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Thursday, 30 December 2010

You Are Grooowing Sleepy

By Terry Hamburg of boomer to you

I'd have done anything for my Uncle Lou, and I did. He bought a Learn Hypnosis At Home kit and was anxious to try it out in front of an audience. My parent’s anniversary party was the perfect opportunity. The problem: no takers.

"What about Terry," he suggested?

It was 9PM. I was upstairs brushing my teeth for bedtime. Suddenly, I was sitting in front of 50 snickering adults in my Hopalong Cassidy jammies.

"You are grooowing sleeeepy. Verrry sleeepy.” Uncle Lou wiggled his fingers in front of my face like a cheap Houdini. Finally, with a whirl and swirl, he announced: "You are asleep!"

My eyes were closed but I was no more asleep than he. I peeked out at the smug, smirking adults. For a split second I was tempted to jump up and burst the bubble.

Uncle Lou sent me through the all the silly hoops he learned in his mail-order book.

"You're in Alaska, in your pjs. It's 20 below zero."

I started shivering. I threw in a teeth chatter. The audience was in stitches. He was emboldened.

"Now you're now in a desert. You're wearing a heavy overcoat. It's 120 degrees.”

I wiped imaginary sweat from my brow and panted. The finale was humiliating. "You're a dog. You're very hungry.”

This was testing my tolerance, but I got down on all fours and barked and begged. The audience was hysterical.

"Before I wake him," Uncle Lou said to my Mom, "is there anything you like him to do or not do in the future? He's in a very suggestive state right now."

"If you could get him to clean up his room everyday, that would be great."

He gave me the order. "When I snap my fingers, you will awake and have no memory of anything that happened. One, two, three..." He executed a silly body-twisting double snap and almost lost his balance.

For that split second again, I was tempted to stay asleep and let everyone panic, but I'd do anything for my Uncle Lou. I opened my eyes, look bewildered and asked what I was doing here. Laughter competed with applause.

"You can go to bed now, dear," Mom said.

My only consolation is that I had fooled the world, but it was a lonely consolation. I overhead Mom asking Uncle Lou how long the room-cleaning spell would last.

"Hard to predict," he responded. "Could be a day, could be a year."

Given that range, I cleaned up my room the following day and immediately reverted to my messy ways.

It took me 20 years to tell Uncle Lou the truth. Aunt Reba scolded me.

"He laughed at it," I said. "After all, it's been 20 years."

"You don't know him like I do. Trust me, he’s grinning on the outside, crushed on the inside. He'll go into a funk. I wonder how long it'll last?”

"It's hard to predict," I responded. "Could be a day, could be a year."

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Great story. It started me thinking of my own childhood deceptions, and all the times I was fooled by others. What a great topic for stories, since I was fooled so often, and did it so much myself.

You were so great to play along to avoid embarrassing your Uncle Lou. Kudos!

I loved your story. Very clever.

Terry - Nicely written memoir.

I assume you grew up to be an actor! - Sandy

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