Sensitive Bastard

Dec. 3 - Apparently I'm one of those sensitive bastards you're always reading about.

I never would have thunk it.

I've got a cast iron stomach (diminished from its once-staggering capacity, but still as stalwart as ever), I've only had three or four serious hangovers in a life that's included some serious drinking, I rarely get those bugs that go around, and I've made it through earthquakes in L.A., flash floods in the midwest, hurricanes on the east coast, and a handful of northeastern blizzards without suffering undue trauma. Hell, I lived in New York on 9/11 and only had nightmares for a couple of weeks.

But now, as I say, the ugly truth is upon me: I'm a sensitive bastard.

Last summer's bout of insomnia ought to have tipped me off. It's true I survived on four or five hours of sleep a night for most of my twenties and early thirties, but I often hauled in as much as twelve hours a night on the weekends, which helped compensate for the accumulated deficit. I had never before gone three weeks on an average of five or less hours per night, but that's the price I paid for my first full summer in the land of the midnight sun. (That and rent.) Regular readers may recall the deteriorating quality of my writing. Personal acquaintances no doubt remember the deteriorating quality of my appearance. I was brutalized.

I didn't ascribe it to sensitivity at the time. I ascribed it, logically enough, to there being too much goddam sun in the sky.

Flash forward to winter in Denmark, a season of gloom if ever there was one, a six-month metaphor for death.

For the past week or two, I've been unable to wake up before nine or nine-thirty in the morning. I often sleep as late as ten or eleven. Yeah, yeah, I know—your heart's bleeding. But remember I'm a home-working freelancer who's been setting his own hours for the past two or three years, and as often as not during that period I had already finished half my work in the morning by the time you were getting out of bed (unless you were in a different time zone, in which case the comparison becomes too burdensome to pursue). But because I can set my own work schedule, waking up late doesn't cost me my job—it just pushes my day a few hours deeper into the night.

...and hammers delicately but insistently at my psychological well-being (insofar as I was ever psychologically well to begin with, which is probably debatable).

Thrown into insomniac delirium by the Danish spring and summer, cast into the melancholic abyss of sleep-deprivation by the Danish fall and winter, I'm clearly not the imperturbable stalwart I've always imagined myself to be. No, as I've said and as I say again, I'm apparently a sensitive bastard. This may or may not make me metrosexual, but it certainly comes as a bitch-slap to my self-esteem.

What's next? Lactose intolerance? SPF-ten-thousand? Specialty toothpaste? A lot of fussy allergies?

I don't know. But it's going to be nothing but darker and gloomier than it is today for the next six weeks, and it's a full seven or weeks until we're back to the limited level of sunlight that existed before I became so goddam sensitive.

That should be late January—just one more reason to look forward to the Super Bowl.

* * *

Fourteen years ago today at a summit in Malta, U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev announced that the Cold War was officially over.

Brilliant Intellectuals immediately proclaimed the end of history.

Nothing of interest has happened since.

Ozzy Osborne turns 55 today. He shares his birthday with Anna Chlumsky (1980), Holly Marie Combs (1973), Brendan Fraser (1968), Jean-Luc Godard (1930), Andy Williams (1930), Joseph Conrad (1857), and George McClellen (1826).

Today is not a significant holiday.

Happy Hump Day!

2003, The Moron's Almanac™

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