Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


CP: That’s it. If I get one more e-mail from you time-stamped 4:10 a.m., I’m getting you a big bottle of Sominex. What up?


RN: I’m old. Why did no one tell me that sleeplessness was a product of advancing age?


CP: Maybe if you didn’t take those long naps in the afternoon. At your desk.


RN: This fancy new standing workstation has put the kibosh on that, I’m sorry to say. It’s too bad, because I can barely keep my eyes open, and that in no way reflects the fact that I’m conversing with you.


CP: Here’s what I don’t get. I can be telling you an anecdote that is as compelling as a Schumann quintet, and you are yawning. Yet there you are, wide awake in the ghostly wee hours when there is, frankly, nothing to do but perhaps update your Facebook. I suppose you’ve already tried all the usual: herbal tea, low lighting, the music of Yanni.


RN: You’re years older than me. Doesn’t this happen to you?


CP: Almost never. Those in charge blessed me with the opposite of insomnia. Not narcolepsy, quite, but I did once sleep through a tornado.


RN: Actually, I think that was when I was camped out in your guest room, and I was snoring. But that’s another story. As for the sleeplessness, I’ve tried everything. Warm baths. Reading bad fiction. A strict diet/exercise/no-computer-screen-before-bedtime regimen. And still, wide awake. I’m surprised that important people, those with the weight of the world on their shoulders, manage any shut-eye.


CP: I blame your spouse. Doesn’t Robert rise and shine at some obscenely early hour so he can complete a triathlon before coffee?


RN: Yes. My spouse is incredibly disciplined. I, however, am not.


CP: Maybe I could make you a series of short podcasts, just me talking on pet topics and sharing some deep thoughts. Guaranteed to have the same effect as a milligram of Klonopin.


RN: ZZZZZZZZZZ … oh wait. No, thank you.


CP: You also could think of following my example and staying out half the night, engaging in random acts of revelry and tippling.


RN: You’d think the nonfiction that’s currently camped out on my bedstand would send me straight into Snoozeland. But as it turns out, an examination of the development of urban centers in the British Empire is a page-turner. I’m up to the Melbourne chapter, and I cannot put it down.


CP: True enough, your reading list could induce coma in someone with hyperactivity. Which leaves me to wonder if maybe you are lying awake fretting about income disparity. Or Iran’s nuclear program.


RN: The final season of “Downton Abbey.” Truly, wondering if there’s a life worth living sans Dowager is enough to keep me bolt upright most nights.


CP: Now there’s a show that can put me in Stage 3 REM sleep in 10 minutes.


RN: I wonder if Dame Maggie Smith has trouble sleeping. What am I saying? She probably cuddles up to her Oscars and nods right off.


E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib