By Scott Sullivan
I love power. Study its uses, intents, outcomes, ways to make things happen. It will change from what you’ve assumed or been taught; welcome that. We live acting.
Case in point: sleepers shocking themselves awake. The Washington Post’s Tatum Hunter reports Emma Hughes, 21, ditched alarm clocks and vibrating Apple watches to fight oversleeping in desperation to buy a $149.99 Pavlock Shock Clock.
To recoup or pay back these costs, she discussed outcomes on TikTok. Reception’s been mixed. “There were a lot of people on TikTok,” Hughes told The Post, “being like ‘no one should need this to wake up. Something is clearly wrong with you.’ I was like, ‘I know that.’”
My dad’s dad like me was diabetic. Before today’s meds or pumps, Grandma had to make Grandpa keep his blood sugar down so didn’t go blind or need limbs cut off. Between his standard bourbon and cigar meals, she diluted his with Like, a diet soft drink “Diets Like Like” was its logo. I like how influencers like “like” too.
Now my black cat Wink has discovered mouth-to-mouse non-resuscitation I fear, with the way he sleeps on my chest, if I snore he’ll regurgitate digested bits into my mouth. You feed me, I feed you. That’s what having a cat is like.
It shocks me when people wake up to anything in particular. Early electroshock fired jolts of increasing volts into bipolars’ or depressives’ brains after other guinea pig therapies had failed.
The ultimate treatment was the electric chair — then the rage after hanging, the guillotine and crucifixion had grown passé. Now we inject lethal drugs into those who can’t be made to comply, like they cannot stop killing people, after being judged to have no chance and/or expendable.
Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” — made 13 years later into a 5-Oscar winner winning vehicle for Jack Nicholson — framed the time Thomas Eagleton, a Missouri senator who summered in Douglas and was named Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern’s 1972 running mate, underwent the same lesser form of therapy.
Richard Nixon’s re-election merrymakers spread word Eagleton, a respected but liberal lawmaker, might be a brain zombie as a consequence. After McGovern expressed “1,000 percent” support, he was forced to can Eagleton soon after. Mainstream Dems, by then knowing the race was hopeless, replaced him with late-choice and Kennedy nephew Sargent Shriver.
They lost by the largest post-World War II vote in history. Two years later Nixon was forced out after Dems spread word about Watergate crimes, dirty tricks and so on.
I get past-tense thinking James Joyce wrote “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” 110 years ago. Ride your mare through dark depths and then what? If characters catch me I turn into them.
I prefer Bach’s 1731 “Sleepers Awake” cantata to usher me into consciousness than learning on TikTok how to buy Pavlock Shock Clocks; too many concussive syllables. Plus I look forward to sleeping forever. Dreams are portals too.
“During the pandemic,” Hunter further sets her news stage, “many of us shifted to sleep schedules that better suit us.” Who is this “us” she speaks of? — “Now we’re struggling to adjust to our employer’s schedules …”
Every time writers cite individuals using collective terms — “us,” “we’re,” “we” — meant to be inclusive I feel excluded, not that I want to be numbered among contrarians. Who’s a number?
The longer we let Covid frame our actions, the longer it grips us. Sorry, I/me. I accept sadly more than 1 million deaths tied to it have happened and will keep happening, so framing stories thus still sells papers. No out of sight out of mind for me as I’m already blind and crazy.
I hated cheap Covid masks that obscured faces I wanted to wear and ditched them after my first of four vaccine drug injections. I haven’t got it, meaning Covid, yet — I rarely “get” anything — but viruses like power mutate so be vigilant.
Were I young I’d elbow my way to the fore to win influencer kickbacks too. My twist would be selling antisocial media as the next new thing. New World Orders replace Old ones ever sooner.
Come on Pavlock, your dogs — the Post and I — slung free ink to boost you as much as your influencer did to source us. If our stories get chopped of due-diligence, boring context — either by readers or the copy desk, even better. Where’s ours?
Does it follow, absent context suggesting shock bracelets may be unproven placebos, I can be certain they work to cure overactive dreams? Why cure that? What do I get for my $149.99 investment helping Pavlock pay Hughes? The bonus charge of waking up to learn they have mined my data?
“Lampoon” draws from the 17th-century French lampon meaning eat, drink and be merry, not “lamp” which makes light of things. Words give and take power plus, like, I like doing it that way. Cheers!
By Scott Sullivan