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I just finished watching a video of German chronobiologist Till Roenneberg talking about ‘Social Jet Lag’.  He says our bodies are designed to sleep and wake with the sun and we’re ruining our health staying up too late to play and rising too early to work. 

Every other terrestrial animal on the planet operates according to the sun so I suppose it makes sense we would too.  On the other hand, those animals don’t have a local NBA franchise in the playoffs with games finishing around midnight.  Nor do they have bosses that don’t accept, “I’m tired” as a reason to come in late to work.

Mankind’s made a lot of progress over the past few millennia, moving from primitive cave dwelling, story telling social groups to house living, TV watching, Facebookers.  In our ancient days we rose when our bodies were fully rested…or a bear wanted his home back.  Now, thanks to the brainchild of an ancient Greek invention the clepsydra, we get up to an external prompt that has no regard for our sleep needs.  While this isn’t conclusive evidence that the alarm clock lead to progress I think is makes a good case that ancient Greeks were masochists.

Till’s thoughts about our sleep habits and their undesirable effects weren’t new to me.  I’ve had those same feelings every weekday morning since first-grade.  I’d have had the feelings a year earlier but my mother enrolled me in afternoon half-day kindergarten back before experts realized a small child left to play for most of the day would suffer great mental decay and cause the eventual educational backsliding of our great nation…but that’s a topic for another article.

The single greatest torture in my life isn’t having the metabolism of a sloth or male pattern baldness, it’s waking up to an alarm clock five-sevenths of my days.  There’s no sound so sweet, not even a child’s laugh, I wouldn’t grow to hate if it woke me from a dead sleep day after day.  Pavlov’s dog may have salivated at the sound of a bell, but I just groan, roll over and doze for nine more minutes.

Love is the culprit.  If I were independently wealthy I could sleep to my heart’s (and body’s) content.  But this silver-spoon lifestyle I’ve chosen doesn’t pay for itself.  All the daily eating and shelter from the weather I enjoy doesn’t come cheap.  And since I chose to marry for love, not money, here I am.  It was a good choice but if I’m ever in the market for another wife I’ll shop for a rich woman, preferably with a weak heart and no beneficiaries.

Barring a lottery win, a radical shift in hours at my current workplace or an unforeseen inheritance from a long lost uncle, I’ll continue to experience the daily torture of the buzzer.  It’s a great life, I just wish it started a few hours later.  Tragically, the alarm clock is killing me, just thought I’d mention that.

Thankfully we have no evidence to prove or disprove Bigfoot.

A few years ago I made a trip to Honobia, Oklahoma (pronounced ‘hoe-nubby’) for their annual Bigfoot Festival and Conference.  I didn’t see Sasquatch but I did meet some very interesting people.  While tourists listened to second hand accounts of terrifying encounters, ate food that contain bits and pieces of other unknown beasts and purchase fuzzy Bigfoot feet, Bigfoot crossing signs (mine is tacked up on a tree alongside the driveway) and plaster ‘squatch prints’, Bigfoot researchers (don’t snicker, they take their work very seriously…from their parents basement) gather to share their latest findings and plan future field work.

I have no reason to believe Bigfeet (Bigfoots?) exists, but I’d never be so arrogant as to say they don’t.  It’s a great big world and even with the extensive spread of humanity it’s conceivable that a species of large creatures could survive without detection.  If they are highly intelligent and naturally elusive, why not?  But if they are out there, I don’t want to discover them.

My aversion isn’t from fear.  If they exist they obviously don’t have an interest in hurting humans.  Were they a dangerous species we’d see livestock losses, the occasional stolen child and gangs of them riding Harleys down back roads on the first warm days of spring.

And it’s also not because humanity would got nuts.  PETA protesting to ban camping.  A check box on tax returns to donate to the Sasquatch Preservation Foundation.  Sally Struthers weepingly pleading for money as she sets beside a cheerless baby Bigfoot, abdomen distended, swarmed by flies and wondering why the fat blonde lady didn’t share her lunch with him.

