Your responses to the column on insomnia were plentiful and interesting.
According to the responses, the most popular cure seems to be getting up, going to another room and reading something dull until slumber descends.
“Mentally saying, ‘Dammit! Sleep!’ just doesn’t work,” according to reader Jim Richmond.
Jim notes that the Duke University library has just made available thousands of sermons given at Duke Chapel over the years. He doesn’t say, but hints that indulging in several of those sermons might find someone snoring almost immediately.
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Jim also reminds me that, according to a once popular Hank Williams ballad, a cheating heart can bring on insomnia:
But sleep won’t come
The whole night through.
Your cheatin’ heart
Will tell on you.
Jim’s favorite formula for fighting insomnia?
“My N&O is delivered a few minutes after 4 a.m. So I watch the clock and get up then. It takes me about an hour to read it. Between five and seven I get my quality sleep.”
In a world beset with either crises or pending crises, we’re distracted by trivia.
Not long ago, the media was concerned with whether President Trump wears or even owns a bathrobe.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer was quoted as saying that Mr. Trump doesn’t own such a garment. Spicer accused the press of spreading “fake news” about the bathrobe issue.
The tempest in a press pot reminded me of a similar non-news story over whether President Bill Clinton wore boxer or brief underwear. The public suspense lingered for several days until the White House disclosed that Clinton favored the latter.
To me, the greater concern in Clinton’s case was whether he would keep his underwear on during Oval Office hours.
An incoming e-mail recently contained the expression “journey proud.” I had not heard or read the saying in a month of Mondays. Have you ever been journey proud? You may have, without realizing it.
“Journey proud” is a condition of excitement, and sometimes anxiety, that precedes a trip and frequently brings on insomnia during the night preceding the trip.
A Raleigh friend, now deceased, was frequently stricken by journey proud.
On one occasion, she was suffering from daytime journey proud as she set out the various pieces of luggage on the back porch as her husband dutifully stored them in the trunk of the car.
Upon reaching their destination, her husband discovered while unloading the car’s trunk that he also had transported a bag of kitchen garbage.
His wife excused herself by saying, “I was so journey proud I’m not at all surprised.”
Although I’d never heard the term at the time, I surely suffered a severe case of “journey proud” the night I packed before departing next day from Tokyo for home after spending almost two years in the South Pacific during World War II.
When the circus came to town recently, my wife and I considered attending. After remembering a couple of horrendous traffic jams at the arena, we abandoned the idea.
My wife waxed nostalgic over the times her father took his family to the circus.
She particularly remembers one occasion when her grandmother accompanied them.
As audience excitement peaked when the traditional event of a man being shot from a cannon arrived, the grandmother, much to the embarrassment of the rest of the family, shouted, “Stop them, Wade! Don’t let them do it! Don’t let them do it!”
When the circus came to Raleigh several years ago, I was invited to ride one of the elephants in the parade of animals along Hillsborough Street to the fairgrounds.
Since I was subject to attacks of vertigo, I declined, fearing I might fall or jump from the elephant’s back and break an arm or a leg.
I don’t know how many people attended this year’s circus in Raleigh. I wouldn’t be surprised if attendance was less than usual as many people stayed home, their eyes glued to the TV, watching the ongoing circus in Washington.
A friend remembers when he took his now grown daughter to the circus when she was 3.
“When we got home, did she talk about the elephants and tigers?” he asked. “No. She informed her mother in breathless tones that, ‘Daddy let me go to the bathroom on the ground behind a car!’”