Night Terror: Increasingly Paranoid Bedtime Stories of a Hopeless Snorer – Part 1 (of 4)

Previously on Adam Riff™:
The centerpiece of the issue was gonna be a longread on my snoring, which I have decided to revive and serialize on Adam Riff™.

Aug. 13, 2012 — Preschool-aged kids who snore loudly on a regular basis may be at a greater risk for behavioral problems, a study shows.

The behavioral issues include hyperactivity, attention problems, and depression. [source]

I have known from an early age that I snore loudly – my parents audio-taped me sleeping one night and played me the recording – but my snoring was never an issue – certainly not at sleepovers – until sixth grade science camp.

Every year, the sixth graders at three elementary schools in my school district would spend a week together at a local sleepaway camp studying environmental science outdoors.

I was assigned to a cabin with seven others, a bunk bed against each wall. I ended up in a bottom bunk, underneath Chris Gise, one of my classmates, and perpendicular to Tommy Minton, who would become a classmate of mine the following year in junior high.

What do I remember about science camp? I remember Jim getting razzed when his swim trunks turned opaque in the communal shower; I remember pestering my field instructor with questions after learning that he was Tim Schafer's brother; I remember everyone cracking up when Mark Kim farted during an assembly at the amphitheatre; I remember Dave Bowman's cabin getting in trouble for partying on the final night.

But more than anything, I remember waking up after the first night and being told, "Dude, your snoring… Tommy Minton wanted to stuff a sock in your mouth."

You can probably trace all of my hang-ups with intimacy back to that revelation.

I pictured my cabinmates grousing about me while I slumbered – Tommy Minton's eyes shooting daggers at my mouth – and was mortified. I was the fly in the ointment.

Unprepared to deal, I resorted to a tactic which I still employ today: Don't fall asleep until everyone else in the room has.

And so, on the second night, I laid my head down and waited, and waited, and waited, occupying myself with my thoughts until I felt confident that I was the only person still awake.

Lo, it seemed to work – a little less rest for a little peace of mind.

When Breathe Right nasal strips hit the market in the mid-'90s, I was super excited at the possibility of fixing my snoring non-invasively (I had been saving up allowance money for a tonsillectomy), and super crushed when they didn't work for shit (I audio-taped myself sleeping with one applied).

To avoid another Tommy Minton situation, for the rest of my K-12 years, I abstained from overnight school trips, save for a trip to Washington, D.C. in eighth grade – the granddaddy of them all. I was prepared to play the waiting game and, as an added pre-caution, requested to room with friends.

When room assignments were announced, however, I was assigned to room not with my friends, but with two subjects of ridicule among my class.

A teacher-chaperone pulled me aside.

"Jon, no one wanted to room with them, and we thought you would be kind enough to do so."

To this day, I wonder if the teacher-chaperones truly thought I was a saint, or if my friends secretly requested not to room with me.

In either case, at the end of the day, I was a freak.

Next: Earplug shame and reluctant all-nighters

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