Obvious factoid of the day: Chronic insomnia sucks, but not in a good way.
I’ve been dealing with chronic insomnia, a recurring thing, for about as long as I can remember. Or thereabouts, anyway. It began when I was in Uncle Sugar’s Scare Farce and worked a rotating shift in which each “week” consisted of two swing shifts (4:30PM to midnight), followed by two mid shifts (midnight to 7:30AM), then two day shifts (7:30AM to 4:30PM), with three days off in between. Most of us spent most of the first day off sleeping so it didn’t really seem like three days off. Most of us were in a semi-zombie state in which we were more or less awake when standing and more or less asleep when sitting or lying down, but were never really fully awake and alert. Good thing we were only doing missile warning, eh? I became so incensed by the stupidity of it that I dared, as a first term airman and so about as powerful as the glue on the back of a Post-It Note, to buck the system. I did finally manage after about three years to convince the establishment that rotating shifts were bad, wrong, unhealthy, and pathetically stupid — I wasn’t quite six months gone when they went right back to it. That probably proves what was already obvious.
Anyway, ever since then if not before I’ve been a chronic insomniac. I might go several months at a stretch of more or less normal sleep habit, but then some random alignment of the stars with my digestive flora and the natural lay of my hair follicles comes together to just fuck me completely up, and I’m in just such a period now. I’ve slept maybe 30 hours in the last eight to ten days and I think it’s beginning to affect me. It could be that my attitude is just a tad fucked up, and it’s certain that my mental capacity has diminished to that of, oh, about that of six average Christian Republicans. Or approximately equal to that of a common pond leech, if you prefer single entities for comparison’s sake. It kinda pisses me off, though, there’s really no one and nothing to be pissed off at.
If this is the best intelligent design can do, then it doesn’t deserve the title “intelligent”. A drunk monkey jerking off with sand (and a bloody hamburger of a dick) in his hand is smarter than this shit. And so is his bloody hamburger of a dick. As I said, my attitude might be just a tad fucked up. Just a little bit but not so’s anyone might notice, don’tcha mother fucking know.
Not that I or anyone else on this fair Earth might have even considered fucking my mother in the last four decades or so. Not even my father has gone so far as to consider that shit, and he was a hard core alcoholic for most of that time and still couldn’t get drunk enough to make that seem a mistake he could live with. Hell, I wasn’t even an air breather yet when I decided that seven months gestation was as long as I could go being so close that that shit. (True story, that. I was born just at two months prematurely. Which explains my mental malfunctions, since it’s said that the brain does most of its prenatal development in the last trimester which I cut short by two thirds. I might be of somewhat normal intelligence had I toughed it out. Icked right the fuck out for life, though, which would make one of normal intelligence a mental basket case.)
Where was I? Oh, yeah, three glasses into the wine I didn’t really want but thought wrongly might help me to sleep. My alarm will sound in five and a half hours and I’ll have no choice but to crawl my heathen ass out because the only reason I even consider rising at that hour is to get my lovely Amethyst to work. I consider it — she demands it. Not because she really digs arising at that hour herself, but such is the life of the peon. If you think you don’t like sucking hind tit, just wait until you’re pushed off of it and all that’s left is asshole.
Ain’t I just the life of the party tonight? Holy shit. Give me three more minutes and I’ll have the skid row hookers who have to suck three dicks an hour for ten hours straight just to get three hours of being high on shitty street dope feeling sorry for me. Praise the lord for we are all his children and he loves each and every one of us, amen and amen and what the fuck ever.
Do ya ever wonder about that shit? I don’t know the first thing about being a god, but in my humble little piece of shit life that won’t be remembered for very long if at all upon my passing, when I write software that doesn’t do as I wish I blame myself for it. It was up to me, and it remains up to me, to make it right. If it doesn’t do right it’s because I my own self fucked up. I don’t ever say that it’s because the compiler got my meaning wrong — it was never the compiler’s job to get my meaning right. The compiler’s job is to do exactly as I’ve told it even if I’ve told it wrong. I don’t want some stupid bitch of a compiler second guessing me. I’m the fucking boss here, ya know?
I’d be a much better god than the ones that humans have so far invented for themselves to blame for the shit that goes wrong in this world. It’s not a gig I’d want, really, but it’s one I’d gladly take right this instant because some shit here is all fucked up and there clearly ain’t no one in charge who gives the first fuck about fixing it.
Oops. Did I say three glasses of wine and five and a half hours? Strike that. A sip or three into my fifth glass of wine, and four and a half hours. It’s kinda slow work, this what I would do if I were a god shit. Forgive me, as I’m only human and this god shit is new to me.
