Category Archives: My Life

A (not so) Brief History of Lunch

With Special Guest Appearance by Leah, Flat Amy, and Vivian

17757524_3313212471528_773828033165837078_n (2)

Growing up we didn’t eat lunch on the Roy farm. There was dinner and there was supper (We weren’t big breakfast people). In college I got into an argument with Rob Smith because he kept insisting the evening meal was “dinner” and the afternoon meal was “lunch.” There was no Internet to settle the argument in those days, so we eventually agreed to disagree. But to be honest, I always thought a little less of Rob after that because, seriously, the man didn’t know what his meals were called.

Time marches on and now it turns out Rob’s view won out. These days the only time you’ll hear about suppertime is if you’re attending a high school production of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

Thanks to its status as the afternoon meal, lunch usually coincides with work. At the newspaper, lunch was a pretty loose affair. You went when you wanted and you stayed out as long as you wanted. No one was keeping track or cared. As long as you met deadline and kept the presses running on time, nothing else mattered. Those were the glory days.

At my next job lunch was not a temporary escape valve. You could take as long as you wanted for lunch, but you had to spend it with the person(s) you were supporting. And that often meant supporting them in eating their lunch. Lunch at the center began promptly at 11:30 (earlier if you had the bowling group).

Eating lunch with a room full of developmentally disabled adults is not a pretty sight. I remember one day, early on, I was sitting at a table trying to eat and surveying the scene around me. Annie looked over, smiled and said, “You get used to it.”

At my current gig you can take lunch whenever and for however long you want, but you have to clock out on your computer when you leave and clock back in when you return. So if you spend an hour for lunch, you’re going to need to make up that hour later. As a result, I don’t take lunch hours. My life makes it too time prohibitive.

Have I ever mentioned that I have a son with autism? Maybe once or twice. Anyway, one of the downsides of the condition is you never get rid of them and someone always needs to be there to watch them. All you empty nesters out there who whine when your child goes off to college and leaves you all alone for a couple of months — I hate you.

My son attends an adult day program that begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m. Those hours are not entirely helpful to working parents. And there is no before- or after-program programming (if you’re an entrepreneur who’s looking for something to do, I suggest you open one). As a result, we hire someone to watch Andrew in the mornings before program and briefly in the afternoons. I get up at 6:30 a.m., get to work at 7:30 a.m. and leave work at 3:30 a.m. Laura takes care of him in the morning, I take the afternoon shift.

In order to take a lunch hour I would need to get up at 5:30 a.m.

In my world there is no 5:30 a.m.

So when Vivian and Leah invited me to join them for lunch on Tuesday, I politely declined. Then while driving to work that morning I realized I had forgotten to get my sandwich out of the refrigerator. This meant all I had to eat was a bag of chips and a cookie. I concluded that this was fate — or my subconscious – telling me I should take a break from work and get out of the office for a bit.

17879825_10155049460050856_7855565578594085043_oLeah wanted Mexican and Vivian suggested El Maguey and I’m a fan of their No. 4 lunch special so as soon as the staff meeting was over we headed out the door. Amy was on vacation so we took Flat Amy along in her place.

We’re driving along and some truck blows past us and straight through a red light. We catch up with them at the next red light. Leah wants to confront the driver but I argue that just because his truck isn’t riddled with bullet holes does not mean we should antagonize him. After all, he’s already shown his contempt for traffic laws and all we have to protect ourselves is a rock. Viv helps Flat Amy wave at the driver, who no doubt cannot wait for the light to turn green.

17523604_3313212631532_442457887586085936_nLunch was relaxing, tasty and uneventful — aside from the lady who was being loud and rude to her grandchildren. Leah wanted to intervene but I pointed out that we didn’t even have our rock with us and maybe she should stop wanting to be so confrontational.

When we returned to the office I discovered that I would now need to make up 1 hour and 3 minutes. As luck would have it, Andrew and Laura were off Friday so I could make up the time then. I still spent the rest of the week complaining to Leah about how she had upset my schedule. She wasn’t the least bit sorry.

Neither was I, to be honest.



