• Paul Serran

INSOMNIAC - part 1

Patriots don't sleep. That is not a boast, is a fact. A sad fact, too. When people wish me a good night sleep, I usually say back "You can call it a power nap!".

The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, was a well-known insomniac. She had the motto, "sleep is for wimps." On a good day, I try to emulate this defiant stance. But I never say things like "I'll sleep when I die", because when you have children this is just an unacceptable kind of joke.

Of course, I'm quite overweight and I work two sedentary, desk-bound "jobs" for some 15 hours a day. That does not help.

But my insomnia also stems from the fact that we know stuff. In this awakening, we learned stuff we can't unlearn. Not only is this disturbing to the extreme, but it also gives each and every one of us a mad sense of urgency. It does appear, at times, that there is simply no time to sleep.

That is, of course, absurd. We are engaged in generational changes of a revolutionary nature that will take many, many years to implement. We have to pace ourselves. And that means sleeping for real, and getting into that R.E.M. thing that rests and heals the pissed-off brains we carry around this war.

Classic French author Marcel Proust said of his insomnia: "A little insomnia is a great help in understanding the nature of sleep, in projecting some light into that dark night."

Ok, Marcel. A LITTLE is alright. But, come on!

Comedian Groucho Marx used his insomnia as inspiration for jokes like, "What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic, and a dyslexic? Someone who stays up all night wondering if there is a Dog.”

It's funny, Mr. Marx - but you are not really helping.

On a really bad night I can go back and forth between my bed and the reading armchair quite a few times. And THAT sounds like American founding father and polymath Benjamin Franklin, who suffered from such bad insomnia he even had two beds to alternate between, to try and help his condition.

NOW - that is perhaps a step in the right direction. Thank you, Mr. Franklin. Two beds? That's a start.

But the obvious implication is that the human body was first 'designed' to lead a much more physical life than we do, now. I am sure that if I spent 8 hours a day laying bricks I would sleep like a rock. Maybe that's the answer: bricklaying.

Historical precedent seems to agree about exercise being useful:

* Abraham Lincoln used to treat his insomnia by taking long walks in the middle of the night.

* British Author Charles Dickens would walk the streets of London when he was suffering from insomnia.

* French Author Alexandre Dumas suffered from insomnia until he started taking long, late-night walks before bed to tire him out.

If Lincoln, Dickens and Dumas agree on something, you'd have to be a damn fool not to pay attention. So that is it.

I can go out at night, walking through dangerous Rio, and every stroll is an adventure, perhaps I can even bash a few Antifa heads on the way, so as to keep the blood pumping…

YES. To be woke. To experience the #GreatAwakening - but, by Jove - to sleep.

Rio de Janeiro, October 6th, 2019

Paul Serran

© 2019 BY PAUL SERRAN - Rio de Janeiro / Brazil