It all started just three short months ago. Being a writer for ColuMn, I keep some (as the man says) unusual hours. Eventually that catches up to you, even the internet’s greatest and most-respected reporter, yours truly, BlackJack. Yes, friends. While defending the First Amendment of the Constitution of these United States, and writing spot-on, intellectually-fueled comedy for YOU, I was struck with the deadliest of maladies: insomnia.
I thought I could combat it through a vigorous routine of excessive drinking. While I probably did lose consciousness, I never actually acquired any real rest. Desperate, jittery, and red-eyed – that’s what I had been before all of this happened to me. Now I was just a shell of that. I needed either sleep or cocaine, and I write for ColuMn, so I can’t afford cocaine. Left with the only option being sleep, I turned to the people who solve all of our problems and deeply care about us as people: big money pharmaceuticals.
Not really wanting to read, I caught a commercial late one night during a hilarious episode of Mr. Ed for a miracle salve going by the monicker, AMBIEN CR. The ad was really informative and the people looked even better than I had BEFORE the insomnia. Plus, the doctor/narrator/deep-voiced male authority figure had gone on about the awesome side effects, which included “Sleep walking and eating or driving while not fully awake, with memory loss for the event, as well as abnormal behaviors such as: being more outgoing or aggressively normal, confusion, agitation, or hallucinations may occur.”
I wondered if there were any bad side effects, but decided with all of the positives, nothing was going to stop me from getting me some AMBIEN CR.
ColuMn’s medical plan isn’t the greatest, so I “borrowed” a friend’s wallet and medical insurance card and found a sympathetic doctor who was thrilled to prescribe AMBIEN CR for me. He tried to tell me some information and give me some sort of warning, but I laughed it off. Clearly he’d seen the commercial, but so had I. Warnings of how incredibly awesome it was going to be were unnecessary.
I didn’t want to wait until I got home, so I stopped off at the 7-11 and picked up a Tall Boy to wash the Brain Pills (as I’d started calling them) down. I will admit that was perhaps not the greatest idea I’d ever come up with, but I did definitely prove that they worked.
At first, it was pure bliss. 16 hours of sleep, followed by 3 in a dazed stupor, followed by 20 more hours of the dreamless sleep of the dead (except for the alarm I set for every 6 hours so I could pop 3 more AMBIEN CRs – I know enough about medicine to know you have to keep the dosage steady). The hours melted into days and the days melted into weeks. The next thing I knew, my phone was ringing and cmsof was on the line, screaming at me about how the robot had quit, I’d disappeared off the face of the planet, and ColuMn had gone down the shitter. I promised I’d get right to work.
That was easier said than done. Venturing outside my apartment to procure supplies, I immediately knew how I must look. Sleep deprivation had turned into getting too much sleep. Pillow lines were basically tattooed about my face. I’d lost weight from eating only AMBIEN CR (great diet – try it if you’re a fatty!) and hadn’t showered or shaved in 17 days. I remembered back to my favorite commercial and the line “aggressively normal”. That’s what I would become. I’d show them all. I wasn’t some drug-addled freak under the spell of some dream-stealing alien pharmaceutical. I was a productive, NORMAL member of society. Someone you’d feel perfectly comfortable asking to watch your kids while you went to take a shit. Someone that would not be dragged off screaming in the back of a squad car or ambulance.
Those days were the best of my life, but it’s hard work to be normal. You really don’t realize how not-normal you are until you pop a few dozen packages of AMBIEN CR over a three week period of sleep punctuated by sleep walking, sleep eating, and sleep crunkin’. You see things in a different way, a NORMAL way. Is there anything AMBIEN CR doesn’t do?
I made a lot of friends during that time. I had no problem doing something completely normal like engaging in conversations with strangers on the bus. The key to a conversation is to maintain eye contact. The only way to do that without raising suspicion is by not blinking. It kind of burns the eyes after a while, but you eventually get used to it. And the person you’re talking to thinks you’re all the more normal because of the tears streaking down your face. Throw some laughter in there to offset the crying and you’ll fit right in. Hell, you’ll DEFINE the word “normal”.
You might think it would be somewhat hard to come off as normal when you’re experiencing, “confusion, agitation, and hallucinations,” but you’d be very wrong. All of these things separately might give you away as being an AMBIEN-addicted, closet-choking sleep-raper, but combined they make you so normal you’re almost not normal because something so perfectly normal by definition would be somewhat abnormal. But not really. You’re normal. Or, in this case, I’m normal.
I mean, everyone gets confused by their sporadic hallucinations. That’s natural. But when you have one side effect called “confusion” and one called “hallucinations”, then those two confusions cancel each other out and you’re left with something the AMBIEN CR community likes to call “lucid hallucinations”*. Sprinkle in a what we’ll go ahead and call healthy dose of agitation, and you’ve got what Freud and Jung and Shrinker probably would call “normal”.
So I have nothing but good things to say about AMBIEN CR. Combine one part miracle weight loss system and one part good, dreamless sleep, then toss in how much you accomplish in a semi-conscious haze (memory free!), AND the uncanny ability to be 100% indisputably normal, and you’ve got a drug that has a little something for everybody. If we’re all aggressively normal, then being aggressively normal becomes the norm, and then we’ll all be normal. And speaking from what doctors call the AMBIEN CR half of my brain, that sounds just about right.
*term completely made up
BlackJack is not officially a licensed doctor. He’s got a pretty good gut feeling about these things, though.