If you think you have insomnia bad, consider a grizzly bear.
Griz is supposed to hibernate all winter.
But he wakes up Feb. 1. He closes his eyes and meditates on butterflies. He runs through various experiences — chasing elk, catching salmon, making hikers wish they had brought along an extra pair of underpants.
Griz rhymes words — sunny, bunny, honey. Finally he begins to snore the Nasal Symphony and sleeps until April. He misses his alarm.
Many people 55 and older also struggle with insomnia. For some, legitimate worries keep them awake. They worry about their 39-year-old child who lives in the basement and spends all day playing World War III video games. They worry about health insurance hassles or running out of money and having to eat Grouch the cat’s food, which makes the cat even grouchier.
For other people, insomnia is caused by pain. The toe pain is connected to the foot pain, which is connected to the ankle pain, knee pain and hip pain. If pain were acres, they’d have the biggest farm in the county.
For a few, they have neither worries nor pain but are still awake at 3 a.m. They count ceiling tiles and listen to cars roaring by the house until the person finally gets up, turns on the TV and watches infomercials for the Amazing Wonder Knife that will cut through granite.
No sure cures exist for insomnia. It is important, though, to force yourself to stay up at least until 9 p.m., which for Baby Boomers is the new midnight.
If you do wake up in the glorious hours of early morning, those with memory foam mattresses have a scapegoat. These mattresses prompt memories, not all pleasant. “Remember when you wet the bed at your rich great-uncle’s place and he cut you out of the will” or “Remember when you slugged your grade school buddy when they ducked under a dodge ball that smacked you directly in the chops.”
Remembering the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, however, can put you back to sleep.
Guaranteed. Start with thinking about TV shows. Roy Rogers is riding the horse Trigger, and Dale Evans is baking cookies for Pat Brady, who is revving up the Jeep Nellybelle. Together they sing the song “Happy trails ... until we meet again.”
Remember old expressions you see less frequently these days like “Excuse me,” “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong.”
Remember riding in a car without seatbelts or air conditioning and rolling up the window with a sweat-stained crank.
Remember getting a hack from a vice-principal wielding the old day’s “Board of Education.”
Remember drinking A&W root beer floats on a warm summer evening.
Remember drinking metallic-tasting water out of a hose and using a flashlight under the covers to read a comic book.
Think about what you could have done had you bought stock in the infancy of Amazon, Apple or Microsoft. Design yourself a dream house in the mountains or at the beach. Or better yet both.
Ask yourself imponderables. What makes Teflon stick to the pan? Do bees have knees? If you can hear the ocean in a seashell, why can’t you hear the forest in a pine cone?
This nostalgia checklist helps most people take a trip to slumberland. Unfortunately, I often get whirling mind syndrome, same as I imagine Griz gets rolling restlessly about his den in February. If I think about him sticking his hot steaming nose into my tent, I’m up for three days straight.