Quality REM sleep had no place in my night during the early years of marriage to my husband, Bob, the human band saw. Repeated kicks to curb his snoring were ineffective, except to keep me alert enough to contemplate several, less traditional options for achieving nocturnal peace.
Admittedly, it’s hard to package shock therapy in a way that presents it as a sensible problem solver, but the “Snore No More” came irresistibly close.
The Snore No More was a battery-operated, peace-keeping armband designed to administer who-knows-how-many volts of electric shock to the snorer with the first snore, a method the product claimed would gently “correct” the snoring without waking its victim. An adjustable dial allowed the device to emit a wide voltage range, assuring a comfortable “correction” for snorers like Bob, whose guilt during the waking hours made him a willing and surprisingly easy target.
Bedtime, Night One:
With fresh batteries installed and the Snore No More’s armband properly in place, Bob sat patiently as I bellowed prolonged, deafening “test snores” to adjust the noise sensitivity dial. Satisfied with his visible flinching, I told Bob goodnight.
Within seconds, we discovered that the noise-activated Snore No More didn’t discriminate between sounds. When I cleared my throat, Bob got zapped. If he yelped in response, he got zapped. When a pair of feral cats combusted into a fracas outside, he nearly died.
“Well (bzzzt!),” I said, “we’ll (bzzzt!) just (bzzzzt!) have (bzzzzt!) to (bzt!) be (bzt!) more (bzzzzt!) quiet (bzzzzt!).”
As Bob flailed on his side of the bed, I realized I’d forgotten to tell him something urgent.
“HEEEEEEEEY!!!!! (BZZZZZZZZZZZZT!!!!!) I(bzzzzzzt!) read(bzzzzzzt!) the (bzzzzt!) most (bzt!) hilarious (bzzzzzt!) birthday (bzzt-bzzzt!) card (bzzzzzt!) today (bzzzzzt!)!!”
Clear throat: bzzzzzZZZZT!
Cough: bzt! bzt! bzt! bzt!
Bob had no choice but to suffer in silence; vocal protests only meant further torture.
Bedtime, Night Two:
Now wiser (if a bit twitchier), Bob suggested we reduce the zap level.
This was “behavioral therapy,” I assured him. “Changing behavior takes time,” I said. “Now, strap up!” I snapped.
Reluctantly, Bob slipped on the armband and steeled himself to face his nocturnal lot. He was a pathetic sight. I couldn’t help laughing.
“Ha (bzt!) ha (bzt!) ha (bzt!) haaaaaaaaaa (bzzzzzzzzzt!!)!!”
In a single motion, Bob ripped off the Snore No More band and hurled it across the room. “You can just kick me!” he huffed, with a final, indignant twitch.
Bob’s snores resonated with deep satisfaction that night, despite my repeated kicks. Lying awake in the darkness, I sighed at the rejected Snore No More, crumpled along the baseboard where it performed a light show of tiny, defiant sparks with each contented snore.