My entire life I’ve struggled with sleep. I think it’s because I’m such a control freak that I can’t stand the idea of being unconscious for hours at a time. Sleep is a ridiculous idea anyway when you think about it. Our time on this planet is so short, who wants to waste a single minute of it?
Sometimes it’s the pressing issues of our time that keep me awake. There’s global warming, the war in Iraq, homeland security, and Brittney Spears.
Oh Brittney. Brittney, Brittney, Brittney.
I’m not even about to get into why this chick is insane. I don’t care to know the root of her insanity, although if I had to hazard a guess I’d go with Too Much Damn Money and Not Enough Right Raisin’ for $100.
What keeps me awake nights is why the collective we are captivated by her madness. It’s too easy to say she is a blonde car wreck. I think it has more to do with our desire to look at anything but what’s really going on around us. When we are in the middle of a war that a recent poll by the Associated Press says 57% of us think was a mistake to begin with, Brittney’s brand of crazy tastes like a sweet diversion.
Wow. That was deep. I’d better say something funny quick before this thing goes in the ditch.
What do you call two banana peels?
A pair of slippers.
Whew, that was close but I think we can all agree I pulled it off.
In addition to the fair-haired distraction, I am also kept awake by worry over people I love. Since I love a lot of people, there are lots of reasons to never sleep again.
I worry my daughter Kitten is happy enough, has enough of everything she wants and that she knows every second of every day how proud her Mother is of her.
I worry that Mr. Man will forget to love me even though I threaten…I mean remind him every day of his life.
I worry Deputy Pretty will eventually run out of twenty-something brainless beauties to “date” and will be forced to move away to the North Pole…which is probably home to the only women left on Earth he hasn’t tagged.
I can’t believe I just said tagged. Does that even mean what I think it means or did I accuse DP of playing a really fun 3rd grade game? I’m such a dork. That worries me.
I worry that the Big Dog will break something important when he’s playing football like his neck or his penis or my heart.
Like last week at his middle school season opener.
You know how I’m a crazy good football player, right? Well, it seems genetics are both wondrous and mysterious because as it happens, my son the Big Dog is also a crazy good football player.
I have only myself to thank.
The minute the pads went on the Big Dog was transformed from mild-mannered boy into aggressive bone-breaking demon spawn. It was beautiful. Again and again his name came over the loud speakers and although they gave him the credit for whatever grand thing he’d done, it sounded to me like they were saying, “Woo-hoo for Sher!”
The opposing team, I’ll call them the Big City Losers, were all roughly nine feet tall and had chest hair. A couple of them were smoking filter-less cigarettes on the side line and others were writing child support checks to some of the cheerleaders.
As the Big City Losers approached their headquarters, or “goal”, one of them foolishly attempted to throw the ball to another one. My son, my boy, my superstar in cleats, snatched the ball right out of the air and began to run away with it.
Five of those white click marks on the ground went by. Another five. And when he was just about to run past another five click marks, three of the Big City Losers had the audacity to grab him, throw him to the ground and then pile on top of him.
I reached for the gun Mr. Man always keeps stuck in the back of his pants. As I was about to go all Charlie’s Angels on their asses I realized my baby wasn’t getting up. He lay there and lay there and lay there.
I stopped breathing. I wanted to hop over all things in my way and run to him but his Father on my left and his Step-Father on my right forbade me. When coaches motioned for the EMS crew, I gently encouraged his Dad to get down there right away. Very, very gently with only minimal curse words and shooting gestures.
Long story short, we got to spend hours in a Big City hospital with the same name as an ice cream topping. (Who calls a hospital Carmel any way?) He’s OK, thank God, but the what-ifs have kept me awake ever since.
“Do you want to be paralyzed from the neck down or do you want to play football?” I asked the boy at supper the next night.
“Are those my only choices?” he asked.
I’m never sleeping again.
My new most favorite song in the big wide world.
Copyright © 2004-2007, Sherri Bailey
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