If I were a god, you would have neither a monthly rent bill nor a mortgage. The guys who build houses would just show up when you get around to, oh, some reasonable point in life, maybe getting married, maybe having kids, whatever, and ask “How much house do you expect to need in the next few decades?”, and if you gave a reasonable answer they’d build a correspondingly reasonable house for you. And you, being not a piece of parasitic shit, would go on to do whatever the fuck it is that you’d do that benefits yourself and society at large as well, and we’d just call it square. Then when your spawn are grown and gone you’d be compassionate and reasonable enough to move on, leaving your house to some younger folks intent upon fouling this Earth with still more human beings while you move into some smaller place formerly inhabited by older folks who’ve had the compassion and reason to croak off to make some room. And so on. The house builder dudes would have the sausage you made (in your sausage factory gig) for breakfast every morning, or enjoy the art you made hanging on their walls, and none of us would be asshole enough to bitch that our sausage or art is so wonderful that we deserve more than the creators of some other sausage or art. We’d pay homage to the pigs whose snouts, lips, ears, and genitalia went into that damned sausage instead. We’d recognize that it takes all of us together to make this shit work, and would not be offended at all when someone wiser’n ourselves said something true like “you [alone] didn’t make that”.
Credit where it’s due, ya know? You think your day is fucked? Howzabout those eggs you had for breakfast who never even got to breath the air or bask in the sunlight? They were probably looking forward to those things. I eat eggs, too, but have some fucking respect and some perspective, ya know?
Not that any of us have what it takes to live in such an egalitarian world in which we cannot directly measure our worth against our estimated worth of others and so evaluate if not elevate our own worth. But if I were the one and only troogod I’d fix that shit right up and no one would know the difference. Not because something like communism or socialism is the one and only true right way, but because it’d be my decision to make and I’d force that shit upon you until something better came to mind. It takes all of us to make this shit work, and the cat who spends his days grinding up pig parts to make sausage is every bit as valuable as the one who spends his days loading data into spreadsheets or arguing cases in court or deciding those cases or passing the laws upon which those cases are based, or running the banks we don’t really need anyway, or signing the paychecks. They’re all just jobs that need doing.
One of my clients recently gifted me a bonus, the entire series of Foxfire books that were something of a rage back when they were new and we all looked forward to the next one coming out. I didn’t ask for them; we were talking and she said to me, “You know, I think you’d be doing the world a service if you wrote down all the stuff you know and shared it with the world so it won’t die with you”. I told her that I figured the Foxfire series pretty much did that, though with a whole bunch of religious bullshit thrown in just because it all originated in the Bible Belt. I expected that if it went anywhere at all she’d acquire the series for herself, and for all I know she did just that. What I know with certainty is that the whole darn series, religious bullshit and all, showed up on my porch about a week later.
Gotta love her for that. The woman’s just a bit younger than our daughter who’s a sweet girl but probably wouldn’t do the same. Just a few years ago our daughter told us that if we were ever to fall upon hard times we should not darken her door because we would not be welcome. It just happened, perhaps coincidentally, that we were upon hard times when she said it. We didn’t push the issue, as we both knew we were on hard times because we’d taken pity upon our parents when they’d fallen upon hard times and doing so had bankrupted us. Though we can’t blame her for saying it and can in fact appreciate it, she’d better hope we never land a miracle landfall like a Powerball jackpot because our memories are long. We might elect to pay off our landlady’s mortgage because she’s been kind to us, but our daughter would have to hope things stay right long enough to pay off her own by the sweat of her own brow. Don’t come darkening our door when your shit comes untogether, girl.
Anyway, one of the messages that keeps coming back loud and clear across the ages in the Foxfire series is that once upon a time, if you had a neighbor who was sick at harvest time you just went and harvested and put up his crops for him because it needed doing, and didn’t ask for anything in return. You could trust that when you fell sick some time later he’d be there to do the same. When it came time for a corn shucking, everyone just showed up and shucked your corn and all you owed them was a meal when it was all done, and if it went on too long, maybe another meal, or a dance in your barn. When a newlywed couple needed a house everyone just turned out and built one for them. That kind of thing. And it wasn’t all that long ago that these things were the every day reality right here in our now greedy, callous, fuck you and yours ‘cuz I got or am getting mine Untidy States. Right here on the continent my family has inhabited for just shy of four hundred years. My grandparents grew up with that. Paying medical bills in chickens and molasses, that kind of thing. Somewhere between their generation and mine it was abandoned, so that these days if your neighbor falls upon hard times you think the right thing to do is to snatch up his land and equipment for cheap at auction, and maybe do him the service of hiring his kids on to bring in the harvest of the crops he planted for you.
Tell me that ain’t a well and truly fucking broken system. You bet yer ass I’d undo that if I were a god. Which I ain’t, so don’t mind me and keep on watching the legal notices in the paper to find out whose shit you can get for cheap at auction this weekend. Hell, that’s how I got my mahogany dining table… But it was given to me by the older couple who bought it. They had no room in their house, or garage, or storage units, so the husband insisted that it had to be given away as soon as it was purchased. The wife bid on it anyway. Them’s that gots and them’s that ain’t…
See, I done toldja that chronic insomnia is a real bitch and might have polluted my attitude just a mite. Or a whole passel of mites. But only just some single digit number of acres of passels at this point. Wait ’til the weekend if my insomnia doesn’t go away and you’ll get to read some really freaky shit.
