My Mind Is A Nursing Home Full Of Sleeping People

I’ve always been a fan of New Year’s Eve. I’d like to say it’s because of the unicorn-and-rainbow optimism, but really it’s because of the clean slate. New Year’s Eve gives everyone license to put the mistakes of the previous year behind them—even the vodka-fueled mistakes made just minutes before midnight—and be different, be better.

On New Year’s Day, I found myself watching a Twilight Zone episode. In it, an old man named Charlie wakes his nursing home friends and tries to convince them of his theory that playing Kick the Can will recapture their childhood.

“Us? Children’s games?” one indignant woman says.

“You can’t be serious!” her friend exclaims.

“Yes, that’s the secret, don’t you see?” Charlie’s eyes are so bright. “The secret of
youth. . . Wake up! This is your last chance. I can’t play Kick the Can alone.”

Watching the show, I realized a character like Charlie visits the nursing home of my mind every new year— shaking awake the grumpy, jaded, and stubborn old people who have let the bad stuff bring them down. Just like Twilight Zone Charlie, my Charlie tries motivating them to break routine with aphorisms like:

Maybe the fountain of youth isn’t a fountain at all. Maybe it’s a state of mind.


I know the  world is full of magic. I just know it is.

But it’s too late usually. The old folks in my mind are too set in their ways to change. So, I was thinking maybe I’d let Charlie rattle them a few times during the year instead of just at the beginning. Wake them up. Give them some opportunities to gain some happy memories to counterbalance the bad.  They aren’t going to experience anything staying in bed.

I’ve entered three messages every three months this year in my cell phone calendar that will ping me. When it does, it will say “Charlie says Wake Up! Kick the Can! Happy New Month!” Totally Polyanna shit, but I’m betting I’ll need to hear it.


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I am a writer for an e-Learning course vendor near Chicago.

12 thoughts on “My Mind Is A Nursing Home Full Of Sleeping People”

  1. Hey, that’s not a bad way to remind yourself to shake things up.

    On a side note…isn’t “vodka-fueled mistake” an oxymoron? Nothing vodka-fueled can possibly be bad. Vodka does only good. Vodka gives you superpowers. It’s your friend, your lover, your reason for living.

    PS: I did have vodka before (and while) writing this, so my judgment may be somewhat clouded.

    1. The first conversation I ever had with my significant other was vodka-fueled. So you may be onto something there, Daniel. Also, I don’t think I need to ask what you did for New Year’s Eve now.

  2. I found this Pollyanna-ish episode painfully slow in direction and completely boring, sort of like most old people I know, lol. I kept waiting for a nice bright commercial to intervene to ‘wake me up’. It reminded me of the movie, “Cocoon” where they had no better solution to “growing old” than hitching a ride on a spaceship and leaving a saddened grandchild behind. At age 80, I do not feel ‘kicking the can’ with youthful enthusiasm is any fun, either. I’d rather spend my old age days writing poetry, thank you very much. I think we are a society that so worships youth that old age is something we would prefer to sweep under the carpet and never mention or admit to at all.

    1. You’re right, Jacqueline, the episode’s slow. I just chalked that up to 1960s storytelling (doesn’t it seem like most black and white shows pace themselves slower than our shows today?)

      As for youth vs. age, I like my age and would never go back to be younger. The episode just reminded me that I need to shake up my routine sometimes. Try some new stuff.

  3. I know that episode! I’ve watched little of the Twilight Zone (despite really enjoying it–maybe I should watch more, as a New Year’s resolution?), but that one sticks out.
    I like your outlook, in any case. Maybe I need to rewatch that episode?

    1. Jacqueline’s comment below is right: the episode’s a little slow. So skip to after the second commercial break. I’m a homebody and I feel rankled when I have social stuff to do. Charlie’s words rattled me a little bit, like, “oh! Maybe I shouldn’t spend all of my free time holed up in my house!”

  4. I remember this episode of the Twilight Zone now that you mention it, Nate. As the saying goes, “you’re as young as you feel”. I always say that yo myself when I start thinking about how old I really am.

    Happy New Year.

      1. I thought you were, Nate. 🙂 I’m certainly changing my days this year and will certainly be getting myself out and about more rather than spending too much time sat looking at my compete screen.

        I love the cartoon image of you. Mind if I ask where you got it from?

      2. Thanks, Hugh. I’m now an editor for a blogger/writer group (yeah write) and the cartoon image is a icon to let people know that. I sent in a real pic of myself and the cartoonist did his thing.

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