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Omaha Magazine

Things That Make My Brain Stay Awake At Night

Feb 21, 2020 02:06PM ● By Otis Twelve

I try to keep healthy hours. The experts say that our well-being is very dependent on getting the proper amount of sleep. So, I shower with chamomile body wash and go to bed on a consistent schedule that allows for the optimal number of hours for shut-eye. Then I shut my eyes and…and…and…I lay there in the dark with my eyes clamped shut and my brain set on “Ramble Aimlessly.”

Why Do We Like Ice So Much?

Everywhere I go I see ice—at restaurants in my water glass next to the little basket of sugar substitute, at the grocery store under the raw shrimp, or on the untreated steep hill that traps me in my neighborhood after a snow storm, ice is everywhere. At the movies, the soft drink machines that I am asked to operate for myself—a job for which I am completely untrained—have special big ice spouts that loudly load your provided cup with chunks of ice. Because of the size of your cup, the poor lighting, and the angle of the ice spout, it is impossible to see exactly how much ice is being dispensed. This usually leads to the necessity of dumping half of the ice into the rickety wire rack-covered trough. We waste a lot of ice. The commodity that Roman Emperors had rushed to their palaces from the glaciers of the high Alps by relays of runners so that the divine personage might have a cold sip of mulsum. Trust me, mulsum is better cold, and it’s worth a few dead runners if you can get a few ice cubes in your chalice. Still, I worry that we modern folk take ice for granted.

Who is Hosting Saturday Night Live?

I stay up late on Saturday nights. By “late” I mean I try to stay awake through the local newscast at 10 p.m. that features a cast of late-adolescent broadcasting school grads. There’s a 15-year-old anchor in red-and-white stripes, a 16-year-old sportscaster with an overbite, and a preoccupied weather guy who is wearing a tie that bothers me for some unknown subliminal reason. If I can stay awake until the smiling farewell at the end of a newscast that featured raging wildfires, war, a consumer report about the best cat beds, an approaching blizzard, and the crushing defeat of our local university boys by someone else’s university boys…then at last…Saturday Night Live starts. But here’s the problem; every time they announce the host’s name…I don’t know who the hell they are. When the host steps out to do the opening monologue, I either don’t recognize them at all or have some sort of vague memory of their face as if I knew them in a previous incarnation, nothing more. As for the musical guest…unless it’s Paul Simon, forget it. Reflecting on how out of touch I am keeps me awake.

Did I Set My Alarm?

I check at least five times during the night. “Yes, I did set my alarm,” I finally decide. But I forget to wonder, “Did I turn up the volume?” The answer to that unasked question is always, “No.” That keeps me awake until I doze off just in time to miss the alarm that silently blinks on the screen of my not-so-smart phone.

Why Do Some Dogs Eat Until They Explode?

I know, your dog eats sensibly. You can leave a full bowl of food in the kitchen for old Fido to graze on at his leisure. Your dog has common sense. Mine does not. If given the chance, my blind, deaf old pup would, if I left the cabinet door under the sink open, drag out the bag of Purina Lamb and Rice and gorge herself to death. Yes, dogs and their owners do grow to be more and more alike as they age. Did I close the cabinet?

And so, I “brain ramble” on…on…sleepless…did I mention that I probably forgot to put the garbage and the recycling tubs out on the curb? Or did I? 

Otis Twelve hosts the radio program Early Morning Classics with Otis Twelve on 90.7 KVNO, weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. Visit for more information.

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