My long-time friend lives in San Francisco and his name is Larry. Although it’s a fairly typical American name, he is from Slovakia. He emigrated from deep communist´s times. When we met again the iron curtain already fallen down. It was a hearty and altogether pleasant meeting. After a good dinner and long dispute about our destinies, it was time to go to sleep. Larry arranged accommodation at the Hilton hotel (that sounds well back in our country) in a double bed room (after immigrating my friend didn’t get so rich that he didn’t have to think economically). We went to our beds and before wishing each other goodnight, he asked me:

„By the way, do you have earplugs?”

Larry, ilustr. Vanek
Larry, ilustr. Vanek

I had one already from my first lesson of flying in Iowa as a prevention against the noise on the plane. Before I took them on, I asked a logical question.

„Yes, I have. Why?”

„Then put them in. I am a terrible snorer.”

Emigration and years mark people in strange ways. Therefore, I wasn’t very surprised. I put the earplugs in and without any problem, drifted off to sleep.

In the morning I woke up refreshed and satisfied. Larry looked damaged, tired and disgruntled. Well what else can you expect from someone who has been snoring all night? However, I asked him sympathetically:

„How did you sleep, dear friend?”

Larry looked at me with resignation and in a slight temper in his voice he answered:

„I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t. You snored something terrible. And what’s worse, I couldn’t interrupt this snoring concert because you had your earplugs in.”


From a book (see in E-book form here) by Gustáv Murín: Svet je malý/The World is Small – collection of travel stories in bilingual Slovak–English edition, SPN Publ., 2012.

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