Sunday, December 30, 2007

In Defense of REMing...

"Honey? It's seven-thirty, time to get up."

"Did you know that Darpa-funded scientists might have found a drug that will eliminate sleepiness?"

"No. You're awfully informed for having just woke up."

"Radio was left on last night, woke up at 2, heard the report. Couldn't sleep so it was interesting."

"Why didn't you just turn it off?"

"It was interesting. It's a nasal spray containing a naturally occurring brain hormone called orexin A. It reversed the effects of sleep deprivation in monkeys, allowing them to perform like well-rested monkeys on cognitive tests."

"Really? So are you a well rested monkey?"


"So tell me more about this interesting report."

"Well, I started thinking about the commercials they'd run, inbetween change of possession on ESPN Monday Night Football. A College student wearing a HARVARD sweatshirt looks earnestly at the camera. “I was a party all night kind of guy in high school. Getting a good night’s sleep just wasn’t in the cards and my grades showed it. Now, thanks to Orexin A, I aced my SAT’s and I’m living the IVY LEAGUE life.”

"What are you talking about?..."

"Well, this could really change our society. I've been thinking about the possibilities. Night schools would flourish. Law firms would revamp themselves after hospitals, having clients served by lawyers who worked ten hour shifts managing the same patients, selling their profession with lower salaries and better hours. Early Early shows would become the venue for b-list stars to try and create followings and comebacks."

"Did you get any sleep last night?"

"A little, why do you ask?"

"You're flakier than usual."

"No. I'm informed. I even remember the researcher's name. Hah! Try that gassed monkey. Dr. Michael Twery, he's the director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, said that while research into drugs for sleepiness is "very interesting," he cautioned that the long-term consequences of not sleeping were not well-known."

"Really? I'll phone him now, extreem nuttiness and oddly strong retentive recall powers abound."

"Thanks. But this medication worries me. As a devout wearer of bunny slippers, I want my bedtime! I need my winding down time to read a book, take a bath and brush my teeth. I need to stretch out on the mattress and say, “Yes…no more work for today.” And I don’t want that time to become an indulgence rather than a necessity."

"You don't own bunny slippers."

"Figure of speech love. If this medication becomes as ubiquitous as caffeine and chocolate and Viagra and allergen meds, society will expect us to put in 20 hour days. No thank you. Being able to excuse the fact that I haven’t written the Christmas cards yet or folded all the clothing on the fact that even I, need at least six to eight hours of down time to function, will become unreasonable. I don’t want another 56 hours in the week when I could be doing something."

"Me neither."

"As the medication becomes more popular, not taking it will be viewed as a form of sloth."

"Like not having a cell phone is considered being unprofessional?"

"Exactly. No one used to expect that people would be 100% reachable after hours or on vacation but now, everyone gets annoyed if you don't return an email after two hours."

"Bet it's unhealthy."

"It may not cause mood swings or have unpleasant side effects, but purposeful stillness absent being dead is something this society is rapidly losing as an experience. It’s odd, we go to work at jobs where we scarcely move, to earn money we seldom physically touch, to the gym to walk without getting anywhere, and with this new technological advance, perhaps to a bed but not perchance to sleep or dream. Not counting the time we spend stuck in traffic, where we wait to move, our lives are becoming one long sisyphian pursuit of the unreal. How much more of our lives can we find a way to render superfluous to working?"

"One would imagine that the refined versions of these same medications will eventually reach a point of being able to make sleep utterly unnecessary."

"Being on call 24-7 is one thing. Being awake 24-7 is another. I’m tired just considering the possibility."

"Me too. Are you getting up now?"

"No! In fact, in civic protest and in case this ever comes to pass, I am sleeping in today, while it's still socially acceptable. Carpe REM!"

"Alright. Alright, I'll get up and turn off the alarm."

1 comment:

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Hey, Beaumont Enterprise just caught my eye. Do you guys live in Beaumont?

I keep vampire hours because I work during the night. All the studies that suggest night workers are more prone to being fat, eating unhealthy, and suffering negative side effects of sporadic and broken sleep patterns.....yeah I embody every single one of those!

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!