2009-06-19 / On Second Thought

Thirty- something speaks

Asleep or not, it's all about TV
By Mike Maddock

My mother likes to say that men have a button in the back of their heads. When this button is pushed by something like the headrest of a La- Z- Boy recliner or the cushions of a couch, then men are rendered powerless and consumed by sleep. When this subject comes up, she usually refers to the time- honored traditional times in our family like the Thanksgiving meals when the men of the family gather in the den after lunch to watch football and were snoring in unison by halftime.

This topic came up at work the other day and one of the ladies in the office agreed with my mother…with one exception. She said her dad's button was deactivated when she would try to change the channel. The fact that her dad was snoring and drooling never seemed to matter either. As soon as something other than John Madden, cheering, and the grunting of linebackers was emanating from the TV, her dad would immediately wake up and say, "Hey, I was watching that!"

Her response was a quick, "Oh yeah, Dad, what's the score?"

He never knew, but that wasn't important. What mattered was that it was Thanksgiving, and even if he didn't actually see one single touchdown, no Lifetime movie was going to take the place of football on this special day whether he was awake or not.

I understand this man because I've caught my wife trying to change the channel too. These days, I could sleep through a party of kindergarteners hopped up on icing at an enclosed bouncy house, but if someone tries to slip the remote control from my sleeping hands, I'll wake up in a second. My wife can complain, but she isn't much different.

She is a teacher and the mother of three kids, so when she hits the bed at night it's pretty much lights out. But just before the lights go out, she likes to watch sitcoms like "Will and Grace," "The Office," or, if all else fails - which is often the case - her "Friends" collection of DVDs. Usually she's fast asleep 10 to 15 minutes into the show, and that's when I grab the remote. It's not that I mind watching her shows, but there's more to television than Ross and Rachel every single night.

The problem is that no matter how sound asleep my wife is, she always wakes up, usually at a very inopportune moment, like when Bear Grylls has just gutted a dead sheep and is devouring it raw on his Discovery Channel show "Man vs. Wild." My wife pokes her head up just in time to see Bear gnawing on the raw flesh of the unfortunate animal.

"Oh my Gosh!" she says in a sleepy haze. "What are you watching?"

Other times I find Deadliest Catch and the Bering Sea crab fishermen are letting fly with the BLEEP BLEEPS and fish guts.

"You are a sick man!" she says as she rolls over and puts a pillow over her head.

"I thought you were asleep!"

"Yeah, what else do you do when I'm asleep?" she says with a disgusted look on her face.

I am plagued by the curse, yet my wife's got it worse. I have learned the trick is closed captioning, but all that reading makes me fall asleep faster than a belly full of turkey and the Detroit Lions.

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