Brenda likes to enjoy her sleep time.  Her preference is to slide gently into it with uninterrupted visions of pleasant mental pictures while surrounded by sensations of at ease and unstressed euphoric warm puppy and baby powder thought infusions.

Allowable background music for this procedure includes the works of Handel, Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms.  Second to this would be some kind of television program that concerns itself with the inappropriate behaviors of the criminally insane, and those (with significant character flaws of their own) who pursue them.  It is particularly helpful if she can find the setting to be in a hospital emergency room; a courthouse, a police station or a morgue.  Aromas of Scotch, Bourbon, or pipe tobacco burning are of no benefit to her at this time, although they do improve my disposition considerably.

There is a television in our bedroom.  It is a fine set with access to many channels.  I do believe that if Moses had had access to this many channels on Mt. Sinai, he would’ve come back down with enough commandments to hamstring congress, and perhaps postpone the invention of football.

I personally have no need of that many channels, but they are there just the same.   Only a select few are needed in order for me to doze off properly so as to slip quietly into the state and appearance of an unemployed rubber band.

On such occasions, I usually need to find a science and nature channel that is broadcasting the mating and combat rituals of army ants, spiders, rodents, birds of prey or snakes.  Of course, the programs about our universe in its perpetual self destruct mode does take a close second.  Otherwise I settle for something brilliantly witty.  Brenda doesn’t care for my taste in these science shows even when awake, nor does she wish to be bothered with esoteric humor delivered by obscure actors using excessively heavy British accents.  This leaves few choices for the intelligent viewer, except a couple of times a year when there might be a Three Stooges or Looney Tunes marathon to be found.

With this in mind, we select a program where silly people piss and moan about their prospects of being treated poorly by someone of the opposite sex (for some reason she finds that “peaceful”) until I suspect she has attained snore-dome.  Then, I approach the science channel with all the intended stealth of a weasel grocery shopping at an egg laying convention.

The other night, I was pleased to find a splendid documentary on anacondas of the Amazon.  They are fascinating animals.  At breeding time these legless wonders are very competitive for a mate, so a receptive female may find herself in the company of many suitors all wrapped around her and dancing so as to be indistinguishable one from the other.  They will often form into a huge ball of snakes, and writhe in the muddy water seeking ecstasy much as you’d expect from a similar group of sophomores.

Unbeknown to me, Brenda was still awake.  She let me know of my judgment error (a character defining talent), and informed me that she couldn’t go to sleep watching snakeballs.  I studied the screen for a moment and commented that I didn’t think they were showing those parts, but it didn’t let me off the hook.  As intriguing and educational as it might be, I was not going to be allowed to watch snakeballs.

So, I changed the channel back to what she had been watching which was an episode of “Poorly Handled Homicide Investigations, Rude Conversations and Unrequited Love”.  It was a story about a rich young woman with an eating disorder, who for rather petty (and insane) reasons, decides to brutally stab a poor tattooed young man to death while he screamed out in utter pain and terror.  It was discovered that this guy had an uncle who employed the murderess, and had inappropriate feelings for his neighbor’s secretary.  The neighbor was being held for ransom by some kind of anti-inflammatory group from a diner across the street.  I think drugs and pornography were involved.  The investigating officer’s father was a known philanderer and a pedophile.  The program was sponsored by an insurance company.

All the background music to this marvelous piece of drama was in a minor key set to a syncopated rhythm that sounded a bit like a pig being slaughtered with a lawn mower.  This calmed my wife greatly and lulled her into virtual hibernation.

I didn’t sleep a wink at first.  It took some doing, but I finally conjured up an image of snakeballs which is probably a lot like counting sheep.  Well, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.

13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by BB on January 3, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Hilarious, and so true!


  2. love it! very funny.


  3. Posted by bbm on January 3, 2010 at 2:40 am

    I’m sorry, but I couldn’t sleep with either one in front of me! how about a game of solitaire, instead?
    By the way, I didn’t know there was such a thing as snakeballs! So…. your writeup was educational for me!


  4. Posted by KayBeaR on January 3, 2010 at 3:20 am

    Try switching over to the BBC channel and watching Dr. Who – should satisfy both of you 🙂


  5. Posted by DVB on January 3, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Great Site Van. I love you and hope you enjoy writing. There is no accounting for taste. Of course science has disproved that saying- but some of us don’t like being told what to think. Snakeball sounds like a fun game.


  6. Posted by Stanley on January 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    (from e-mail) The Anaconda activity sounds EXACTLY like some of the Theatre parties I viewed at Valdosta State. My viewing tastes parallel Brenda’s. Alabama by seven!


  7. Posted by RCL on January 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Which confirms my growing suspicion that television is the opiate of the people these days, religion having clearly failed to keep folks calm and passive.


  8. Posted by CSpak on January 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Good stuff. I look forward many more tales of intrigue 🙂


  9. Posted by Tim Teasley on January 3, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Van, you just keep on doing it…you really should get together with Mike Hill, and combine your rich harvest of interests with his commentary on the state of real in Valdosta. I’m sure that such a melding of talent could be a true opiate. If that doesn’t do it for anybody, I’m satisfied that there are enough real opiates in Valdosta to do the trick. Keep awn wrattin’!!


  10. Posted by BP on January 4, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    (From e-mail) Van is alive!!! Yeah baby, run with it! You have a book out?


  11. Posted by little d on January 5, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Van, Wid all dat talent hemmed up betwinsk your ears, I just knew ya was ah’pressing words somewhere, be it I am mighty proud to have now seen where you been ah’storing yo ramblings, so be assured dat I will be back ah’plundering 4-long…

    ps- there ain’t no such thing as wabbit wardens, but don’t get caught wid all dem snakes balls !


  12. Posted by Bonnie Stewart on January 12, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Wish you would write a book!


  13. Posted by Marlene Humberd on January 28, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Snakeballs ..interesting. Don’t particularly care for the snake part , but playing in the mud does sound fun. Why, people pay a fortune in fancy New York spas to be wrapped in mud , seaweed , oils ,lotions , potions , and honey. The lucky snakes get to do it all( and more ) for free ! As for the tv , don’t watch it when I go to bed . Usually, I’ve already used a show or two( doesn’t matter which kind …slept through all of the Dish channels) to fall into snooze mode in “The Chair “‘ before I wake up and stagger off to bed . I consider it like doing practice laps before the Atlanta 500. ; ) Keep ’em comin’ , Van !


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