Going to bed growing up, for me, was agony.
It wasn’t because I’m one of those “takes forever to fall asleep” insomniacs, requiring me to go to bed at least an hour before I actually want to go to sleep.
But seriously, I was absolutely no fun at sleepovers.
“Hey guys, I know we’re all having a lot of fun talking about big boobs and imagining what beer tastes like, but it’s already 9:30 pm and I gotta get up early to play with my G.I. Joes and watch Mystery Science Theater 3000.”*
That was my first and last sleepover experience in a nutshell.
And no, it wasn’t agony because I don’t have the ability to turn off my brain like most of you dum-dums, so I could get some rest. I had/have an active imagination and laying tucked into bed in my He-Man sheets was the perfect time to think about our mortality and the concept of the infinite.
As a kid, I used to imagine being dead forever as riding a bike down a street that was always curving to the left. So you could never see what was coming up, you never knew what the future held. This, of course, is because there was no future. No past either. Just an eternity of riding a bike downhill with nothing ever changing and nothing to look forward to.
This is why I dabbled in Christianity for a bit when I was young. I figured if I was going to die, I at least wanted to spend the rest of forever in a place where I could play Super Mario and eat all the Domino’s pizza I wanted.**
No. Neither of those things were the authors of my agony. No.
It was those goddamn monsters.
Look, you’re all rational adults, (probably not if you read anything I write, to be honest.) Let’s say we’re all semi-rational adults, right? We know what’s real and what’s not. Trees? Real. The Snallygaster? Not real. Mr. Brooks? Real. Climate change? Not real. But none of us can disagree on the fact that monsters do exist. Just ask anybody who lives in Tokyo. Or that chick from The Babadook (by the way, that movie was shit.)
There are many types of monsters in the world, from the Jersey Devil to Donald Trump. We simply don’t have the time to get into all of them! So let’s narrow it to the collective monsters of our childhoods: bedroom monsters. They fall into two categories: closet monsters and under-the-bed monsters. I’m not too worried about under-the-bed monsters (UBM). For some reason, they never scared me. I mean, if I slept on a mattress on the floor, they were immediately ass out. My biggest fear was the closet monsters (CM).
The nightly ritual was textbook. After getting rubs and pats from my mom, she’d leave the room and I would gird myself for battle. The set up was simple. I was like the Jason Bourne of frightened children. My bed was set up so that I had unfettered lines-of-sight to my closet door and the door to my room simultaneously. The floor was kept clear of debris in case a quick getaway to my parents’ bed was needed. The door to my closet was closed AT ALL TIMES! For five years I never entered that damn thing, and by the time I had the balls to open the door, everything in there was four sizes too small.
Now, in what may seem like an interesting twist, the door to my bedroom was always open. Why, you ask? Easy. With a closed bedroom, you’re stuck in there with a clown toy possessed by a poltergeist who wants to drag you under the bed for reasons I still don’t fully understand. It’s never good to be trapped in a room with a monster of any type. Why would you do that to yourself? With an open door, you encourage a steady flow of traffic, as any civil engineer would tell you. That way, monsters are free to come and free to go, watch tv and make sandwiches or whatever the hell monsters do when they aren’t scaring kids, (wait, did I just make a Monsters INC. reference? And I didn’t even see that movie! Damn you Pixar!) and everybody’s a happy camper.
Of course, there are times when it’s not possible to placate the monsters with The Good Place and open-faced paninis. Sometimes they’re looking to get their jollies by messing with you. That’s where your blanket comes into play.
Just as every child knows that monsters exist and want to eat you or teach you calculus or whatever, we also instinctively know that blankets and bedsheets are their kryptonite. Protective barriers that keep the monsters at bay and keep you safe. Why is this? Nobody knows. That wisdom has been lost to the ages. But what we do know to be true, what we know to be sacred, is the power of the blanket!
So parents, take the time to sit your kids down and let them know that they are not alone. You have been where they are currently. You know that bedtime and sleeping can get scary, but as long as they have a blanket, all will be well. All will be well.
Now, TIME FOR GO TO BED!
*Yes, I was a junior in high school at the time. Shut up.
**I also dabbled in Satanism, cause that place had naked ladies and all the Popeyes I could eat.