It’s not always fun having insomnia. Actually, it’s never fun. But if your name is Susan B. Anchovy, and you live in an apartment on West Alabama, well then, you really have it bad. Susan was not only a big insomnia gal, but she was also a hard-working bus driver during the daytime hours. Unfortunately, she’s been fired seven times in the past year.
If you think Susan hasn’t tried to cure her disease, think again. She’s seen all the doctors, taken the pills, and even tried some sketchy natural remedies. Nothing worked. She put lavender on her pillow, but to no avail. She popped five Melatonin tablets but still had so much energy that she went for a twelve-mile run at three o’clock in the morning. But when she gets to work, it all hits her. Falling asleep at the wheel is never great, but when you’re a bus driver, it really is a bad look.
One Tuesday morning she fell asleep at a bus stop. The bus was packed with people trying to get to work on time, so a young man named Hans Smirnoff (first week at Wells Fargo), took the wheel and drove everybody to their destination. And boy, did he do a good job. Made every stop, and he still got to his job on time. And nobody knew that Susan had fallen asleep at the wheel. But a video of her sleeping went viral on Twitter later that afternoon, and she was fired.
Susan eventually gave up hope, and you can’t blame her. When all of your pillows are doused with lavender, every book on your bookshelf is about sleeping, and all your music comes from Spotify’s Sweet Dreams playlist, it can be hard to persevere. She lay in bed, head on pillow, eyes wide open, and mumbled, “I give up.”
Now listen closely. This is not a sad story. Most of the time when you hear someone say, “I give up,” you think it’s a bad thing. But not for sweet Susan. She became the most productive girl I’ve ever seen. She started doing research on plant biology, started a business selling nail clippers, and she even wrote a book detailing her whole life. And she did this all during the nighttime hours. Now the only problem was that she would crash for about three hours every day when the sun came up. Since three hours is not enough sleep, her quality of work was somewhat lower than subpar (if you are an avid golfer, please understand that, while your understanding of the word "subpar" connotes an advantageous outcome, within the context of the present story, "subpar" has a negative connotation, being essentially less good than normal).
Her research essay on plant biology was proven to be entirely false. She claimed that through photosynthesis, plants produce the NBA instead of ATP. She also made bold claims, stating strawberries were the superior fruit, and apples should not be considered real food. The business that sold nail clippers- I’ll give her credit it’s impressive she made it happen- but they were driven out of business after three weeks. She sold twelve sets of clippers, which is not bad considering she lives in a town of thirty five residents (also a bit concerning that so many people didn’t own nail clippers).
Now, the novel she wrote. Her autobiography. That was the biggest disaster of them all. She was talking nonsense from page one. She started out talking about dropping out of high school, but didn’t even mention her experiences in adolescence until page 220. And around page 600, there was a four-page essay about why bananas tasted better than mangos. Susan was losing it, but she cared about fruit.
Looking back on it, it sort of was a sad story. Most insomnia stories are. It’s hard to win when you can’t sleep. Just tired all the time, moping around. It’s a struggle. So if you ever see Susan B. Anchovy, send a smile (and maybe a strawberry) her way because she needs it.
©2019 Jake Schick