The true appeal of Bigfoot is the mystery around the legend.  As long as Bigfoot isn’t discovered it can be anything we want it to be.  We can look amongst the trees hoping for the glimpse of the towering beast, teeth bared, ready for attack.  We can envision a timid recluse, living peacefully in the wilderness, hoping only to avoid civilization.  We can hope one day a puppy dog-like creature (Harry and the Hendersons) will wander into our campsite.

Even the ability to disbelieve has it’s value. It provides the “enlightened and informed” someone to look down upon.  There are politically in-correct crowds to feel superior to but rednecks, hillbillies and Bigfoot enthusiasts aren’t among them.  In the eyes of many they’re an easy target to disparage but don’t be too hasty, next winter when you’re stuck in a snow drift you’ll be glad to see the promising glow of their 2-million candlepower spotlight filled roll-bar.

I once listened to a respected business associate tell the story of a sasquatch in her barn in eastern Oklahoma.  She painted an interesting picture that included a strong smell of body odor, two normally bold dogs hiding and whimpering under the porch and matted hay and food scraps left behind.  Maybe it was her imagination…or possibly a drifter…it even sounds a little like a girl I dated in college.  Regardless, who am I to say it wasn’t an undiscovered bipedal creature with a lot of hair and large flat feet.  Thankfully we have no evidence to prove or disprove Bigfoot, just thought I’d mention that.

Touched

I’m a creature of habit. It’s best if certain things remain the same in my daily and weekly routines. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always agree. So how do I respond? You can’t let life slow you down so I get my lip out, stomp around and irritably move forward.

I normally write this article on my netbook. It’s a tiny computer and I have to squint a little to see the screen, but it works well and it’s what I’m used to. This week the charger connection that’d been flickering and requiring the power plug be rotated to a ‘just right’ position gave up and had to go in for repair. I’m sure it’ll be back under my fingers soon, meantime I’m writing this week’s article on an outdated trotline weight with a two second lag-time between the keyboard and the screen. It get’s the job done but, like garage-sale underwear, it just doesn’t seem right.

Out the window is a sea of green grass…uncut green grass. I had a school board training yesterday, followed up by a family get-together. The training was great…at least what I learned was great. Losing a Saturday sitting in an auditorium staring at power-points and listening to experts drone on about due-process, school finance and the open-meetings act, while informative, didn’t provide a mentally relaxing Saturday.

And I enjoyed the family get-together afterwards; there’s a certain ease in time spent with people who have no choice but to talk to you. But I didn’t get the yard mowed, which means I didn’t spend hours mindlessly operating dangerous equipment while my subconscious realigned itself by pondered the grace of a vulture circling overhead, how the Universe can be both boundless and finite or why watermelons are delicious but watermelon Jolly Ranchers are disgusting.

I also didn’t get the tangible confirmation of a task completed that millions of uniformly groomed blades of grass conveys. When I look at a freshly cut lawn on Sunday morning I know if nothing else gets done that day the weekend wasn’t a loss. And it opens the gate for guilt-free afternoon napping.

In addition to the afore mentioned disturbances to my weekend my own three children are with an additional three fourteen-year-old boys and a six-year-old and a two-year-old niece adding a thick fog of noise to permeate every crack and crevice of the house. All are great kids but between the laughing, stomping, yelling, and inharmonious piano playing my quiet country home sounds like a western saloon.

I’m glad they’re here (sometimes glad is a conscious effort), the boys are busy with activities that don’t involve electronics, the older girls have been having a great time without the Disney Channel and I was greeted with a smiling, “Cookie!” from my two-year-old niece this morning (that’s my current ‘uncle name’). Those are some good things you can’t buy at Wal Mart, but they aren’t relaxing.

While this weekend bears as much resemblance to normal as I do to George Clooney it’s been a good one. Sure, I may not approach Monday with a renewed zeal, but some things are more important than rest. That said, leave my Sunday afternoon alone, just thought I’d mention that.

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