short stories

Wonders never cease for an insomniac who gets some sleep!

Insomnia can be one of the hardest things in life to deal with. We, as humans, require a certain amount of sleep to be able to function during our wakeful hours. Without the proper amount of sleep, our bodies and brains have a hard time keeping up with what is needed to accomplish anything at all. This includes simple things like having a conversation or comprehending directions without being told twice. To those who have never experienced insomnia, this may sound like a funny story. However, for those who know the woes of insomnia, this is no laughing matter.

Person laying in bed with insomnia

Most people have had insomnia at least once in their lifetime and understand how this affects them the following day. For those who have had it a time or two, think of those who live with it constantly. It is understandable that these people are more irritable and sometimes downright mean to the others, who enjoy their eight good hours of sleep. I say eight hours just because that is a rule of thumb. Different people require different amounts of sleep. Some may do fine with four hours, while someone else may require twelve to be at their peak performance. While the majority of people enjoy their four, eight, or twelve hours of restoration, the insomniac would do anything for one or two hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep. 

The insomniac will try anything to get some form of sleep, including taking sleeping medications. The problem with this is that the medications also create other problems, like headaches and drowsiness, which affect us in our wakeful hours. So, all in all, they still have a problem being at their best when they are awake. So, the solution to using medications is really no solution at all. The person taking these over-the-counter medicines is not much better off than not sleeping as much as needed in the first place! If you don’t get enough sleep, you will feel like crap, be irritable, and not be able to perform at a high level in anything. On the other hand, if you take the over-the-counter medications and get some sleep, you will find the effects of headaches, be irritable, and not be able to perform at your best. Are you seeing the problem here? With or without the pills, peak performance cannot be achieved. 

Now, let me explain that I am not a doctor of any sort. (Well, maybe a doctor of self philosophy, ha ha). But I have no degree in what causes insomnia. The only thing on which I am basing the information I am presenting is that, well, I am an insomniac. I live with this affliction almost every day. The few days a month that I get a restful night of sleep (usually once a day out of fourteen) are because my body almost shuts down on me. I become so tired that I can literally fall asleep standing up! I have tried many things to cure my sleeplessness, but to no avail. The one thing I have found is that if I use these over-the-counter drugs, it makes things worse. Yes, I can sleep, but I sleep very restlessly with nightmares and wake up feeling like crap.

Men in line at boot camp are getting yelled at by company commander

I will add here that insomnia is caused by many different things. Veterans (like myself) are more prone to insomnia than those who have never served. I thought on this and found why I personally believe this to be true. Veterans are trained to always be thinking ahead to the next task that must be completed. We were taught to always be ready at any given time for any situation. Our brains must always be tuned into the coming situation, whether we know what’s coming or not. I was a firefighter in the US Navy, and even in my deepest sleep at the time of service, I could be awake and fully functioning in a matter of seconds to do the job I was trained for. This works very well in the military because you have others in the same situation as you, and we lean on each other for help if needed. The problem comes when the airman, sailor, or soldier becomes a civilian, and his or her needs change. No longer do you have the support of many men and women around you, and the need to be ready in a matter of seconds is no longer a part of your life. However, the training to always be thinking ahead is so deeply instilled in the veteran that he or she has a tremendous difficulty getting that part of their brain transformed back to civilian life. To a civilian who hasn’t served, this sounds ridiculous. However, to a veteran, this makes complete sense.

Man getting a good night's sllp

So, how do we get past these sleepless nights? This is a question I wish I knew the answer to. If you know, please inform me. I sure could use that information. The best way that I, personally, have found help through meditation. The times that I can focus on something particular, like a tree or a certain model of a car (mine is the 1969 Ford Mach 1), it helps. I have to put all other things aside. I cannot think of bills, things that need to be fixed around the house, or even family (both good and bad). Once I achieve this task, which seems simple but really isn’t, I can fall asleep. The question then is, “Can I stay asleep and keep the nightmares away?” This I still have not mastered, and so about once every fourteen days, I will fall into a deep sleep and stay that way for anywhere from twelve to sixteen hours. After this time, I feel great for one day, and then it’s back to thirteen more grueling days of insomnia. However, every once in a great while, I will achieve that inner peace and be able to focus on my dream car or that big tree and fall into a relaxing sleep.

For those who deal with insomnia, my heart goes out to you. I wish you the best of luck in breaking whatever pattern is causing your affliction. Hopefully, one day, we will all enjoy night after night of restful sleep. Until next time, have a good night, and remember, we are all in this together.


Merry Christmas 2022

short stories

Is imagination on the big screen a thing of the past?

I remember a time, many years ago, when the movies hitting the big screen were all new and exciting. I want to say it was in the 1980s and before. Every movie was something that hadn’t been seen before. We could go on a date and watch something fresh that would take us to new worlds and adventures. What happened to those times? Why is it that all, or at least most, of the movies that come out now are remakes of something that has already been done? Is it time for a new invention to come our way for our entertainment, or just time for the movie people to once again use their imagination?

It’s nice that the writers of novels still have imagination and write fresh things for us to fall in love with, and that takes us into new worlds. Maybe it’s time for people who are dumping money into Hollywood to start reading more and discovering new books to turn into movies? Why must we see remakes of movies and stories destroyed by throwing in new actors to replace those we fell in love with in the first place? Have we come so far into the future that thought no longer exists? Maybe the thought is there, but laziness has taken over. I myself would love to see something fresh hit the big screen! I want to look forward to buying that ticket and having no problem spending the outrageous amount of money on popcorn and a soda. As of the last multiple years, I, like many others, no longer have that desire whatsoever. We can wait until it shows up on our television screens and be completely happy. We didn’t waste our money at the movie theater to see something that was completely disappointing. 

It is sad to say that the sitcoms have more imagination than the big screen box office hits. When are you going to wow us with the likes of Star Wars or Indiana Jones? Are the good times really over? Have we come to the end of an era, or have you decided that your audience doesn’t deserve the best? It is true: once every five or ten years, you throw us a bone of a good movie. Of course, these movies are usually continuations of movies from our past. Why is it that novelists can lead us into new worlds of imagination, but big screenwriters use little to no imagination? They are all writers, correct?

I challenge the movie writers to once again wow us and bring back the long lines waiting to see what you have created. Bring back the time when the people leaving the theater could talk of nothing else but the movie you had put together. Bring back a time when people wanted to see your movies three, five, or ten times while they were still on the big screen. Bring back a time when a date at the movies was a time when the movie was actually watched! Bring back a time when teenagers decided what to do on a Saturday night and put seeing your movie at the top of their list.

Are the good times at the movies really over? Has imagination left the screen? Are we to look at having a date with reading a book instead of watching the cinema hits? Has the time come when watching people at a department store is more fun than going to the movies? Bring some imagination back to the screen and give us a reason to spend money to see your creative juices at work! I know you can do it! All it takes is some imagination and the desire to. Remember, we are living, breathing, and learning creatures. We are not mind-numbed robots. We want your best, not the recall of something from our past.

Go ahead, screenwriters, and show us what you can really do. Go ahead, movie executives, and let your writers have some freedom to give us that great story we can sink our teeth into. Bring back the wow factor and watch going to the movies once again become the thing to do on a Saturday night.

This post is purely my opinion, but I believe many will agree with me. We need more imagination on the big screen to give us a reason to spend three hours sitting in a cramped seat next to someone we don’t know, listening to them slurp their soda and munch that popcorn. 

I welcome all feedback on this post, whether good or bad. Keep your comments clean, and they will be approved. Thanks for reading and sharing this post. Remember, we are all in this together.