Thursday, April 28, 2016

Insomnia Man

  To celebrate Super Hero Day, I present Insomnia Man. I wrote this after a few nights of insomnia, which kind of explains a lot...

Insomnia Man (IM because I’m too lazy to type the full name) was a sheepherder until being laid off in the late 90s when computer software and technology made it possible to count sheep more cheaply and efficiently than a mere mortal could. This disturbed Insomnia Man deeply and disrupted the ebb and flow of his life, but he found work not long after in a local office complex. He would spend his days in his drab mono-colored (coloured for any of my European readers) cubicle staring at a computer monitor listening to the incessant droning native to the office environment while pushing papers and taking things in and out of manila folders because that’s what he saw those around him doing. Due to the lack of excitement he was used to on the sheep farm, he would often fall asleep at his desk. IM could get away with this because he always had plenty of manila folders on his desk and was never seen not clutching one. This daytime sleeping made it hard to fall asleep at night and before too long IM became a full-fledged insomniac. Well, that’s what he believed after seeing that he had a few of the same symptoms as an insomniac does on the internet. Perhaps he was too quickly convinced that he was an insomniac because he thought it made him a candidate for disability until he was laughed out of his company’s HR Specialist’s office. This made him bitter and agitated which further deterred his ability to sleep.

The insomnia didn’t bother IM too much at first because it made it much easier for him to sleep through his workday and that made the workday pass much quicker than if he actually worked straight through 8 consecutive hours. IM would spend his nights learning foreign languages by watching their infomercials or enjoying his TiVo’d episodes of ‘The Wonder Years’ (don’t we all have Winnie Coopers or Kevin Arnolds in our past). One night while craving a Chalupa, he took to the streets to find a Taco Bell. It was at this time that he witnessed his very first crime. At least he thought that the guy was breaking into his neighbors house until he called the police and they discovered that it was his neighbor’s Father-in-law trying to get back into the house because he locked himself out while house sitting. Never the less, the adrenaline rush he experienced while thinking he was foiling a criminal act now and forever would be in his blood. It was only a bonus that his neighbors later dropped the charges against him.

IM now knew what he must do. He would use his sub-super powers to prevent evil in his city by finding crime in progress and calling the police. Sadly, IM was not smart enough to realize that the crime would be over by the time he reported it. He upgraded his cell phone plan, bought a digital camera and while his wife slept one night, he assembled everything he would need to fashion his own superhero costume, although he disliked the term costume as he felt it belittled him and referred to it as his ‘Superuni.” He later realized he had no talent for combining words and just stuck with ‘My Uniform For Deterring, if Not Repelling, Because I Can’t Really Fight, Crime.” One night after driving himself to the emergency room to have his fingers removed from the cape he had accidentally sewed to them, his Uniform For Deterring, if Not Repelling, Because I Can’t Really Fight, Crime was finished.

IM was now free to patrol the streets at night looking and listening for crime. He found that the longer he went without sleep, the harder it was to walk or drive straight and trust what he was seeing. Unfortunately, he missed more crimes than he prevented and was asked by the authorities to stop searching for crime after striking a group of elderly women leaving a bingo game one night. In time, the police dispatchers stopped taking his calls and then became further irritated when they had to dispatch officers nightly to get him off the yards of the town’s citizens. It turns out that those Neighborhood Watch programs really are effective. But then, how difficult is it to spot someone in a mask and cape with big ‘ZZZZs’ on their chest peeking in through your neighbor’s window.

Times were tough for IM. Then when having to go to the grocery store for his wife one day (despite his insistence that he needed to try and sleep during the day because he did really important stuff at night like Elvis used to), he realized that he actually did have an almost superpower. The bags under his eyes had become so big that they repelled the sunlight allowing him to not have to squint, just like the pro athletes who paint black streaks under their eyes before they compete. Now he could seek out and report crime to the authorities in the daytime too. 

Insomnia Man patrolled the local streets day and night unsuccessfully for over 20 years. Then one day his social security check began arriving and his wife retired. She insisted that they buy a motor home and travel the country (mostly to escape the constant ridicule for being the wife of the sleepless caped idiot). While driving the motor home, he fell asleep at the wheel driving through Needles, California and was hospitalized for 8 months. Ironically, that day driving and the ensuing 8 months was the best (and by best I mean only) sleep he had experienced in 23 years. After recovering; they retired to Florida, took up lawn bowling and he now falls asleep at 3PM everyday while watching ‘The People’s Court’ in his recliner. 

It’s still a sore subject for him when his grandchildren make fun of Insomnia Man. Except for the one grandchild who is afraid of sleep and found Insomnia Man’s Uniform For Deterring, if Not Repelling, Because He Can’t Really Fight, Crime in his grandfather’s attic one day…

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