from somnambulism (sleep-walking) is that it’s very hard to pronounce and even harder to spell.

 

The need for regular, replenishing sleep is a metabolic requirement providing normative homeostasis to an otherwise unregulated body. Despite what Big Pharma might have you think, there is no substitute for restorative, deep REM sleep. Big Pharma offers nothing but Ambien. Little Pharma has come up short on the matter and Medium Pharma has just stayed home on the Pharm. Let me illustrate this disconnect in another way; Ambien is to sleep as drinking ocean water is to thirst – it may solve your problem in the short run, but there’s hell to pay in the long run. And hell, I’m told, extends credit to no one.   Read the rest of this entry »

I Wuz Just Reading in Bed When…

"Anything to hide this Katherine Hepburn neck." M. Talleyrand

“Anything to hide this Katherine Hepburn neck of mine.” M. Talleyrand

Very rarely am I blindsided and tickled pink by a literary passage that packs the unintentionally humorous punch of a Linear Particle Accelerator. Such was the case when this unsuspecting reader was suddenly seized by a powerfully jocular elation; when all he really wanted to do was drift off gently to safe and restful sleep, sleep, sleep. Allow me to set the scene. It’s late evening and I’m reading in bed prior to an early morning shift at the local satis factory (yes, we manufacture satis). As my pursuit of Early American history is unquenchable, I’m curled up to an esoteric and anecdotally superb book called  Beauties and Celebrities of the Nation which describes the social life of Washington DC during the early Presidential administrations. In this particular chapter, George Washington’s administration (which in 1794 was located in Philadelphia pending the construction of our new Capitol in DC) is being surveyed. Read the rest of this entry »