Man Who Loves Well-Meaning But Terrible Advice Enjoys Telling People He Has Insomnia
Unsolicited advice rears its ugly head in all kinds of situations. For Aaron Lorde, the secret to getting friends and strangers to unload good-intentioned, absolutely horrible guidance is simple: publicly acknowledge the existence of his insomnia.
“Every fleeting mention of the fact that I can’t sleep at night somehow inspires the most illogical suggestions and unhelpful advice imaginable,” said a visibly exhausted Lorde. “I’ve heard it all: ‘have you tried closing your eyes?’ ‘How about lying down and not thinking about your problems?’ ‘What about drinking warm milk (or cold milk, water, miso soup, chicken stock with little bits of banana skins floating in it, warm carrot juice, etc.)?’ ‘My grandma swore by drinking a half-pint of whiskey after dinner to get to sleep. She died at 48.’”
According to Lorde, thus far none of the suggestions have proven valuable. Generally, treatment for sleeplessness includes a dedicated, multipronged approach that can involve everything from medication to sleep therapy.
“If insomnia was so easy to overcome that the cure could be disclosed in a simple sentence uttered during a casual conversation, then no one would have any problems sleeping at night,” he said. “It’s an affliction that’s multifaceted and extremely difficult to remedy.”
And oftentimes, the guidance offered by others is so basic and self-evident, it feels insulting to Lorde.
“The thing is, I’ve tried all the obvious antidotes,” he continued. “And it offends me when people assume that I wouldn’t think to lie down, turn off my brain, and close my eyes. I’m not a fucking idiot. Do they think I’m going to be like, ‘You mean to tell me I need to relax in the evening? Oh shit, I’ve been running fucking marathons at night. Well, I think you’ve pinpointed my problem. I’m sure glad you said something.’”
Although he’s quick to voice his frustration with what amounts to gross misconceptions about the malady of sleeplessness, he knows that those who are offering recommendations sense his anguish and are empathetically trying to offer him relief.
“Yeah, they’re trying to be helpful,” he admits. “But in the grand scheme of things, what’s that worth, really?”
When Aaron’s wife, Donna — who was sitting next to her husband during the interview — was asked about her opinion of the bad advice her husband receives, she scoffed.
“Oh poor Aaron,” she said sarcastically. “He should try getting knocked up. I’m in my third trimester and believe me, I don’t even have to say anything. People just come up and offer the shittiest advice you’ve ever heard — like, ‘Make sure you don’t smoke cigarettes,’ and ‘Just don’t go on any roller coasters.’ First of all, it’s like, ‘Yeah, no shit.’ Second, it’s like, ‘If you’re going to help me give birth or raise my kid, then maybe I’ll pretend to give a shit about your opinion. Until then, kindly go to hell, won’t you?’”
Witnessing his wife’s aggravation, Lorde became concerned. “Honey, don’t get upset. It will give the baby wrinkles on his forehead.”
Donna stared blankly at him and offered some advice of her own: “Say another thing about this child forming inside me,” she roared, unable to conceal her contempt, “and every time the baby kicks me in my stomach, I will kick you twice as fucking hard in yours.”
It was the first advice Aaron took in a very long time.