This story could easily be about a couple in search of a therapist to save their marriage. It would include a woman with bloodshot eyes and frazzled hair complaining about her inability to get a full night’s sleep, and a man cataloging all the cures he’s tried in vain to curb his annoying habit of talking in his sleep.
But instead, it’s a happy story about the latest viral sensation on the Web: A mild-mannered English bloke who says the most hilarious things in his sleep, and his good-humored wife, who’s created a blog, Sleep-Talkin’ Man, that catalogs everything he mumbles.
What sorts of things? Well, how about this nugget of unconscious wisdom:
“Don’t leave the duck there. It’s totally irresponsible. Put it on the swing. It’ll have more fun.”
“I want to be a cowboy. I don’t want to be a panda. Pandas are boring, stupid and boring. Bad panda!”
Night and day
By day, Adam is the sort of restrained and even rather dull person that the British view as their national treasure. But by night, he’s a churning word factory, spitting out one-liners that run the gamut from hilariously absurd to mundane to keenly insightful to X-rated.
“The real Adam Lennard that I love people to meet is definitely the one you’re seeing now, the mild-mannered, English, restrained kind of guy,” Adam told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Friday from his home in England. “The one in my sleep, I wouldn’t want anybody really to meet. It’s a bit extreme as a personality.”
It all began innocently enough. It was Feb. 19, 2009, when Karen Slavick-Lennard heard Adam say, “Enough with the cheese. Enough.”
Now married, they were engaged at the time, and Karen found it funny enough to post online.
The next entry didn’t arrive until May 23, when Karen heard her sleeping partner declare, “Little people are FUNNY ... yes, yes, yes....”
Wired for Web
At first, the blog entries were months apart. But late last year, Karen installed a voice-activated recorder in their bedroom. Now, whatever Adam says gets picked up, and the next morning Karen posts it on their blog, no matter whether it’s funny, dirty, or just plain bewildering.
Some nights, Adam says nothing. Other nights, he says just one or two lines and not even a dozen words. Occasionally, he splurges on a half-dozen lines.
“I have a very strong sense of purity about the blog. I try to record everything exactly as Adam says it,” Karen told Lauer. “So even if he says something boring, I include it. Even if he says something totally nonsensical, as he did this morning, I include it. It’s meant to be an exact log of everything he says.”
From family and friends, the audience has expanded to more than a million visitors in just the last few weeks.
So many of the lines are so good — “Skipping to work makes everything better,” for instance — that Karen and Adam have begun selling T-shirts and totes with Adam’s greatest hits printed on them.
Stream of unconsciousnessAdam has no recollection of saying anything, nor does he recall dreams the lines could be connected to. So he doesn’t try to figure out where the quotes are coming from. He just goes with the stream-of-unconsciousness.
“That’s the funny thing. I have no recollection whatsoever of any dreams I’ve had that night or of actually sleep-talking. I suppose that’s why I’ve never wanted to analyze them. I’ve never thought there was a need to,” Adam explained. “I’ve very quickly bought into the humor of it. Karen’s enthusiasm has made me fall in love with what’s actually being said. We’ve just fallen in love with the whole process of it now.”
Naturally, there are some who say that it’s all too good, too Monty Python-perfect and that Karen and Adam must be doctoring whatever he mumbles — if not making it up entirely. As if anyone in their right mind, left mind or no mind at all would come up with, “Potato bags. I can’t find my potato bags. I need them. Who’s got my potato bags?”
“We know there are going to be people who don’t believe it no matter what, even if we produced a video, which we could just as easily fabricate,” Karen said with a philosophical shrug. “There’s not really much that I can say to cynics. People will have the opinion that they have. That’s OK with us.”
“In terms of trying to prove it to you, spend the night with me,” Adam suggested with a laugh.
Lauer declined the offer, which seemed to please Karen.
Now that the blog has grown into an Internet sensation, Karen goes to the tape every morning to update it.
“There are nights of silence. When I wake up on those mornings, on one hand I’m really pleased to have a full night’s sleep. But I’m also sort of disappointed, and now that so many people are following the blog, I actually feel a sense of responsibility,” she said. “So many people write to us and say, ‘This is the first thing I do when I wake up every morning.’ And so when I have nothing to share with them, I actually feel like I’m letting everybody down.”
To which Adam might say: “Yeah. Don't forget to dry-clean the baby.”
More of Adam Lennard’s zany sleep-talk:
“Skipping to work makes everything better.”
“Butter ... nut ... squash. I like those words.”
“Pork chops are most satisfying. Mmmmmm. Dangle them from the ceiling.”
“Step away from the yam ... step away!”
“What about sex ... and furry animals.”
“Can’t control the kittens ... too many whiskers.”
“Vampire penguin? Zombie guinea pigs ... we’re done for.”