Hey Hey, It’s The Comic-Con

Wizard World Comic-Con rolled into St. Louis over the weekend. After studying the guest list and panels I decided Sunday would best suit my purposes. So yesterday morning I got up, put on my Hawkeye cosplay (Matt Fraction/David Aja version – easiest cosplay ever), and made my way downtown — waving to The Wife as she began mowing the lawn. (I have back problems. Really.)

I wanted to catch 4 panels which meant I wouldn’t have a lot of time for booth browsing, so I wanted to get there at the opening bell. All was going well until I got downtown and suddenly traffic stopped. I looked down the road and noticed one of the streets had flashing red lights. Ah, well, that will slow things down for a bit but not much. But I quickly noticed that traffic wasn’t moving at all. What’s going on. I look again, and I notice people in lime green T-shirts running down the road.

Oh no. There’s some f-ing 10K run or something going on, isn’t there? God I hate runners. Well, mostly I hate running, but now I also hate runners. How long is this going to go on? And it’s not like I can go around it because I don’t know where the run begins or ends and I really need to get on the other side of that street. As the minutes ticked away my already high blood pressure was working to see just how high it could get.

Never before have I wanted to shoot people in the kneecaps like I did those runners. Why are you doing this on a city street? I don’t care if it’s Sunday morning, get the hell off the roads. I’ve been to these charity walks before but they always take place in a park or some other off-the-main-drag location. Stupid St. Louis.

comiccon1Thirty minutes later I get past the blockade. I arrive at the convention center much later than planned. Julie gives me my pass and I take a moment to vent, then I make my way to the main hall. I’m greeted by HULK, which is nice.

I now have about 30 minutes before my first panel. Not a lot of time, but I quickly notice that there aren’t as many booths as in the past. I make my way through most of it before heading to room 141 for The Monkees q-and-a session.

You may be wondering what The Monkees have to do with comic books. I’m not sure, I imagine back in the ’60s at the height of Monkeemania they probably had their own comic book. The truth is, these comic-cons are comic book in name only. They’re basically nerd culture conventions. In fact, it would be more honest to just call them Nerd-Con.

Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork (Mike Nesmith was, as usual, absent) took seats at their table about 10 minutes late (Panels sometimes start late at these things but they always end at the appointed time). It was an entertaining and informative 35-minute session.

(Note to people who ask questions at Comic-Cons: It’s Not About You. Just ask your question and sit down. This is not your moment to have a personal conversation with the celebrity. When Peter is constantly responding to everyone with “that’s not a question,” maybe you should get the hint.)

I had 15 minutes before the Charisma Carpenter panel (and I figured if The Monkees are 10 minutes later, Cordelia will be at least 15) so I went for a quick trek through the booths. I returned at 12:01 to find Charisma was already seated and asking everyone not to record the session. Wow. Props to Cordy for being on time. Turned out Ms. Carpenter is much friendlier, funnier and charming than the character she played on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

It’s 12:45 and my next panel is at 2 so I’ve got time to grab a quick bite and browse. I walk down the street to a sandwich shop, but it’s packed, so I go next door to Crazy Bowls and Wraps where there’s no line but it still takes 20 minutes for them to bring me my buffalo chicken wrap. By the time I return to the hall I’ve got roughly 30 minutes. And then I run into someone.


“Ronnie. What are you doing here?”

“We brought Emma. She wanted to come.”

Emma is the daughter of my wife’s best friend Christine. Christine and Laurie are the last people you would ever expect to see at a Comic-Con. So now I have to find Christine so I can prove to myself that this really happened and get photographic evidence to prove it to Laurie.

So much for checking out the merchandise.

comiccon2Surprisingly we found them without too much trouble. Emma was dressed in Harry Potter garb, holding a snake. It wasn’t a comic book snake. It was just a snake. I don’t know what this has to do with Comic-Con either. But then, I noticed Ballpark Village had a booth at Comic-Con so apparently there are no rules.



“Is Laurie here?”

“What planet are you on?”

