Dear Hannah,

Roseanne is a beautiful name ruined for two and maybe three generations by a horrible person.  She was hired because she was horrible and she was fired because she was horrible.  She said all the right wrong things and got a show and said the wrong wrong thing and then lost it.  Comedy is the art of saying things that it's timely to say.  It's the art of offending people it's the right time to offend.  Roseanne wasn't entirely timely.  She likened Valerie Jarrett to a monkey and was kicked off her own show.  She was too rude in general for the 50's but this one comment might have made it.  She wouldn't have gotten a show back then but she might not have lost her best job.

She blamed her big blunder on Ambien.  She told us what the addicts have been telling us for years -- that the stuff won't let go, and that you do strange things while you're sleeping.  Like driving, or calling people, or making meals, or shagging.  It helps you sleep for a while and then people can't tell if you're sleeping.  There's "awake you" and there's "asleep you" and you get blamed for what both of them do.

People laughed at her for saying it.  A spokesman for Ambien said that so far as he was aware, the drug wasn't known for making people racist.  America laughed at the comedian it made famous; it dragged her through the mud when women can't be held responsible for what they do after a couple of drinks.  It pretended that beneath our (sometimes roughly) polished exteriors there wasn't a mess of things too horrible and too beautiful to express; and that the reason we don't speak them is because we don't want to get divorced, or fired, or murdered, or end up with AIDS.  We're both too sappy and too ugly to speak what we feel.  We tell people what we don't like and they hate us.  We tell them what we do like and we make them uncomfortable -- or end up a #metoo casualty.

We know this inner-us getting out is why drugs are illegal*.  Ambien isn't.  A drug dealer the state itself approves, which has been making these Pills-of-Satan despite warnings for years, and peddling them to the unsuspecting public, and getting rich while we threw pot smokers in jail, and while people have been ruining their lives in midnight confessions, and driving into trees while they're supposed to be sleeping, is still getting rich off it.  Roseanne keeps coming back to us and saying the same thing, over and over again, Ambien lets the other you out -- whatever you do, don't take Ambien, and the public is laughing at her.  They ought to be thanking her.  The pharmacies are laughing at us.

The amount of self-restraint I have to use when publishing these essays is legendary.  There are so many things I want to express and I can't.  There are so many things I need to say and I won't.  I'm more beautiful and offensive in ways the public has yet to imagine.  I feel some people look like animals and others look like angels.  I think some people belong in gulags and others belong on kings' thrones.  I adore too scandalously and I hate too dangerously.  I do none of these things freely.  My unspoken jokes are hilarious but untimely.  I can make a mockery of whites right now but our blacks are off limits.  I can make a joke out of God -- but can I say what I really think, loving or ugly, about women?  Can any of us say what we really think?  Roseanne spoke while she was sleeping.  The public has forgotten we're all worse than we appear -- and that Ambien is still being sold to our families.

Your father,

PS: A grown man needs a lullaby -- maybe two or three.  He's got to have something ready when it's three in the morning and That's not my name is banging out between his ears.  It has to be slow, but not heavy: not anything like Dragonaut by Sleep, which won't help you to sleep.  Very, slow, actually.  The kind of thing that kills your momentum, and is good mainly for heroin comas.  A tall glass of water and Jesus or Candy Says or Pale Blue Eyes by The Velvet Underground will do.  Learn them well and play them in your head.  They say lullabies are for babies and they are -- but it isn't the babies who sing them.  An adult does it for him.  An adult should know how to lullaby himself.

Aside from this lullaby I have two other tricks.  One is to focus on my breathing, taking breaths that are slow and deep while focusing on how the air feels going into my chest.  The other trick I use, in conjunction with this, is focusing on how my body feels.  You start with your head and work down to your feet and you can shut down your mind.  This is the whole point of it.  You need to shut down your mind.  Not allergy meds, or night-caps, or bongloads, or midnight snacks.  You.  You don't take control of your sleep and something else will take control of you.

*Hunter S Thompson spoke rightly when he said You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug.

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  1. Entertaining as usual. I'd enjoy sharing a beer and discussion with you some day, some way, some where, some how.


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