I had a lot of sleepless nights as a kid.

Back when I slept in the top bunk, there were many, many things I feared. Murderers, obviously. And not just the stab-y kind, but the ones that advanced slowly while you became immobilized and wet your pants.

I remember every scene from every horror film I saw as a kid. Slumber parties were my great weakness. Not watching the movie was akin to social scourge, so I ended up seeing a lot of shit my parents would have completely lost their shit over. Gotta be cool.

Also, I feared the hydra-headed demon Failure. When I was in third grade I was so stressed out I developed what my mom called a “hitch in your get-along.” A folksy way of describing a walking tic. I have absolutely no memory of this (thank you, psychology) but I don’t doubt it. Third grade was a challenging year.

I fanta-worried about:

  • Having to be the hero in case of a school bomb (and failing)
  • Being snatched into a windowless van
  • Blithely eating a razor blade in Halloween candy
  • My parents being beheaded in a gruesome car accident
  • Being cornered on the playground by the over-amorous Gerald (this happened)

Lying pop-eyed in my bed when everyone else was asleep, there was only one thing that would soothe me. The sound of the dishwasher. Somehow, if the dishwasher was running, all of its practical, can-do, sparkle-guaranteed cycling would make the chances of being murdered seem very remote.

To this day, if I’m having trouble sleeping, I’ll run the dishwasher. With dishes in it, so calm down you eco-minded bastards.

Still, it works.

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