We had a nice chat but soon it was time for my next panel — Kevin Conroy, voice of The Batman in many, many cartoons. He has a hearty laugh and a lovely singing voice. I took it in for about a half-hour but then had to skip across the hall for the Marvel Saga panel. Former Marvel editor/writer Danny Fingeroth ripped through the entire history of Marvel in 45 minutes. There was a slide show so that was an added bonus. He made a valiant attempt at covering things but honestly, if you’re going to put so much emphasis on the movies you should write down beforehand who the actors are. Unless the goal was to turn that into an ongoing audience participation bit.

I walked out at 3:15 as Danny was wrapping up. The show closed at 4 so I wanted to make one last dash through the exhibit hall and see if anything caught my eye. The things I really liked were too expensive and the rest weren’t worth adding to the clutter in my basement. I left with a free Wonder Woman mini movie poster from my buddies at Allied.

I pulled into the garage at the same time as The Wife and Son.

“How was Comic-Con?”

“You’ll never believe who I saw at Comic-Con.”


I pull out my phone and hand it to her.

“It’s Emma! What’s she holding? Is that — EEEKKKK!!!”

And that was the highlight of Wizard World St. Louis Comic-Con 2017.




My Life Update: On Snoring And Digital Comics

When last we chatted I was going through a couple of major life changes. One, I had decided it was time to stop keeping everyone around me awake at night by dealing with my snoring problem, and more importantly, I had made the switch to digital comics and had left behind my weekly trip to the comic book store. Let’s see how things have changed in just two short months.

Luke, I’m Your Father

So, having passed (or failed, depending on how you look at it) my sleep apnea test, the next step was hooking me up with a CPAP (Crap Personal Asphyxiation Program) machine. I call the lady and she says I can come in and have a training session or they will send one out with an instructional DVD. Of course they’re not open on weekends and I don’t want to shuffle around my work schedule anymore so I tell them to FedEx it to me.

A few days later a box arrives on my doorstep. Inside is a machine, a carrying case, several instruction booklets, several forms, tubing, filters, more tubing, more filters, and a DVD. I start looking through an instruction book and am quickly overwhelmed.

Something they don’t tell you in the beginning is that a CPAP machine has many parts that require constant care and maintenance. I’m too lazy to shave every morning and they want me to daily wash and rinse and clean out the tubing and the mask and the filters and the humidifier tray (which only takes distilled water, naturally). And I’m supposed to wash my hands like a surgeon before handling this stuff. Going to bed, which used to be just  brush-teeth-undress-crawl-into-bed, has now become an ordeal.

What the hell? Why is all this necessary?

“Because if you don’t keep the equipment clean bacteria could build up and get blown up your nose and into your brain and kill you.”

Oh, well that’s so much better than snoring. I’m so grateful. I won’t be worrying about that now for the rest of my life.

I check in with the 3 people I know who use these monstrosities and they all give me different answers as to how seriously I should take upkeep and maintenance — based mainly on how long they’ve been using it. None of them have died of brain bacteria yet, so we’ll see how it goes.

I put in the DVD. It starts out with a couple recreating their experience with sleep apnea. I don’t give a shit, just tell me how to hook up the machine. Next, a lecture on what sleep apnea is. I don’t give a shit, just tell me how to hook up the machine. Next, a segment on your body and how it reacts to sleep and the causes of FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST TELL ME HOW TO HOOK UP MY MACHINE….

Finally we get to the instructions. “Not all machines are alike so you may need to consult with your instruction manual for more details.” The machine in the video was nothing like mine.

The next day I’m calling the Apria people, setting up a meeting, and reworking my work schedule.

000_0379The 45-minute one-on-one goes well and I go home confident I can make it work. That night I wash everything up, plug everything in, affix plastic tubes up my nose, lie down on my back, and wait for the sweet release of sleep. I was told that a CPAP machine ranges from a setting of 4 which is the lowest to 20 which is the highest. According to my sleep study, mine needed to be set at 18. For those with math anxiety, that’s just 2 short of the maximum rate that they can blow air up your nose.

Is it comfortable? Oh, God, no. Do you get used to it? I hope to God some day, but that day hasn’t come yet. Do you sleep through the night? For the most part. I’m usually wake up around 5 or 6 and can’t stand having this thing on my face anymore so I rip it off and lay there for a bit then get up. Sleeping in on weekends is a thing of the past.

