SEPTEMBER 14, 2007

Poor Mr. Monk's been having some trouble sleeping. Which means, of course, that I have too. Because when Mr. Monk has trouble with anything, he calls me. And sometimes I'm not really sure why. Does he really think I'll be able to change the wind patterns so that it blows exactly parallel to his street? Does he think I can convince every shoemaker to adopt a new sizing system that involves only multiples of ten? Does he think that I can do anything to stop our nation's "tragic misuse" (his words) of the apostrophe? I don't know. All I know is, I handle these questions pretty much the same way I handled Julie's constant why-is-sky-blue type questions when she was little. I make stuff up.

When Mr. Monk recently had his little bout with insomnia, I tried every remedy I could remember. My first thought was warm milk, because it always used to work for me when I was little, but obviously that wasn't an option for Mr. Monk. So I tried chamomile tea, but Mr. Monk said he could taste the nature in it so we had to toss that idea out the window. I mentioned that a nice hot bubble bath helps me relax, but Mr. Monk doesn't like baths because he doesn't like to stew in his own "filth soup." He can't count sheep because he doesn't like to have animals in the house. Or in his head. I told him he should do whatever relaxes him most, but apparently scrubbing the grout in his bathroom with a toothbrush didn't help put him to sleep. What a surprise.

So then I started making things up. I said that putting a bag of sugar (exactly ten tablespoons) under the pillow was supposed to help you sleep. Didn't work. I told him that reading the dictionary backwards is supposed to be a great cure for insomnia. He made it to R, but still couldn't sleep. Then I got desperate and told him about the old "Davenport Cure for Insomnia" that my family's been counting on for generations: eat one saltine, drink ten sips of water, and eat one hundred kernels of corn. Needless to say, the Davenport Cure didn't work. But it did keep Mr. Monk busy for a while, what with all the preparation that went into the corn, so that was a plus. But I was pretty much out of ideas after that it was the middle of the night after all, not exactly when I do my best thinking.

So that's when I realized that next time Mr. Monk calls in the middle of the night with some problem, it might help if I've got some ideas ready. My made-up remedies might not be able to cure Mr. Monk (God, how I wish they could!) of whatever problem he's got, but they might at least help buy me some time and get a few hours of sleep. So it would be really great if whatever secret remedy I make up to cure insomnia or the flu or eczema or drymouth takes a long time to do. Make a quiche? Needlepoint a pillow? Collect the juice of one thousand tomatoes? I don't know. I'll come up with something, and maybe one of these nights the Teeger Cure for Toothache will buy me a few hours of sleep. Though that still leaves me with the problem of the wind patterns and the apostrophe...

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