How to Be Tired (Disclaimer for the Contents of This Post)

I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open.  Actually, if you want to keep your eyes open, it should be barely.  It’s not such a good idea to clothe your eyes, unless you do so with your eyelids, hence closing them.  Of course, if your eyesight is as poor as mine, you might not be able to see anything with the naked eye–or even two naked eyes–meaning the ones you’ve got locked in the sockets built into your skull, in which case you might want to wear glasses or contact lenses, but not the hard ones, as if you fall asleep during a movie as I did during summer vacation from college and go into REM sleep (RIP, REM), the hard plastic of the lenses will scrape the surface of your eyeballs, making little sparks fly across the screen of your dreams, and give you corneal abrasions.  But don’t feel too bad, worried, or scared, because if you have a good doctor, she or he will put nice medicated patches on your eyes and ask you not to take them off for twenty-four hours, so you’ll be okay as long as you have someone to drive you or lead you around as my buddy who was visiting at the time did.  We’d been on the same exchange program together in Europe, and he played the guitar and fed me cigarettes–not that I actually ate them, but I was dumb enough to smoke back then, not to say you’re dumb if you smoke, even though it’s dumb to smoke, but I know a lot of smart people do smoke, not to say I’m smart because I’m not; otherwise I wouldn’t have drunk so much wine before going to see the Ingmar Bergman movie “Fanny and Alexander” with my friends the night before and scratching my darned corneas in the first place.  

No offense to British, Australian, Irish, or New Zealand readers for using the word “fanny” in the above paragraph; it was just part of the title of the movie and I couldn’t help it.  According to my brother, he saw the late Leslie Nielsen, God rest his deadpan, on a TV programme broadcast by the BBC, in which he told a talk show interviewer an anecdote, saying he “fell on my fanny.”  The interviewer, understandably, looked perplexed, since “fanny” refers to a different part of the anatomy than what Leslie had intended, and one that’s exclusively the province of females, of particular popularity to most males and that can even border on obsession at times; in American English, of course, a fanny is a butt–and I’m not talking about cigarettes–I mean a bum–in the British sense of the word; forgive me, American readers, for using a term that’s insensitive to homeless people.  The way things are going, we might all end up living on the street before too long.

So I guess it’s safe to say poor Mr. Nielsen made an ass of himself–not to be confused with the body part he was referring to.  And in painstakingly recounting this second-hand account, it occurs to me that Canadians use a lot of the same slang terms that Americans south of the Canadian border do (now patrolled by drones at the behest of Homeland Security babe Janet Napolitano, whose last name, I believe, is a brand of ice cream, is it not?).  I don’t know if people still use the word fanny in North America to refer to the gluteous maximus, or beauteous maximus, as the case may be.

King Lear, in the play named after him by a man confident enough to refer to himself as Shakespeare, says to the blinded Gloucester something about “the case of eyes” (how many is that?  Twenty-four?), advising him to “get thee glass eyes, and like a scurvy politician, pretend to see things that thou dost not.”

Or, to quote John Lennon:  “He’s as blind as he can be/Just sees what he wants to see.”

Or Paul Simon, a few years later:  “Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

Or Buddha, way back when:  “Wisdom is being able to see through appearances.”

To give you an example of this phenomenon in action, and mercifully close this aimless post, please allow me to share a brief clip from a dream I had the other night, or “quite early one morning,” the title of a short story by Dylan Thomas (sorry, but I couldn’t tell you what it’s about):

I dreamed that Barack Obama was telling someone else why he never invited Kim Jong-il to the White House for dinner.  “I only serve my guests swordfish, and I know Kim Jong-il doesn’t eat swordfish.”

Without belaboring the point with too much Freudian analysis, I believe the dream was a way of alerting me to the need to go to the bathroom.  Swordfish, as it turns out, was code for a certain fanny-seeking part of the male anatomy.

I don’t know why my subconscious has to be so coy.  When my bladder is full, I usually just dream about water.  In his novel A Box of Matches, a rural version of his masterpiece, The Mezzanine, Nicholson Baker argues convincingly that nightmares are just the brain’s way of waking the body up to use the toilet.  Luckily, I only have them when I sleep on my back.  In my case (of closed and clothed eyes), they may be a built-in alarm clock to keep me from choking to death from sleep apnea.  I don’t think I have it, despite a deviated septum and a tendency to snore like a bi-plane delivering pesticides to the multitudes, at least according to my wife, who can also snore up a storm when supine.

(For those of you who do prefer to sleep on your back, try removing the pillow first; you’ll find it easier to breathe freely, not that it will necessarily stop you from snoring.  Speaking of snoring, it’s time for me to go back to bed.  Thank you for listening–er, reading.)

Buenas noches, bon soir, oyasumi nasai, slaapwel, gute nacht (sp?), etc.


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