So, are there any advantages? Well, I don’t feel tired all the time. I don’t fall asleep on the couch when I sit still for 10 minutes. I haven’t fallen asleep during a movie screening in weeks — and if I can stay awake through “Going In Style,” then things have definitely changed. My blood pressure is down, my back pain has decreased significantly, I seem to have more energy, I don’t wake up in the night and toss and turn. I don’t get up to use the bathroom multiple times a night. I’m blogging more. I guess those are advantages. Of course, if I die from bacteria I’m not sure if it will have been worth it.

Oh, there’s one other thing that comes from this: My wife is very, very, very, very, very, very happy.

So I’ll stick with it.

Welcome Back To The Comic Book Shop, Jimmy Dean

Those of you who pay attention will recall that back in January Marvel Comics ended their practice of including a code for a digital copy of any of their comic books that you bought. I was not happy, as this meant I would now have to choose between buying digital or physical comics. I went with digital, because they’re easier to read and store, but this meant my weekly trip to the comic book shop was no more.

I was devastated. None of you seemed to care.

marvel-digital-code-350x217Well, in what must be the quickest business turnaround since the death of New Coke, Marvel has announced that they are bringing back free digital copies when you buy their comics.

The program starts back up in May (just in time for Free Comic Book Day). This means there will now be an odd 3 month gap in my comic book collection for future archaeologists to puzzle over.

So now I can go back to the comic shop every Wednesday and browse and buy and not talk to the shop owner and pick up any freebies lying around.  I will have to buy new bookshelves — hey, maybe from IKEA! — and let them stack up in my basement until the day I die at which point my poor wife will look around and cry out, “What am I going to do with all these damn comic books?!”

And I’ll look up from where I’m spending eternity and say “That’s what you get for making me go to bed every night with that face-hugging, air-blowing mask on my face.”






Leah, Ronnie and Amy’s IKEA Adventure


About 2 years ago IKEA opened a store in downtown St. Louis. It was as if the Pope had opened a new Sistine Chapel on Vandeventer Avenue. That’s what it’s like living in St. Louis. These people get all excited about a new furniture store. And yet they can’t keep a Major League Football team around.

Unlike the maddening masses, I did not rush out to check out the new IKEA. For one thing, I don’t need any shelves. For another, I’m not all that interested in looking at furniture. Third, I knew it would be crazy crowded because, really, what else are people in St. Louis going to do? And finally, it’s downtown, and I only go downtown for shows at the Fox and the occasional visit to Forest Park and the Zoo.

Still, I admit I was curious. We even contemplated going there one weekend when I had family in town, but then we thought of something better to do. So, when co-workers Amy and Leah were discussing going to IKEA on Saturday morning so that Leah could buy plates and silverware, I invited myself along. They pretended “that would be wonderful!” and we agreed to meet at 8:30 a.m.

(Now you may think it rude that I invite myself to join other people’s outings — and it is — but here’s the thing: if I hadn’t invited myself to join Rob Smith’s college church group spring break trip to Washington, D.C., I never would’ve met my wife. So basically, if you don’t want me to attend your function, don’t let me know about it.)

000_0376Now, I wasn’t 100 percent sure I would be able to join in because I had trivia the night before and that means getting home late and I certainly wasn’t going to set an alarm to get up early on Saturday to go to IKEA, so I told them if I overslept to go without me. But I don’t oversleep anymore because I now sleep with a face-hugging, air-blowing monster on my head (more on that later) that causes me to wake up screaming every morning around 5 a.m.

I get to the office around 8:15 and soon we’re piled into Leah’s vehicle and on the road. (I wouldn’t have gone if I had to drive, besides, Leah keeps a rock in her car so I felt pretty safe against any downtown thugs.) We did at one point pass a truck with what appeared to be bullet holes all along the side. Leah was intrigued but I advised her not to draw attention to ourselves. Why I had to point that out, I do not know.

