May Insomnia

Hi.  I’m very tired of being awake.  It’s been a long night of trying different positions in my bed (back, front, side, scissor, toothpick, half-gainer, Indian elephant, dead albatross, slo-mo cherry bomb, angry toe-tuck, violent wildcat, etc.).  According to sleep experts, one of these positions should work, because living things sleep.

Bed Soaked in Turpentine

Vincent van Gogh soaked his bed in a kind of turpentine that knocked him out, which he really liked.  Unfortunately, the camphor chewed up his brain, so he cut his ear off, etc. and so forth.

I’ve done more sleep research. Several hours ago, for instance, I read that Groucho Marx could never sleep, and he’d get lonely in the middle of the dark night, and then he’d make crank phone calls. That reminded me of the Jerky Boys, you know, these crank callers, who achieved a modicum of fame years ago?  They made me almost die laughing when I was a young person, back in  the day when I could sleep like a baby, because I was a baby.

I looked the Jerky Boys up on the internet and — this is not a surprise — found them and most of their old stuff on youtube.  I didn’t remember the swearing and other offense that surely made The Jerky Boys exciting and dangerous to me back when I could sleep.

Upon listening again, I didn’t find them very funny, at first.  But I had time on my hands, so I kept listening.  Soon, I couldn’t breathe,

Earth Rise

because I was in stitches or I need stitches some place, because, now I think I have a hernia from laughing very hard in my bed.  It hurts. Is it funny or  am I going crazy like van Gogh (without the talent and turpentine)?

Wait, no.  The Jerky Boys are funny and they teach a writing lesson.  That must be why I’m awake.  Oh yes.

Yes, they use a funny voice. Voice is important.  Yes, the crank call stranger danger raises the stakes (reality TV trick, of course) and that gets my business in a bundle.  Good situation.

But, here’s the real deal: what really makes it all work is the concrete image: crank call to roofing company where man explains, in part, that his own wife tried to fix the roof by slopping around hot stuff, but she didn’t know what she was doing, so the man threw her off the roof down to the  yard.  Funny.

Crank call to piano tuner because the man has rottweiler stuck in his piano.

A fashion model describes his runway routine: soaks himself in lamp oil (not just any oil) and then sets himself on fire (and beats dressed up monkeys and chipmunks).  Specific images.

Who knows?  Is this a lesson?  Is that sun?

The Birds Are Chirping.  Good morning.


1 Response to “May Insomnia”

  1. 1 Brian Sweet August 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I have never tried getting into a state of laughing hysteria to get to sleep – I think I’ll get my newly downloaded Derek and Clive recordings out and give that a go tonight. At least it will be insomniac fun.

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I am…

Geoff Herbach. I am the author of Stupid Fast and Nothing Special, among a bunch of other stuff. When I'm not writing, I teach writing at Minnesota State, Mankato.

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