Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 02.17.13
Stanstead, Quebec


Sleeping on it

I keep a pen and paper at my bedside for when I come up with some brilliant idea as I float between sleep and wakefulness or in case I want to write down a dream. For example, one night not long ago I dreamed that the military had devised a weapon called Pleasure Popcorn that clung to people like that annoying packing Styrofoam and in doing so induced waves of ecstasy so strong that it left the enemy incapacitated, though presumably quite satisfied.

Naturally, something went horribly, horribly wrong and the Pleasure Popcorn started self-replicating. Soon, the civilian population was infected and the streets were filled with hoards of pleasure zombies, which are like regular zombies except with louder moaning.

The Chinese, meanwhile, were protected from the Pleasure Popcorn plague because they had a vast supply of Hazmat suits at the ready. There was more (somehow the Fantastic Four became involved) but after that it starts to get kind of far-fetched.

. To be honest, I didn't write down that dream until well after I had awakened, which may explain why it's a bit vague. I swear it made perfect sense at the time.

Recently, though, I did write down something that occurred to me while half-asleep. I wrote "a news ulp positing." Fortunately, the very act of writing something down helps one remember what one wrote. That's science. Or something I just made up. You decide.

What I remembered writing down was "a new sleep position." That's what I need, all right, because clearly the old ones aren't working. Why else do you think I keep remembering all the weird stuff that floats through my brain at night?

There are three basic sleeping positions -- back, stomach, and side. Anything besides that and you might want to check the person's pulse.

These three positions are fine when you are young. Children can sleep in any position. I've seen children sleeping in spaghetti. In fact I've been known to encourage a tyke or two to take a nap in a nice plate of gnocchi.

. As we get older, however, we become less flexible, more inclined to stiffness, and what's with the toe cramps? You're lying there reading your book in bed and then, "Ow ow ow..." you look down and your toes are curled up like a turkey claw, and then you have to reach down with your hand and force the toes back into place, which makes you lose your place in the book, so you turn out the light, frustrated, all achey-toed, and is it any wonder I'm not getting a good sleep?.

Did I mention the cats on our bed, one in particular whose breathing sounds like someone gently squeezing a rubber ducky, no doubt because the cat is so overweight, which in addition to making her wheezy makes her difficult to move when she pushes up against my leg or, more often than not, wraps herself around my wife's head? No surprise, my wife doesn't sleep well either. "Don’t let the cat sleep on your head!" I scold her, but she just sighs, which kind of sounds like the cat, come to think of it.

So as I tossed about in bed the other night, crossing one leg here, feeling the blood drain from my arm there, my half-asleep mind thought, "There must be some position we haven't discovered." It's possible. I bet back in 1909, all the figure skaters were thinking, "Well, that's it. That's all the jumps we can do," and then in skates Ulrich Salchow, who turned out to be more than just a pretty face. The rest is figure skating history. And that's your Olympic moment.

. I'm not talking about pillows propping up parts or mattresses that "memorize" your body. (Creepy mattresses...) Nothing involving the soothing properties of cat hats, thank you very much. I want some completely new position, some way to shape the body that doesn't dig, gouge, stiffen, bend, fold, mutilate, numb, tingle, cramp, or generally wake me up in the night and make me write down random thoughts, thoughts that lead to columns like this. I think we'd all be happier if that were the case.