Here's Johnny - Nothing to lose sleep over
I'm not sleeping much these days, so the following list of less-than-deep thoughts and bad jokes will have to suffice for Dear Readers. Dr. Jekyll, meet Mr. Hyde Saturday, the UK Wildcats will step inside The Swamp to try to accomplish something none of their predecessors have for nearly three decades: beat the Florida Gators. They'll do so as decided underdogs, after getting upset by Southern Mississippi in their home opener last week. Just as they did in the last game of last season against Louisville, the Cats had a Jekyll and Hyde performance: great first half, horrific second half. It's almost as if Cats coaches are using halftime for a quick nap rather than strategizing and pep talks. (Forgive my sleep obsession - more on that later.) I know that's not the case - at least, I don't think it is - but their second-half play reminds me of my ill-fated two-plus years as a UK student: a good fall semester followed by a bridge jump disguised as a GPA plummet come spring. By now, Cats fans paying big dollars for tickets and parking spaces have to wonder if head coach Mark Stoops, hired in part for his defensive wizardry, will ever display said wizardry for four quarters. Saturday night must have been the sweetest of evenings for Southern Miss offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, fired last December after one year in the same position for UK. In the second half, Dawson's troops marched through the artificial turf of Commonwealth Stadium like Sherman through Atlanta. Fortunately for UK brass, they didn't burn the luxury boxes. Florida, which won the SEC East last year, is presumably a better team than Southern Miss, which belongs to Conference USA. However, hope springs eternal - hey, people still visit the Fountain of Youth - and optimistic UK fans point out that the Cats have given the Gators fits the last two years. Says here the Cats will lose again, but with dignity. Sometimes, that's all you can ask for in this mean ol' world. I've lost plenty, and not always with dignity. Sleepless If UK does lose, I won't lose any sleep over it for two reasons: My happiness isn't based upon the performance of young men on the gridiron or hardwood; and these days, I'm not sleeping much, anyway. A 2007 story by National Public Radio said 60 million Americans are affected by some form of insomnia. There are likely more of us now, because - and this is not a comment on immigration, illegal or otherwise - there are more Americans. (I bet a high percentage of illegal immigrants are insomniacs, if only because stress and depression are two high-ranking causes, and it can't be much fun worrying about getting deported.) Gayle Greene, author of the book Insomniac, told NPR that sleepless nights can have a devastating effect on daily routines, that chronic insomnia is often mistaken as "a bad night," and that few people realize just how debilitating long-term sleep deprivation can be. "Sleep is the fuel of life," Greene said. "It's nourishing; it's restorative. And when you are deprived of it, you are really deprived of a basic kind of sustenance." Chronic insomnia is caused by many things; some physical, some mental. Some folks get relief by altering their diet and habits; others have an underlying physical condition that must be treated before they can again have lengthy stays in the Land of Nod. I've been plagued by intermittent bouts of insomnia for years, but the past few months of fitful or nonexistent sleep have left me cranky, depressed and plagued by spiders crawling on the edges of my vision. (Actually, in my office, sometimes there are spiders and other crawly things on the edges of my vision, and occasionally just to the left of my computer monitor.) I figure more than a few Dear Readers share this complaint, and I hope they feel free to call or email to share their spider stories with me, including how they chased the little buggers away. Meantime, I've scheduled a long-overdue doctor's appointment. I'm tired of feeling this way. Also, I don't like spiders.