More serotonin, please?

Published 8:54 am Friday, April 17, 2015

Last night I hit a new low. When I came to, half of Eastern Europe was at war with me. A large number of provinces were in foreign hands. Sigh. People just don’t appreciate Russian expansionism.

The southern half of my country was a loss to the Ottomans, but there was still a force in store for those large invading Prussian and Polish armies — winter was coming. Supply routes could be cut off and those armies wouldn’t be so large come spring.

But I digress. None of this would have happened had I not fallen asleep while actively playing a video game.

It all started a couple years ago with baseball. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, nor was how much sleep I got the night before a factor.

I could be sitting or laying down on the couch, but it’d all be the same in the end. It was basically like rays of Ambien were flowing from the screen into my brain. That’s not saying anything against that sport. There’s just too large of a chunk of time where essentially nothing happens.

Then, sometime last year, it happened with basketball. It was an NBA game, one of those doubleheaders, and the familiar jingle from a “Law & Order” rerun brought me back. Sadly, it had been first game of the night, so I didn’t have the west coast start time defense.

My other stand-by excuse was not working, either. There’s not a large chunk of time where nothing happens in basketball. Looking myself in the mirror, I realized that I would have to come up with another rationalization.

It was the regular season, I soothed myself. No one cares about the regular season of the NBA, not even the players.

Then it happened during the playoffs. The Memphis Grizzlies were playing the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was an all-around excellent series, save the last game. Added to this, I went to college near the Barbecued Pork Capital of the World and was actively rooting for the Grizz.

Yet again, my curse struck. I would wake up, it would be 3 a.m., and I’d have to dig around in the couch to locate my phone for the final score.

At least it hadn’t happened during football, I consoled myself. Then Oregon played Ohio State in the national championship. After two fairly enjoyable playoff games, my water may as well have been NyQuil.

Sports were not the only programming to suffer from my “waking up drooling” rule — I could be watching almost anything. It wasn’t just TV, either.

There have many occasions where I came to during the middle of the night to discover that a book had fallen onto my face. Gone was whatever page my T-Rex bookmark had so lovingly wanted to save for me, had sleep only waited until the end of the paragraph so the book could be put down gracefully.

It hadn’t been the first time with my laptop, either. There have been nights where I woke up cuddled up next to it, and I sigh to see that I did not finish writing that magazine story.

Millions of people around the world struggle to fall asleep, and it’s because I’m hogging all of the melatonin. It’s mine!

It’s my superpower, my curse. I would like to use it for good, but I’ve yet to figure out how becoming a drooling idiot can help humanity.

Perhaps one day my brain can be donated to science, and they can harness its power so that all can finally get some sleep.

Until that day, I sleepwalk alone. A man with no future. A man with no past.

Cain Madden is the Managing Editor of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at 562-3187 or