Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It’s Sleepy Time

How did you sleep? How many of your days begin with that question? And why does our worldview now depend upon how well we slept?

Seems like the older we get, the more illusive a good night’s rest has become. Does it help to know you’re not alone? Not so much.

The experts say that each of us has a “sleep architecture,” and that as we age, this architecture begins to change. For one thing, we spend less time in deep non-REM sleep and our circadian rhythm starts shifting earlier (no one knows why). Depression, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, menopause – there are loads of additional reasons for sleep disorders to affect baby boomers.

Whether it’s trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, boomers are finding that what used to come easily is now a struggle. Should we go to bed later, read longer, not drink coffee, drink warm milk, get out of bed when sleep doesn’t come easily…..all good questions and nobody has the answers. The recipe for a good nights rest is different for everyone – I get that. So, for now, we rise early (so that’s empty what the world looks like at 5 am) and try to go back to sleep, or we get up and start surfing the Internet (you got a better idea of what to do at that hour?). Start trying to remember who you went to grade school or high school with and then look them on Facebook. That can kill at least an hour. Try reading a classic book that you’ve never finished (or truth be told, never even cracked open). Moby Dick or Silas Marner anyone?

To put this all in perspective, it’s said that a healthy 70 year-old may wake up as many as four times a night without it being due to disease or any of the other aforementioned causes. Maybe on one of those wake-ups you could clean the bathroom or change the Brita water filter. There are plenty of distasteful chores you can do in the middle of the night that you may not even remember you did by morning.

The good news (the silver tsunami lining, if you will) is that you ARE waking up in the morning. You may think you have a sleep disorder, but not waking up (as in DEAD), that’s a real problem!

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author. 2KS8Q3D9E3E5

Friday, January 4, 2013

How’s That Again?

We all have our favorite misheard lyrics – there are even websites devoted to cataloging them. This site takes its name from one of the most often repeated “misheards” --- “scuse me while I kiss this guy” is from Purple Haze and most of us know that the Jimi Hendrix was singing “kiss the sky.”

I’ve always been fond of hearing small children recite the pledge of allegiance (you do remember when we actually did that in grade school?). Especially the part where they say, “and to the republic, for Richard Stands.”

Or the Beatles “girl with colitis goes by” rather than “girl with kaleidoscope eyes.” If you remember Iron Butterfly’s totemic song, In-A-Gadda Da Vida, you may also recall that the first time you heard it played, it sounded like “In a glob of Velveeta, honey.” And some of us thought Elton John was singing “hold me closer, Tony Danza,” which may have made sense if Danza was gay, but “tiny dancer” won out on that one.

The lyrics that forever remain a mystery to me are from Steve Miller’s The Joker, recorded in 1973. Clearly, I’m not alone, because there’s even a movie titled with the same lyric and it revolves around four guys trying to figure out what the hell Steve Miller was talking about. To refresh your memory, the song starts out with this four-line opening:

Some people call me the space cowboy yeah

Some call me the gangster of love

Some people call me Maurice

Cause' I speak of the pompatus of love

The sheet music declares that it’s “pompitous,” the liner notes indicate that it’s “pompatus,” and there’s a contingent that believes the word is “puppetudes.” The characters in the movie try out “prophetess, profitless, impotence, pompous ass,” among others, but give up trying to find the one true answer.

And that’s the right thing to do. When a song’s lyrics contain a neologism that confounds so many people, perhaps it has fulfilled its mission. We play it over and over, desperate to make sense of it all, but finally just give in to the pleasure of hearing the words. I’m no song writer (trust me on that one), but if I wrote a song that mystified everyone for decades, I would be a very happy camper.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Here’s Looking at You Kid

Someone called me a whiz kid the other day, because I knew how to record a voice memo on an iPhone. He’s a few years older than me, but it got me thinking that if I qualify as a kid, maybe it was time to start to giving the “Kid” moniker to anyone younger than me.

The server at the Indian restaurant will be Kid Curry, the UPS driver will be Kid Brown, which means the other delivery guy will be Kid Fed. My coffee will be expertly brewed by Kid Barista and I’ll purchase my jeans from Kid Levi. Movie tickets will be purchased from Kid Flic and burgers from Kid Mac. Kid Firestone will rotate my tires and Kid Kroger will bag my groceries. Kid Cable will keep my internets going and with any luck, I’ll never have to watch any of the shameless shenanigans of Kid Kardashian.

When you’re a kid, you don’t want be be called kid. As in, “Scram kid.” Or W. C. Field’s line, “Go away kid, ya bother me.” And being someone’s kid brother or kid sister isn’t exactly the description a young person wishes to be called.

But attitudes change and the years have mellowed my opinion about being “the kid.” Being the youngest carries no stigma anymore. On the contrary, when you put a bunch of boomers in a room, it’s quite the honor to be considered the kid.

It’s a storied tradition when you think about it. The Cisco Kid, Billy the Kid, Kid Shane, Karate Kid, Cudi the Kid, Kaitou Kid, Heartbreak Kid, Ringo Kid, Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid, Kid Rock, Kid Kaplan, and who could forget the Sundance Kid. In the movie Casablanca, Rick toasts Ilsa with “Here’s looking at you kid.” That line is one of moviedom’s most famous.

A kid is young. A kid can get away with stuff. A kid has a certain joi de vivre, and who doesn’t want that? Yes, I like this “kid” thing. I like being called kid, and I think I’m really going to enjoy calling younger people “kid.”

It’s a lot better than whippersnapper.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.