John White: The nightly rumble with Scumbag Brain

I’ve been engaged in a hearty battle with Scumbag Brain over the past few weeks.

I’ve been engaged in a hearty battle with Scumbag Brain over the past few weeks.

If you are not familiar, Scumbag Brain is when your cerebral soft tissue takes pleasure in keeping you up at night with infuriating, non-actionable thoughts and anxieties. It was a very popular Internet meme on Reddit, and actually bubbles up in social media feeds now and again.

It’s one thing to deal with your stupid grey-matter glob during the day, when you can distract it with coffee, chocolate and Simon’s Cat videos. The nighttime dance is far more intense and ominous.

Typically, I’m able to fall asleep quickly, but I’ll wake up after grunting through some kind of stress dream at around 3 a.m. This is prime time for Scumbag Brain to stretch its synapses.

Here are some of my recent greatest hits (all of them start with, “Oh you wanted to sleep?”):

“That loud bang had to be a bear in the basement.”

“Does Radon gas have an odour?”

“I’m not Web MD, but I’m pretty sure that twinge in your chest is a heart attack.”

“Think about how many spiders you eat in your sleep. I’ll wait here.”

“That thing your coworker/spouse/stranger on the street said actually WAS personal and you should feel bad.”

“Remember that time you did that thing that almost killed you with embarrassment? Let’s review it in glorious slow-motion ultra-HD brain video for the next 25 minutes.”

“Are you hungry? I could go for a cheeseburger.”

“Did you know you have microscopic bugs munching on your eyebrows? I bet you can feel them if you think about it hard enough.”

“I’m going to run some spasms down your legs for a while. You haven’t actually exercised, so I’m going to make you kick and thrash a little to make you horribly uncomfortable as payback. Should only last about an hour.”

“Here’s the perfect comeback for that bully from Grade 9. Sorry it came a little late.”

“And I would walk 500 miles…”

“Did you hit ‘Reply’ or ‘Reply All’ on that work email?”

“Look at the time on your phone again. Now do the sleep math. Oh, that’s not good.”

“Your junior high locker combination was 25, 15 and… 6? No… 10? uh…”

“The MasterCard bill is due today, or was it yesterday?”

“Donald Trump has the nuclear football.”

“You should breathe deeply to relax. There. Wow, our heart is beating loud in our ears. Should we be concerned?”

“You’re another second closer to death. And another… I could do this all night, and probably will.”

“Try counting sheep. Huh, that one can moonwalk… cool. That one looks like Elvis. Fascinating. That one can sing the Phenomenon Muppet song. That should help.”

Just as I’m falling asleep again, finally, after an hour and a half of this nonsense: “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP.”

“Don’t bother hitting snooze, just turn the alarm off, you won’t fall asleep again.”


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