Yes, Your Honor, I understand the nature of these charges.
And yes, I am aware that these proceedings allow me the right not to incriminate myself.
Most of all, I recognize that anything I say can and will be held against me, and that even the slightest acknowledgment that I snore at any time, in any way, and in any place might well be construed as an admission of guilt.
Thus, I would like to make it clear here and now that I take issue with the claims my wife is presenting.
That I make sounds of a disturbing nature at various times of the night. That the aforementioned sounds have resulted in bouts of fitful sleep on the part of the accuser. That any nocturnal proximity to my physical presence has reached levels of intolerance and exasperation so maddening that no damage award you might hand down would come close to bringing her relief.
“So sue me,” I told her. “I’ll see you in snore court.”
And now here we are.
How do I plead?
Let me say first that I take issue with any and all characterizations regarding these charges. And I would challenge anyone stating to the contrary that those who have known me down through the years – members of my family growing up, roommates from my college days, dads who slept in nearby tents on Boy Scout camping weekends – will tell you that I have never been prone to making alarming nighttime noises of any kind.
Put simply, Your Honor, I do not snore.
But as you can see, my wife seems intent not only on bringing this alleged behavior to your attention, but staging an all-out intervention that aims to prove her point.
And she has brought witnesses.
“You snore,” says Mom.
“You snore,” says our son.
“Dad, you snore,” says our daughter. “You go uuunnnncchhh … uuunnnncchhh … uuunnnncchhh. It’s annoying.”
Granted, this doesn’t help my case. But I hereby object to introducing any supplemental testimony from the dogs, to whom we long ago surrendered vast tracts of our bed and whose veracity and reliability should immediately be called into question. Because they snore, too. And whimper and chortle and thrash their legs as they pursue small game in the ever-bucolic universe of their canine dreams.
May I approach the bench?
Confidentially, Your Honor, in the interest of perhaps reaching a plea deal here, I’ll cop to what I’d like to refer to as thick breathing, which is really just a close cousin of how I breathe when I’m awake. And though I know Mom plans to introduce evidence of a video nature – late-night smartphone recordings of me seeming to wheeze and gag like a whale beached on the shore – I consider this merely languid respiration and evidence of happy, soulful rest.
Allow me to add that my sleep habits in general began changing when the kids were growing up, and I stand before you now as king of the power nap. The dad you might find today asleep on the couch, head lolling back and mouth agape as the TV blares, can be traced back to days when I might have zonked out in my home office with my feet up on the desk after a long night ministering to a sick child (or dog). Or the times I’d recline the car seat as far back as it could go and drop off for a snooze while waiting for soccer practice to end. Worried folks sometimes rapped on the window just to make sure I had not gone on to, well, the great beyond.
So I am proud now to say that I have reached the point where I can fall asleep pretty much anywhere. And if you give me a sufficient stretch of REM sleep, the airflow-induced flutter of my nasopharynx might just render my slumber audible enough for me to wake myself up with a grinding, grunting start.
Now that I think about it, I might even have grounds here for a counterclaim. Because I view Mom as a biased plaintiff, especially since fully exercising my right to face my accuser always means being told to sleep on my other side and breathe in the opposite direction.
Yes, maybe I do observe a nightly ritual before officially retiring that drives her over the edge as I blow my nose, clear my throat repeatedly, scratch various areas of my body, apply lotion to sensitive dry areas, plump pillows until they are just so, arrange things on my bedside table, squint at the thermostat, emit a plethora of heavy sighs, pull the top sheet sufficiently over toward my side of the bed, comment on the status of open windows and doors, and speculate as to whether the light in the bedroom closet is on or off.
But I have learned that it doesn’t matter what pillows we use, what the temperature might be, or whether we’re stretched out on a king-sized bed in a four-star hotel or crunched together on my mother-in-law’s pull-out couch. Apparently I offend in any venue, and I’m getting tired of being asked every night if I might like to take a decongestant. Or a drink of water. Or the chance to go sleep in the guest room. And I would like to state for the record that whatever noise I might be making, Mom never neglects to poke me roughly in the ribs in the middle of the night to get me to stop.
I still say I do not snore. And as far as I’m concerned, Your Honor, that’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Until the day comes when you tell me I must adorn my nose with nasal strips or wear one of those breathing masks that makes me look and sound like a doddering, dyspeptic Darth Vader, I plan to remain a hardened portrait of ego, denial, vanity, and unfailing ambition to remain my good old college-era self.
And to that how do I plead? Guilty as charged.