17635275_10155015767775856_3990794095748326004_oWe arrived just as the place was opening. The parking lot was fairly empty, a state it would not be in for long. Our first stop was breakfast at the cafeteria. Jonathan had got me all excited the day before by informing me that IKEA offers a $1 breakfast. I was later informed it was a $2 breakfast. Turns out they had both, but we all decided to splurge and ordered the $2 breakfast. Then we blew almost the same amount of money on a glass of lingonberry juice. Still, can’t complain about a pretty decent $4 breakfast.

After breakfast — shopping! I was told not to fall behind but there was little chance of that happening given that I don’t stop to look at stuff. I knew to expect dawdling because I’ve shopped with women before, and my wife is a champion dawdler. She would’ve easily spent an hour just in one section.

17758461_10155015767435856_8082152607105548032_oSo what can I say about IKEA? It was everything I dreamed it would be — it was a furniture store. A well designed and attractive furniture store, but still … furniture. It was basically Bed, Bath and Beyond on a larger scale. They had some neat lighting items and some funky cabinets but really, who cares? If I need new home fixings, I’ll send Laurie out to buy them. We wandered about for almost 2 hours and Leah found her dishes and silverware and Amy bought a few things. I occasionally found furniture displays where I could stop and rest my weary bones.

000_0377The later it got, the more crowded it got. The arrow-lighted pathway that guides you through the place started to turn into a forced march if you stayed on the path (and you really should stay on the path). By the end it felt like we were cattle walking through a chute on our way to slaughter. Turned out it was just the check-out aisles.

They had a large display of cinnamon buns right before the check-out aisles, and since I didn’t have anything to show for my outing, and since my son loves cinnamon buns (and who could possibly make better cinnamon buns than IKEA?), I decided to pick up a six-pack. On the way out the door, Amy and Leah decided they wanted frozen yogurt cones.

“Are you sure you should be eating a frozen yogurt cone while driving on Highway 40?” I asked.

“I don’t see the problem,” Leah responded.

I’m pretty sure the next time Amy and Leah decide to do anything, they won’t talk about it in my presence.






We Are The (Trivia) Champions…Finally…Sort of

For 12 long years, I have conned some of my friends into taking part in an evening long game of trivial pursuit as part of an effort to raise money for my son’s school, now adult program — The Center for Autism Education.

It’s been fun. And fattening (snacks are a requirement of this business). Many teammates have come and gone over the years. Corralling the right combination of 16 people for 2 tables is always a challenge. Every year. I’m pretty sure I’ve never worked with the same team of 8 more than once.

This year was different. One night I came home from a movie to find that Laurie had started a Facebook message chain with the usual suspects about trivia night. And then she put Stevie and Trent in charge of the two teams. “This probably won’t end well,” I said to myself. But hey, I figured I’d just sit back and watch the mess unfold. Let someone else deal with it for a change.

There was the usual non-committal committals, followed by the committal, followed by the backing out (and that was just Erica). But a few days before showtime Stevie had managed to put it all together. I was impressed, and a little sad that it all didn’t blow up in everyone’s faces without my running things.

I was put on Trent’s team, because God hates me, but I was still determined to do my best. I showed up promptly. No one else on my team did — except Ann, who actually arrived first. Still, everyone managed to show up before the game started — except Yellow, who naturally blamed Tim.

Now for 12 long years, we’ve been playing trivia, and never have we won (Yes, Spaulding’s team won once, but I’m talking about teams that I put together). We do OK — we usually finish in the top half of the 30+ teams that compete, but I don’t believe we ever made it to the final four.

And that’s OK. I’ve never been a terribly competitive guy. We’re not in it to win it, we’re there to raise money and have a good time and eat too much and drink watered-down beer. It’s tradition.

Every trivia night is different. Some years the questions are hard, most years they’re mostly easy. This year the questions were strangely easy. It also helped that most of the categories dealt with music and movies — our strong suit. But even the sports category had questions that I could answer. Not many, but with help from the others we put in a decent show.

By the end of the night (which — as usual — took  F O R E V E R, but that’s a rant I’ve made before and will now briefly make again in the hopes that someone in charge reads this: CAE Trivia Night runs way too long. There’s always some thing they come up with to drag out the proceedings. It used to be the live auction. This year it was horse races. At one point I noted that they should stop calling it Trivia Night and call it Game Night with Occasional Pauses for Trivia.) the big winner was – – Team Stevie! And in second place — Team Trent!