Four hours and I’m considering another glass of wine. On the one hand it won’t hurt in the present moment, on the other it’ll make it just that much harder to crawl out at 3:30AM, and that much more fucked of a day. And on the third hand I ain’t real sure whether I cuss way too much not nearly enough. That’s the danger y’all (notice the tribute to my Texican friends there) take when you read the stream of consciousness ramblings of a dirty fucking heathen.
Seriously, now, I’m looking forward to my next trip to the big town where there’s a quasi, pseudo, more or less kinda sorta but not really legal marijuana store. If I were going to be a dick about it I might even insist that the Veterans’ Administration should pay for my (some day I might acquire a) pot habit, since it was in the course of defending your freedoms (that’s a joke, so laugh) that I acquired this lifelong chronic insomnia. I know it seems a stretch, but I had a perfectly regular circadian rhythm from birth right up until I was forced to become a pickle zombie. (Pickle because I dressed in olive drab fatigues to go to work on that big ugly missile warning station, zombie for the obvious reasons.) Here’s the scene of the crime:
Though it might not look like much, that’s a really freaking huge radar. A “phased array spacetrack radar” it’s called, and when I was there our primary mission was to keep an eye out for ballistic missiles. Not that there ever were any. Now its primary mission is to look at space junk. So it goes. The building, for perspective’s sake, is 143 feet tall, 318 feet wide, and two and a half million cubic feet in volume. It’s nothing like, say, Yosemite’s El Capitan, but El Cap is not covered in Teflon and rappelling both atop and underneath that Teflon is an interesting experience that not many have had. Whether or not it’s still true, it was at one time and was while I was there the most powerful radar system on Earth. Could be the radiation did me some harm. Could be it didn’t. Ain’t no tellin’. I left there in 1984 and this is about as close as I’m ever going to get to looking back. I can say that I loved my job but did not feel at all the same way about my employer. (What can I say except that the military makes no allowances for manhood?)
It’s certainly possible that there’s still, to this day, a US Air Force Space Command coffee mug hanging upside-down above the modulator control console on the first floor there on the left-hand side of the building just under that square shape visible in the photo. Some random dipshit airman was pissed off enough at his boss some time in about late 1983/early 1984 to risk life and limb to climb his sorry heathen ass out there onto an I-beam well above that unforgiving concrete floor and the mostly unforgiving steel of the modulator control console bolted to that concrete, and hang said boss’s most prized coffee mug up there with the strongest epoxy then available on-site, and again the next day to remove the duct tape that held said mug in said place while the epoxy set. I can’t say that I know precisely who it was, but I heard some stories about it after I was long gone from there and that said boss was quite righteously pissed off about it once he finally noticed it hanging up there.
Said boss also went to prison for, despite the the bible condoning the same, having carnal knowledge of his then minor daughter. The daughter recanted upon achieving the age of legal majority but the Air Force would not allow the, uh, individual shall we say, to resume his career. Part of the reasoning was the coffee cup criminal’s official complaints of that NCO’s egregious behavior. I hope the coffee cup criminal went on to become, oh, I dunno, a self employed software engineer with a stellar reputation, a beautiful wife, and an Awesome Cat. Not that I know who that fucking guy was. I do, though, think you’ve got to be pretty well fucked up to convince your daughter to say that kind of shit in court.
My youngest might have done the same, though, so maybe you only have to have a fucked up daughter. My youngest was ready to make false allegations of another sort because I dared to say no to her when she was an omnipotent teenager… She went on to give up our daughter in law’s phone number on a loan application for which debt collectors have been employed for some reason, I heard just this afternoon. The daughter in law is annoyed that the female person who’s fucking her ex-husband (my stepson, Amethyst’s son, the youngest’s stepbrother) would do such a thing.
Three hours to alarm time, no sleep for that once pissed off airman whoever he might be. Even his Awesome Cat has sense enough to be asleep just now… The VA ought to buy his reefer for the rest of his life, don’tcha think? Whoever that once daring young man might now be.
Two and a half hours to alarm time now that our heroic and formerly daring young hero has re-read his latest rambling blog post… Whaddaya think? Might this chronic insomnia that resists all herbal and not-so-herbal medication be the end of him this time around? Or might he make it before his potentially untimely demise to that big town where the nearest retail pot shop is located, and with the assistance of that mythical medicinal marijuana again achieve a good night’s sleep? Or maybe accomplish the same without said herbal assistance through the grace of some invisible space daddy piece of shit who gladly punishes those who live just as he made them?
Big questions, surely. I don’t expect answers, or validation, or sympathy. ‘Tis what ’tis and there’s not anything more to be said about it. I know pretty much what there is to know about the subject, and one palliative is about as good as any other that’s no more harmful. Cannabis is the least offensive of them and while I like it just fine it’s still palliative rather than curative. This is just my lot in life, and shame on you for wasting as much time as it takes to read this far into my inane and possibly insane ramblings — but I thank you very sincerely for being my friend and riding this shit out with me.