Gurney's Inn
August 30, 2006

Jerry's Ink


So, my left knee is swollen and I'm limping.

It started at 4:45 a.m. this morning, when I was awakened by my cell phone/BlackBerry alarm loudly playing the "Toreador" song from Bizet's opera Carmen.

Half asleep I mumbled, "Oh my god, I screwed up again. She's going to kill me."

"She" is my wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, who is clearly on the wrong end of the technological revolution. Judy looks at a television remote with the same shock and awe as the cavemen did when they first discovered fire.

Electricity is a miracle to her and she considers it a technological triumph when she clicks a switch and a light comes on. Needless to say, she has little patience with me and the many electronic gizmos I take to bed with me each night.

It starts with the television. When it comes to the television sets I see them the same way most people view the eternal flame — I never want to see them turned off.

I fall asleep watching television every night. Judy suffers in silence and lies in wait until she hears the first snore. She waits 10 . . . 15 minutes until she is sure I am unconscious — then, like a cat, she quietly crawls towards the television set to turn it off the only way she knows how, by pressing the power button. In a flash I'm up, sleepy eyes blazing. "I was watching that," I snarl.

"No you weren't, you were sound asleep."

"Yes, I was. It was very interesting."

"Okay, if you were watching, what was it?"

"'Jay Leno'?"


"The Battle for Stalingrad on the History Channel?"

"No, not even close. Besides, I told you I would divorce you if you watched that one more time."

"Give me a hint."

"It was 'Gilligan's Island,'" she said.

"That's right, 'Gilligan's Island,' and I was really enjoying it. I always had the hots for Tina Louise. Why did you turn it off?"

The problem is deeper than my incessant television viewing. While I was protesting that I wasn't asleep and I was watching the television set, I had an iPod earphone in each ear. Yes, even though the television is on I have my iPod on, too, and I listen to old radio shows from the 40s and 50s all night long. I have over 1000 old radio shows, which I buy and download from

Shows like "The Masked Avenger" and "The Lone Ranger" and "The Mysterious Traveler."

A few nights ago I awoke to Judy pulling the earphone out of my right ear and screaming, "Jerry, I can't sleep. I keep hearing Sherlock Holmes talking to Dr. Watson."

"Just one more minute," I begged. "They are about to catch the killer in 'The Case Of The Tell Tale Pigeon Feathers.'"

That's when she called me a hopeless idiot.

I wish I could say it ends with the television and my iPod but I also have my BlackBerry in bed with me and it's buzzing and vibrating all night with messages about how I've won some fake lottery in the Netherlands.

For the last two nights the alarm on my BlackBerry has gone off at 4:45 a.m. which was a mistake on my part because I thought I had set it at 4:45 p.m. to wake myself up from an afternoon nap last Saturday.

On Sunday when the alarm-playing "Toreador" went off I couldn't find it and almost asphyxiated myself crawling and burrowing under the covers to find the Blackberry loudly playing the song.

Judy, who is given to bouts of profanity when her sleep is interrupted by a song like "Toreador" at 4:45 a.m., sleepily muttered, "If Bizet were still alive and he heard what you and those cell phone music barbarians at Cingular have done with his music he would either cut his throat or your [bleep] off."

So, you can imagine my terror when the alarm went off again at 4:45 a.m. this morning and "Toreador" was playing louder than ever. I jumped out of bed, caught my foot in the electronic wire jungle on the floor, fell and almost crushed my little dog Mocha who was asleep at the foot of the bed.


"Good," she said and turned over and fell asleep to the music of "Toreador."

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