Now, I don’t want to sound bitter and petty but we all know I am bitter and petty, so yes, we were cheated. I know of at two questions that we were denied points for (and we lost by two points) because our judge must have been one of those stickler-for-details types.

But of course the biggest betrayal of all was during the “Musicians with Animal Names” category. The song was “I Love a Rainy Night.” The answer, obviously, was Eddie Rabbit. When we finished the round I handed the sheet to Trent to take up to the judging stand. On her way she stopped by Team Stevie for a chat. The next thing I know she’s hopping up and down, making bunny ears with her hands.

I hear Trent also works for the Russians.


At any rate, it was good to finally win — or sort of win — after all these years. Not that I care about winning, mind you.




Gone: Chuck Berry

Maybellene, why can’t you be true?
Oh Maybellene , why can’t you be true?
You done started back doin’ the things you used to do

No particular place to go,
So we parked way out on the Kokomo
The night was young and the moon was bold
So we both decided to take a stroll
Can you imagine the way I felt?
I couldn’t unfasten her safety belt!

Ridin’ along in my calaboose
Still tryin’ to get her belt unloose
All the way home I held a grudge,
But the safety belt, it wouldn’t budge

“C’est la vie,” say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

Way back in history three thousand years
In fact every since the world began
There’s been a whole lot of good women sheddin’ tears
For a brown eyed handsome man

Runnin’ to and fro, hard workin’ at the mill
Never failed in the mail, yet come a rotten bill
Too much monkey business, too much monkey business
Too much monkey business for me to be involved in

All the cats wanna dance with sweet little sixteen

Just let me hear some of that
Rock And Roll Music
Any old way you choose it
It’s got a back beat, you can’t lose it
Any old time you use it
It’s gotta be Rock And Roll Music
If you want to dance with me
If you want to dance with me

When I was a little bitty boy
my grandmother bought me a cute little toy
Silver bells hangin’ on a string
she told me it was my ding a ling

My ding a ling, my ding a ling
I want to play with my ding a ling
My ding a ling, my ding a ling
I want to play with my ding a ling

Now you can’t catch me
No, baby, you can’t catch me
‘Cause if you get too close, you know I’m gone like a cool breeze

Up in the mornin’ and out to school
The teacher is teachin’ the Golden Rule
American history and practical math
You study’ em hard and hopin’ to pass
Workin’ your fingers right down to the bone
And the guy behind you won’t leave you aloneRing ring goes the bell
The cook in the lunchroom’s ready to sell
You’re lucky if you can find a seat
You’re fortunate if you have time to eat
Back in the classroom open you books
Gee but the teacher don’t know
How mean she looks

imagesSoon as three o’clock rolls around
You finally lay your burden down
Close up your books, get out of your seat

Down the halls and into the street
Up to the corner and ’round the bend
Right to the juke joint you go in

Drop the coin right into the slot
You gotta hear something that’s really hot

With the one you love you’re makin’ romance
All day long you been
Wantin’ to dance
Feelin’ the music from head to toe
‘Round and ’round and ’round you go

Drop the coin right into the slot
You gotta hear something that’s really hot

Hail, hail rock’n’roll
Deliver me from the days of old
Long live rock’n’roll
The beat of the drum is loud and bold
Rock rock rock’n’roll
The feelin’ is there body and soul

Sometimes I will, then again I think I won’t
Sometimes I will, then again I think I won’t
Sometimes I do, then again I think I don’t

Well, I’m so glad I’m livin’ in the U.S.A.
Yes. I’m so glad I’m livin’ in the U.S.A.
Anything you want, we got right here in the U.S.A.

