Shape-shifting pillow puts stop to kin’s snoring
Like so many riverboat casinos that drop permanent anchor off the Mighty Mississippi (or its nearby tributaries), the best one in my hometown basically serves as an outpatient nursing home.
There's an array of scheduled activities, raffles and giveaways; a comped buffet filled with easy-to-chew food; an army of highly trained, uniformed personnel who treat you with professional courtesy (even if you don't deserve it); free liquid meds handed out in constant intervals; cliques of chatty regulars who know as much about the new doughnut shop being built on Level 2 as they do about their own grandchildren.
Yet riverboat casinos aren't shackled by all the healthy, pace-yourself limits of actual assisted-living facilities (like curfews or doors that lock from the outside). But then, why would anyone want to leave?
Well, getting some sleep every 48 hours or so might be nice, a subject I broached more than once on a recent trip home to visit those who share my DNA as they camped out by the penny slots -- to no avail.
To be fair, you really can't blame them for not wanting to leave -- if you feel certain a $1.49 million progressive jackpot is just one max bet away, it's hard to call it a night, even when you're too tired to notice that night became day seven hours ago.
The problem: Once the sleep debt of everyone in my bloodline gets as dire as our credit debt and we finally go home to crash, we snore, comically. And once crammed into the same tiny house during family reunions, Big Bro, Big Sis and Mom put on standing-room-only performances -- I call them the Sleep Apnea Trio.
Unaccustomed as I've become to their aberrant sounds of nature (because I married up to a normal human), I sit up all night when I visit them, unable to appreciate their three-part disharmony and resentful that I can't at least turn it into a quartet.
Which is why I read with bleary-eyed interest a report from Reuters news service last week about the cutting-edge work of a German scientist.
Professor Baryoush Bazargani has invented a high-tech pillow that silences nighttime nasal noise. His prototype head cushion connects to a bedside computer that monitors snoring sounds and then reshapes the pillow as you sleep until your head moves to a "quieter position."
I'd love to put the professor's new toy to the test, because in my brother's case in particular, I truly believe that a quieter position would be a Super 8 Hotel off Interstate 20.
Still, Bazargani hinted that several U.S. manufacturers have expressed interest in his invention, so of course I added his name to my Google Alerts so I'll get the latest updates on his pillow's progress.
Hopefully, I'll be able to help Bazargani get rich soon. Otherwise, on my next trip home I'll have to find more tranquil accommodations.
Perhaps the casino will let me set up a cot over by the 25-cent Wheels of Fortune.