Steve Eaton: Columnist stays up all night with Rocky Balboa

Published: Friday, April 4 2014 3:00 p.m. MDT

Rocky returns to the ring in Rocky Balboa.

John Bramley,

Enlarge photo»

I am really good at sleeping … except at night.

When you are suffering from insomnia, you suffer alone. There’s very little sympathy available for someone who is having consistent trouble falling asleep because not getting enough sleep has become a bragging point in today’s busy world. It means you are too important to waste time resting.

And when you slowly walk into a wall or forget to open a door before you go into a room, people focus on the supposed humor of the event and the fact that you came to work in your pajama bottoms instead of showing genuine empathy for your plight.

The other day, after yet another sleepless night, I was having an animated conversation with Rocky Balboa when my wife came in to ask me what I was doing. What had seemed perfectly normal seconds earlier, I instantly realized was not possible. He vanished. After she left I whispered, “Yo, Rocky!” but he was gone.

That’s another drawback of insomnia — the people who do care tend to vanish into thin air.

I know the rules for fixing sleep problems. You should never look at anything electronic, never eat or drink anything after 6 p.m., and when you eat you should only eat celery. And you must never take a nap, especially on Sunday afternoon.

Take no naps?! So, the only time I can sleep I should eat celery but only if it is before 6 p.m.? That makes me tired just thinking about it … but I’d better not go to sleep because it is daytime. That, of course, would be bad. Who makes up these rules anyway?

I have been watching a television show called “Flashpoint” in the middle of the night that my DVR has been recording. It’s a nice show set in Canada with a police force that dresses like hotel doormen. The regular police don’t seem to do much in this show because Canada has a “strategic response unit” that dresses in cool black battle clothes. They don’t need to investigate after the fact and pick up DNA like our TV police do. They can almost always corner the bad guys and talk them into giving up within an hour.

OK, I’m hearing it already. You are wondering if anyone else has ever seen this show. Do I ever watch it with my wife? Does this show really exist? Yes, it does. And do not make fun of these people — they are my friends.

“Just everyone be calm, put down your guns and let’s talk about this.” That’s what they say when they negotiate with the bad guys who usually have hostages. In the middle of the night, this is very calming. I think I need to go buy a toy gun that I can set down while I watch the show. (Even Rocky loves the show, thank you very much.)

I may have bonded emotionally with these people because that’s what happens when you lose the ability to do anything besides level-one thinking. Level-one thinking is the same mode that zombies use to walk up to a closed door and moan and claw at it.

But it's daytime now and I need to go to work. I think I’m dressed completely, but it is raining and that means something — I can’t remember what. I’m supposed to find something. Is it paper towels? An umbrella? Or is it cream cheese? Oh, yeah, I remember, cream cheese tastes good. That must be it.

All I know is that I’m not going to drink raw eggs and run to work like some people would suggest. I don’t care what kind of music they play.

Steve Eaton lives and works in Logan, Utah. He can be reached at Eatonnews@gmail.com

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