Long distance information, give me Memphis, Tennessee
Help me find a party that tried to get in touch with me
She could not leave a number, but I know who placed the call
‘Cause my uncle took a message, and he wrote it on the wall

Help me, information, get in touch with my Marie
She’s the only one who’d call me here from Memphis, Tennessee
Her home is on the south side, high upon a ridge
Just a half a mile from the Mississippi bridge

Last time I saw Marie, she was wavin’ me goodbye
With “hurry-home” drops on her cheek that trickled from her eye
But we were pulled apart, because her mom did not agree
And tore apart our happy home in Memphis, Tennessee

Help me, information, more than that I cannot add
Only that I miss her and all the fun we had
Marie is only six years old, information, please
Try to put me through to her in Memphis, Tennessee

Roll Over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news

His mother told him, “Someday you will be a man,
And you will be the leader of a big old band.
Many people coming from miles around
To hear you play your music when the sun go down.
Maybe someday your name will be in lights
Saying ‘Johnny B. Goode tonight’

To Sleep, To Snore No More

Back when America was great, people snored. It was natural, nobody made a big deal out of it. Oh sure, people who didn’t snore and lived with people who did usually complained, but there was really nothing they could do about it.

And then…science. And suddenly snoring wasn’t snoring anymore, it was “sleep apnea.” And while it wouldn’t kill you, it could help lead to your early demise — thorough heart disease or diabetes or your spouse beating you to death with her pillow.

I have been told that I snore. I believe this to be “fake news” because I have never personally heard myself snore. Plenty of people have told me I snore, but they could be lying. Still, I do wonder sometimes why I get up in the morning and The Wife is sleeping on the couch, or why I’ve been banned from camping out with my friends.

4128335-7065079024-tumbl-1But lately I’ve been having second thoughts. I’m tired all the time. If I sit still for more than 10 minutes I black out. Every afternoon I come home from work, sit down on the couch, and fall asleep. I can’t make it through a movie without falling asleep. I now judge whether a movie is good or not based on whether or not I stay awake the whole time.

And so it was that last night I made my way to American Sleep Medicine for a sleep study. They put me in a nice room with a double-size bed. The tech then came in to wire me up — two electrodes on each leg, 2 on the rib cage, 2 on the shoulders, a half-dozen all around my head, a strap around my gut and one around my chest, two diodes shoved up each nostril and a clip to put my index finger in.

How the —- am I supposed to sleep like this?

I decided I’d better use the restroom before lights out, so I carried my box of wires into the adjacent room and did my business, then settled in for a good night’s sleep. It’s not easy to rest when you can’t move your head because of wires all around it and there are wires up your nose and everywhere else…but eventually I did drift off.

The next morning the tech informed me that they had found no evidence of sleep apnea. “Are you serious?” I asked. “Yes. You showed no signs of snoring,” he said.

“Rodney? Rodney? Sorry to wake you but you haven’t been breathing, so we’re going to try the CPAP on you.”

14d09682add8ae93b1757689296fe9fe(Honest to God, I was sleeping and dreaming that I had passed the sleep test when the guy comes in and wakes me up to tell me I’ve failed the sleep test)

The first thing he does is tries this thing that he shoved up my nose that pushes air in. It’s the least invasive format but you have to be a good nose-breather to use it. My body was having nothing of that.So we put on the mask, which is uncomfortable and weird but at least I can breathe fairly normally.

Still, how the —- am I supposed to sleep like this?

I decided I’d better take another restroom break since I’m awake anyway. Lying there with the mask on was pretty darn freaky but eventually I did drift off. Some time later I found myself in a daze trying to take the mask off. The tech comes in.

“Rodney, are you OK? What are you doing?

“I dunno. Am I awake? What’s going on?”

e9203702acfb83a6cf00bfd43c1d429dThe tech politely tells me we’ve still got some more time and puts the mask back on and I go back to sleep. The next thing I know the tech is waking me up and telling me we’re done for the day but I would probably need to come back for a second study so they can get the air flow adjusted just right. He gets me a cup of coffee and sends me away.

It’s 5:30 a.m. and I have this new sensation — like I’m awake. Like I’m not tired. I don’t know what to make of it. I go next door to Dierberg’s and buy donut holes for my son, then stop at McDonald’s for a couple of sausage burritos. Come home to find my lazy, deadbeat family are all asleep.


Go downstairs and eat breakfast while watching last night’s “Late Show.” Put in a load of laundry. Get caught up on all the boring crap my friends have posted on Facebook overnight. Write a blog post. It’s just now 9 a.m.

What the hell has happened to me?