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Ready for battle

As I struggled to fall asleep Sunday night, I hatched a plan.

My first several days of the week start in the wee hours. Even with the holiday Monday, my alarm was set for 2:30 a.m. Newspaper deadlines and Monday holidays don’t mix, and I had to do my “real work” prior to hitting the road to cover a couple events.

I had intentionally turned in fairly early, hopeful for a solid six hours of slumber.

When I need to sleep, it’s always the most difficult time to fall asleep. If I’m sitting in my recliner, I can doze off with no notice. My wife can certainly attest to that. If I have an alarm set, it’s another story. I don’t know why I even do it. I always wake up before it goes off, with the fear in my subconscious that I’m going to oversleep.

I can recall just one time in my life when I actually did oversleep. It was the first week of college, and I had to be up at 8 a.m. to take an exam to see which Spanish class I’d fall into. I only took one year of it in high school, so I was pretty sure it was going to be Spanish 1. As young adults used to do, I stayed out a little too late the night before. I guess kids do that still, but now they’re up playing video games, not trying to drink their weight in 50 cent cans of Red, White and Blue. I missed that test, and because of that, they wouldn’t let me into Spanish. So, I was forced to take Italian. That didn’t go so well. The professor had it in for me from day one. Apparently, 18-year-old me wasn’t hitting the books hard enough. After one semester, the extent of my Italian was that I could order a beer from a waiter and inquire as to where the bathroom was located. Second semester, they let me into Spanish 1.

I vowed, again subconsciously, to never oversleep again, though I do from time to time still order a beer in Italian, so those four months weren’t a complete waste of time.

Let’s get back to Sunday night. I had set the mood for sleep. I read for about an hour and was starting to doze when my residence seemingly came under siege. The bombs started bursting in the air, seemingly 10 at a time. Someone dumped some serious money on fireworks, and they were putting on a show. Sure, it’s not legal, but at this time of the year, law enforcement looks the other way. Heck, they’re probably blasting away on their days off.

I admit, I have also had fun with fireworks in my day. As a youngster, if we got our hands on firecrackers, because that’s all we could really get our hand on in those days, we were going to make a scene. Boys will be boys, even when they’re grown men and they’re dropping a couple hundred bucks now at the fireworks stand.

All I could think of during this current attack, however, was revenge. After about an hour of airborne missiles disrupting my slumber, ideas for retaliation came into focus. I could pull into their driveway when I head to work in the middle of the night and serenade them with my car horn. Sure, their neighbors would wake up too, but all battles unfortunately have collateral damage.

By the time 1:45 a.m. rolled around, I was awake, and my new enemies were asleep. All lights in the neighborhood were off. I jumped in my vehicle and drove cautiously up the street. My plan could certainly go off without a hitch. This was just a trial run, however. I’m saving my counterattack for next July.

BY JOHN MCLOONE

July 6, 2022