I’m having trouble sleeping a few nights in recent weeks. My go-to on those nights was a night-cap of a little bourbon, or perhaps a beer, or a nip of scotch. But too much of a good thing can affect the waistline – and have the opposite effect on me: keeping me awake and wanting to write late at night. I was going to a Bible study tonight, so I neither feel like a nightcap afterward nor do I want to toss and turn again tonight thinking about Work. It was so much easier twenty (or more) years ago when I could sleep in rotating snatches of a few hours, work or train for several, then snooze a few hours again, and then back at my Navy duties.
Heading to my church group this evening, I stopped at the pharmacy for some sleep-aid liquid – the drowsy cough medicine without the medicine. Just then I recognize the manner and buzz haircut of an elder military vet walking ahead of me into the store. Marine. Pretty solid shape still for I presume his late sixties. He resembled my old family doc – a Vietnam Vet who sported the same “look”. (Poor Doc. He’d been diagnosed with cancer and one day wandered off by himself – with a pistol – into the mountains.)
I’m fairly certain that both this Marine and my old Doc would guffaw seeing me there to get Zquil. I imagine either one providing me with the Corps’ helpful remedy for insomnia. A hundred -twenty push-ups, and then a little double-time marching not walking – the dogs. Perhaps include a mile swim ( the base and the local gym have a pool) to tucker out a young guy like me.
Exiting the store with my purple medication, I see a white minivan parked in the one space, next to, but not in, the handicap spot between me and my car. I instantly know its owner. A little faded, somewhat banged up, dependable-looking, with a weathered U.S. Marine Corps emblem, meticulously centered, on the driver’s door.
Just like the elder Devil Dog I saw inside. I straighten up. Suck my gut in a little.