Silence of the Lambs

What’s for dinner, a plate of liver and a nice glass of Chianti?

Didn’t know you were into S & M Where’s you handcuffs?

The acerbic, taunting, hurtful comments just kept on coming, each one of them slicing into my heart like a knife through butter. And why was I being subjected to this vile abuse, you might ask? Just because we were supposed to be going on holiday with friends and they were threatening to leave me home alone while they jetted off to the sun… and the fact I’d just walked into the room looking like a deranged psychopath with my face concealed under Hannibal Lector’s mask?

It all started one Sunday afternoon when I fell asleep after lunch. When I woke Mrs T, who was supposed to be working, was sitting on the other end of the sofa glaring at me accusingly. “What’s up?” I asked sleepily. She turned on the recorder into which she had been dictating a contract for her secretary to type up the following day… and instantly my ears were assaulted by a thunderous roar that drowned out almost everything she was saying.  “What the bloody hell’s that?” I gasped recoiling in my chair.

“You snoring” she replied grumpily. “I couldn’t hear myself think.”

“If it was bothering you that much, why didn’t you do something about it?”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know. Stuff toilet paper in your ears, or something” I ventured thinking I was being helpful and considerate. Apparently, I wasn’t. Not even close

“A cushion over your face and sitting on it until you shut the f**k up would be my suggestion” she snarled as she jumped up and stormed out of the room.

Until that moment I hadn’t realised just how much of a problem my snoring was. Alright, over the years there had been tales of me sharing a room with a colleague who wore headphones with rock music blaring full blast all night just so he could get some sleep, and of another who vacated our room on the first night and spent a week sleeping on the hotel landing next to a noisy lift shaft. But, that’s all they were, tall stories put about by people taking the piss. Weren’t they? Well, no, apparently not…. so I decided to do something about it.

It turns out that not only do I snore but I also suffer from sleep apnoea, a condition whereby, during sleep, you stop breathing and starve your brain of oxygen until you snort like a rhino and wake yourself up, so the first port of call on my journey of discovery was the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Society website where I determined the probable cause was sleeping with my mouth open, or as Mrs T puts it, lie there with my cake hole gaping like a black hole sucking in anything and everything including other people’s will to live. And there was a simple exercise to check this out… Gene Simmons impressions. That’s right, Gene Simmons the lead singer with the rock band Kiss. Here’s how it goes. You stick out your tongue as far as you can, make a snoring noise and register the volume, then repeat the task only this time biting on your tongue and closing your lips before trying to replicate the sound… and if it is reduced or stops altogether, then, as Mrs T has said many times before “not being able to keep your gob shut is the cause of everything”.  So I did. And it was… unfortunately, the first time I tried it I was having a cappuccino in Costa Coffee and a bloke at the next table threatened to deck me, so if you are thinking of trying it, do it in private.

Anyway, despite being sceptical about the diagnosis, armed with this important information my search for a cure began. I tried everything, mouth sprays, nasal strips, balls stuck up my nose, (copper ones, that is) until eventually, I came across a head strap designed to keep your mouth firmly shut during the night and my troubles were over… or, so I thought.

The strap arrived in the post the following day and I couldn’t wait to try it, convinced that when I went to bed that night I would fall into a deep and pleasant slumber. Which I did… until three o’clock in the morning when I woke up bathed in sweat and with my chin itching like somebody had thrown acid in my face. But I wasn’t about to give up. No siree. The following night I stuffed the inside of the strap with tissues in the hope they might be softer on my skin. And they were… until I started dribbling (it comes to us all in the end) in the night, the tissues got wet, disintegrated and somebody threw acid in my face again.  So the next day I cut up a silk tie to see if that would be any better. It wasn’t. But I wasn’t about the give up. I went back to the internet and… and as if by magic, I stumbled across an article by a Russian peasant woman that was to change my life forever.


Like Mrs T, deprived of sleep and at the end of her tether as a result of her husband’s pneumatic roar, one night after he fell asleep and started to rattle the rafters, she taped his mouth shut with gaffer tape. Not the most scientific solution admittedly and potentially dangerous, but it worked. Like a dream… until he turned blue, his eyes started to bulge and she realised he couldn’t breathe. And she panicked. “What if he dies? Who will feed the pigs? Milk the cow and… bugger that” she thought as she ripped off the tape and resigned herself to another sleepless night. But it didn’t happen, her head hit the pillow, she went right off and she slept like a baby… all night. Not waking once. And when she woke in the morning you could hear a sparrow fart, her husband lying next to her purring like a newborn kitten. And she was confused. Had she killed him? Inadvertently suffocated him? What if he was dead, it was going to be hellishly inconvenient. So she took a closer look and discovered that when she tore off the gaffer tape the night before, a small piece had stayed attached to his top and bottom lips leaving just enough room for him to breathe but keeping his mouth closed forcing him to inhale through his nose. And her heart leapt for joy. Her beloved, her soul mate was alive and, thank God, she wouldn’t have to feed the pigs and milk the cow after all.


So there you have it. Now, when I go to bed at night, despite looking like I’m about to audition for Silence of the Lambs, I attached a piece of surgical tape over my top and bottom lips, fall into a deep and pleasant slumber and, for the first time in years, wake up in the morning rested and refreshed. I’m happy, Mrs T’s happy and, more importantly, I got to go on holiday… but that’s another story.

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