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An Ode to REM

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REM is an American rock band formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1980 by singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry. REM was one of the first popular alternative rock bands and a pioneer in the of the music genre. REM was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Many memories flood my brain when I think of REM but the first is my brother, Scott. I don’t know if he would agree but I have always seen them as his favorite band, especially in the 90’s. He may dispute this memory, but I clearly remember listening to him and his friends sing “Stand” outside of the Junior High one Summer after playing at the football field.

Scott is by far not the only one to love REM and sing their songs with friends. I remember playing, re-playing, and singing to “Losing My Religion” amongst other songs by Whitesnake and Duran Duran during one sleep over. Big skeleton from my closet….

Other ways that REM has touched my life are by lending a cd to a friend so she could listen to “Everyone Hurts” on repeat after she broke up with her boyfriend. And at the opposite end of the spectrum Meredith and Nick had “Nightswimming” as their first song after their wedding. I like to think that we all have a favorite REM moment or two and that they make the world a better place.

However on September 21st, 2011 R.E.M  announced to their fans that they were retiring after 31 years and 15 albums. I was reflecting on their long career and this got me to thinking of a very strange coincidence; not only did I lose the band REM but I’ve also recently lost R.E.M.

Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) is a normal stage of sleep characterized by the random movement of the eyes.

R.E.M. sleep is the good stuff. The average person goes in and out throughout the night and this is usually the stage that has heightened dreams and increased brain activity. You could say that your brain is excited and your muscles are immobile and relaxed. Ruby (beagle) is a great example of R.E.M. sleep and its benefits. She sleeps a lot and often will be in puppy dreams where her eyes are fluttering, she’ll make tiny woofs and at the same time seems so relaxed and happy. Oh I am jealous of Ruby sometimes.

Elaine and I haven’t gotten much sleep since Mason was born last week. Newborns
sleep a lot but they also have regular needs throughout the day/night such as eating every 3 hours, diaper changes, loose arms in the swaddle, and lots of touch and soiled clothes. I count my lucky starts that Mason isn’t a sleep terror, but sleeping in 2-3 hour chunks isn’t the same as 8-9 continuous cozy hours. Even Ruby’s sleep patterns are affected and she’ll often release a huge sigh during a 3am diaper change and scream session. On a good sleep run the whole family gets 3 consecutive hours of sleep and often mental and physical high fives are exchanged.

Excluding Mason, we’ve all had to say good bye to a large portion of our R.E.M. sleep. As you can see sleep deprivation can lead to many health risks, but the only symptom I’ve noticed is that it has made me stupid. Forgetting words, the current day, conversations, to-do lists; GONE. Now things are better than last week but I think the baseline for productivity has also dropped significantly. Yesterday we went to the park and it felt like an amazing victory. Pictures of our accomplishment are below and it is followed by some delirious conspiracy theory.

There are some conspiracy theories that I subscribe to but I don’t know if I’ve ever created my own, but here I go… REM (the band) was created in 1980 shortly after I was born and was present in my life until the end of September 2011 around the time where I began sleeping very poorly and now hardly sleep. So does my R.E.M. sleep depend on REM the band? You make the call

Peace & love,
PS- Just in case you get in touch with REM (the band) please tell them to get back together. It might not help my sleep but it won’t hurt it either.


2 responses »

  1. Well, despite your lack of REM/R.E.M, this was quite a great blog entry! I chuckled a few times 🙂 Quite an advanced conspiracy theory from someone experiencing several nights of 2-3 hour intervals of sleep. Well done, Mark!

  2. Mom and Dad Watson

    Fun comparison to read. I learned a few things about Scott too 🙂 I bet Ruby was glad to get out to the park. The adventure probably did you all some good. Sleep well tonight – 3 hours at a time…….. Love, Mom


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