Did You Know?

Did you know if you open your eyes in a pitch-black room, the color you’ll see is called eigengrau. It’s the color of the deep dark ocean, without the monster lurking in the background, or a ripened eggplant, some refer to it as the absence of light. I look things up on my iPhone when I can’t sleep. What else can I do? I’m woke, slightly dehydrated, and already made a grocery list in my mind.

“The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.” E. M. Forster

If you didn’t know what sleep was, and you had only seen it in a science fiction movie, you would think it was weird and tell all your friends says George Carlin, “They had these people, you know? And they would walk around all day and be OK? And then, once a day, usually after dark, they would lie down on these special platforms and become unconscious. They would stop functioning almost completely, except deep in their minds they would have adventures and experiences that were completely impossible in real life. As they lay there, completely vulnerable to their enemies, their only movements were to occasionally shift from one position to another; or, if one of the ‘mind adventures’ got too real, they would sit up and scream and be glad they weren’t unconscious anymore.” This sleep thing is really sort of creepy when you think about it. No wonder kids are so resistant?

So in lieu of sleep, I read a blog on the changing anatomy of the human body, here I am courting exhaustion, and instead I wig myself out. Did you know in the very near future we’ll be saying “ten fingers, and eight toes, it’s a healthy baby.” Apparently as we continue to evolve, scientist believe that fewer and fewer humans will be born with little toes, wisdom teeth, or appendixes. What the hell? Certainly the price of a pedicure should be adjusted? 

In fact all the characters on the popular Simpsons cartoon have four-fingered hands with one exception: God. Why? These are the things I think about when the room is shrouded in eigengrau.

Whenever I have an early morning obligation I seem to have trouble sleeping (or rather staying asleep). I must have a fear of oversleeping or maybe never sleeping again? My son Tony recommends focusing on the fact that at least you’re resting your body. So I tried to appreciate the benefits of the prone position, didn’t help at all, but for some reason it’s calming to know my great, great, great grandchildren will never need they’re wisdom teeth removed. 

Sleep deprived, disoriented, and slugging down the coffee I make it to my early morning class before the second bell. My students are the best part of my job, yesterday they surprised me with a loud rendition of the happy birthday song, red velvet cupcakes, and AirPods. I was deeply touched. 

Slipping into my office after class, I quickly make myself some dark, dark coffee, update the grade book, and plan on heading to the grocery store for the upcoming Memorial day weekend, but I’m waylaid by students trying to finish up their spoken word poetry (summative semester project).

They need a significant word that rhymes with purple? They really don’t pay me enough for this sort of work. I said I’ll have to get back to them because I can’t think of a single word. I’m a writer, I walk all the way to my car searching my brain for an appropriate word, but come up empty. If you find one, be a dear, and leave a note in the comments.

Pulling into the Safeway parking lot I grab a spot on the left, as if a bat coming out of a dark cave (bats only fly left when exiting dark caves), I’m challenged that way. If I try to park on the right it’s as if I was drunk, the car is all cockeyed, and encroaching on the neighboring spots. Not my skill set.

As I’m walking past the long aisle of toilet paper options I’m reminded of a student’s portraits of healing presentation that claimed we chop down 127,000 trees every day to keep up with the demand for toilet paper. Seriously? We need to start pushing the idea of bidets, cut back on the squares people, or for goodness sakes if it’s colossal take a shower.

I stop at a shelf of big-eyed Barbie dolls on clearance and consider picking up a few for the twins.  Did you know Barbie has a last name? I didn’t either. And a middle name, too. Her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. No word on Ken or G.I. Joe. I decide the twins are too young for B.M.R. and move on. 

I grab a few onions, tomatoes, and avocados. I read somewhere that if you chew gum while chopping onions you will not cry? Why is that? I chuck a tub of chopped onions in my cart, who wants to take the chance, life’s too short.

Small watermelons are now available so I select one indiscriminately and place it in my cart. Watermelons are considered berries along with bananas, pumpkins, and avocados because the scientific definition of a berry is “a fleshy fruit produced by a single ovary.” Found that out when I couldn’t sleep, tuck that away for your next dinner party, sure to be a smash.

And by the way a peanut is not a nut, it’s a legumes, just like peas and beans. Also good to know.

So I pick up a bag of baby carrots for the girls, research on plant based diets is scary real, changes your gut bacteria, and there’s a significant amount of evidence that indicates your intelligence is greatly affected by your gut health. No one knows why? Anyhoo…I wanted to know where these baby carrots came from? Don’t you? They come from ugly adult carrots.

See this California farmer realized he was discarding 400 tons of carrots a day because they were too bent to be sold, he gave his harvest a makeover, and shaved them down to snackable nubs. So just to be clear they are still good for your gut health, raw or steamed, your preference.

I pass the candy bin and can’t resist grabbing a caramel, did you know the most shop lifted food item in the U.S. is candy? That’s why our taxes are so high. Theft. And I’m part of the problem.

I have to throw in a few cans of Pringles potato chips because they’re a great snack when boating. Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can to keep the chips safe, when he died in 2008, his ashes were buried in a Pringles can. It’s sort of gruesome but true.

Two hundred dollars later I’m all set for the Memorial Weekend, on the way home I listen to a podcast on how sugar is literally killing us, and immediately regret the stolen caramel. Apparently the food industry is injecting our foods with concentrated fructose, which causes insulin resistance, leads to obesity, and type II diabetes. Fructose promotes overeating because we don’t realize when we’re full. Such a loaded statement. 

While I unpack the groceries in the kitchen I wonder how many of the products I purchased have added fructose? For sure the Pringles, but so might the ketchup, yogurt, and salad dressing. I’m sure my family appreciates how I’m practically killing them. Thank God for bent carrots, fleshy fruits that come from a single ovary, and legumes.

As I’m storing my fructose laden food I’m reminded of this saying I teach my sophomores at the beginning of the year, “Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” I found out recently it’s ascribed to Frank Outlaw (great name) the creator of a successful U.S. supermarket chain called Bi-Lo. Are you appreciating the theme here?

So in conclusion if you open your eyes in a pitch-black room, the color you’ll see is called eigengrau, the color of a ripened eggplant, a tasteless, but highly absorbent berry. Hum? Jonathan Lethem says insomnia is sampling the world after the world has turned away, touching it everywhere, refusing to join the collective nod. And here I thought insomnia meant you were merely woke in a dark, dark room, with the absence of light, and your world suddenly seems achromatic. This is what I’m left to ponder…as we continue to evolve will the God in which we are imaged also be altered? Maybe I should just sip some water, make a grocery list, and read a blog.

“I had a dream about you. You were an escalator, and I was a flight of stairs. You thought I was a Luddite, and I thought I was as ostrich, because I hadn’t figured out how to put the fly in flight. One day you broke down, and then you saw that you and I weren’t so different after all.” Dora J. Arod

Change is so much easier when you add a little fun!

I’m Living in the Gap, drop by anytime, especially when you can’t sleep.


  • The more shrimp flamingo birds eat, the pinker their feathers. 
  • Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
  • Did you know Eskimos need refrigerators? Do you know why? To keep their food from freezing.


Leave a Comment

  1. Rhyming word with purple – furple. The word \”furple\” is widely used in the pigeon language spoke on Thursday Island at the top of Queensland in Australia by the islanders indigenous the area.


  2. Thank you EssEss for the word tip! I was curious as to the meaning of furple? So I looked it up, it says in the urban dictionary that it means when someone likes someone else romantically. This is not a big crush, but more than friendship. The word might be used differently by the indigenous islanders of Australia? Nevertheless a fascinating new word for me, watch it appear in a future blog. My older son lives in Australia, surprised he didn’t drop this word on me! Thanks again for your help the purple dilemma!


  3. I did not know your mind is this active at night. Why as we get older we forget how to sleep. We also stop breathing apparently and need the aid of a machine that blows air into our lungs … lol .. I guess when you get old shit happens you can’t control … You are a nine or an eight personality … can’t remember … I think it was a nine … “Switzerland” … I think I know one of those???? I think you are becoming an eight … can two eights cohabitation in harmony? When are we going to your cousins house? We need to plan … can you do travel agent stuff in the eigengrau? And get good deals? Is there an app called Eigengrau Travelocity.


  4. Well done Jim, you made it through the blogspot hurdle, and successfully posted a comment! Bravo. Most people give up! And yes, things are definitely changing as we age, some good, some horrible! Sleep deprivation being the worst, I just figure while I’m awake miles we’ll use my time wisely! The internet is endlessly fascinating. I think I’m staying a nine, not letting the eight in me out, one in the family is enough! All I have to say is god bless the peace keepers! We are thinking of visiting the cousins in September! Join us. Also they’re planning on coming to the lake in August around the 22nd-24th. I’ll let you know when they firm up dates! They’re looking forward to seeing you again! Keep those comments coming Jim! Much appreciated!


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