The bottle let me down

It was 3AM and the LED indicator at my bedside was starting to giggle a little bit. It doesn’t get much attention on normal nights. Much like my dog and wife, it longs for a few extra meaningful glances a day that I for some reason neglect to give.

In the hours before my new love affair with the alarm clock began I had done all I could to pretend it didn’t exist. I drank a few beers to make me sleepy. I watched bad commercial television and even worse television news. I watched cooking shows (they made me hungry). I played Texas Hold’em poker on my computer. I tooled around on the ‘net. I listened to a police scanner as bored officers checked up on one false alarm after another. I was awake and my mind was on the verge of overheating.

That was early Tuesday morning.

Tuesday night, I thought a similar approach might work. After all, I was already tired from the night before. So, I played softball in very hot conditions (don’t ask how that ended up). I ate a lot of food. I played more cards on the computer and watched some street magician on TLC. The clock started whispering. I refused to look. Instead, I got up and played around on the computer. I thought it might be a good time to start researching the internet porn industry, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I’m sure I’ll get round to having a look at sites like soon enough. I slumped back to bed where the dog and the alarm clock were conspiring. I gave them both a conciliatory sideways glance, petted the dog, and turned the alarm clock around. I popped the police scanner earphone in my ear. No false alarms on this humid Wednesday morning. Some guy just shot himself in the stomach with a shotgun. And seven kids in a pickup truck (actually, some aren’t in the truck anymore) are scattered all over the road. I stopped listening.

You know you need sleep when a digital alarm clock starts making the tick-tock noise.

This happens to me every once in a while. No matter how tired I am, sleep is out for a long night with the boys and he’s not calling home to check in.

Usually during these times of undiagnosed insomnia I start getting a little loopy. I make eyes at people when I shouldn’t. I start rhyming words in sentences just to see if I can make myself giggle. I experiment with new approaches to my job, none of which involve taking a nap in the bathroom.

The guilt is unbearable. I have friends who are forced to be awake. Early work shifts. Late work shifts. New children. New life ambition.

Me, I have no excuse. And yet, I stay awake.

More than anything, I find myself not being able to complete a train of thought.

Which makes ending this…um…

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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