Tag Archives: Seinfeld

Sleep is for wimps

Standard

Apparently I need a ‘sleep coach’ which is a disturbing concept in itself. I’m hoping this person would not be in my bedroom with a whistle watching me not sleep apart from which, I don’t understand why my erratic sleeping habits need coaching into ‘normal’ anyway.

36% of our lives are spent sleeping. If you live to 90, that’s a whopping 32 years of sleeping. Imagine what you could achieve if you cut that back to just 16 years of sleep. If Thomas Edison had slept like a ‘normal’ person, we might not have the electric light bulb, which ironically creates the environment for us to stay awake and as a result, Edison is accused of having forever disrupted our internal clocks. Edison argued that sleep is a “criminal waste of time, inherited from our cave days.” And since we’ve abandoned every other aspect of life as a troglodyte (bar the resurrection of the Paleo diet – and one can only hope it ends there), why shouldn’t we abandon preconceived notions about how much or little we should sleep? Do we really need a standard eight hours sleep for repair, restoration and memory consolidation?

Margaret Thatcher famously said, “Sleep is for wimps,” and slept for a mere four hours a night while managing the empire with the other twenty hours. It was a tough gig for John Major who succeeded Thatcher and needed his eight hours sleep. Pulling an all-nighter is more common for lawyers and bankers and creative industries like advertising. And once that adrenalin-induced all-nighter is in your system, it’s hard to displace it.

In a Seinfeld episode, The Friars Club, Kramer is influenced by Leonardo Da Vinci who only slept twenty minutes every three hours. By replicating Da Vinci’s sleep pattern, Kramer figures he can live the equivalent of 105 years. He soon gets bored being awake all night while everyone else is asleep and it doesn’t take long for the effects of no-sleep to mess with Kramer’s already distinctive thoughts and ideas. He falls asleep while with his girlfriend, and unable to wake him, she assumes he is dead. Since she’s having an affair, she arranges for her mobster-type friends to throw Kramer into the Hudson River where he wakes up in a burlap bag.

I’m inspired by the sleeping patterns of Edison, Thatcher and Da Vinci and the concept of having more time; more life. But as you would know, my life is influenced by Seinfeld (and Oscar Wilde). The moral of Kramer’s story is that you need a proper amount of sleep or one way or another you’ll end up in a burlap bag so maybe it is time to call in the coach.

Writing we love to watch

Standard

The Writer’s Guild of America recently released its 101 Best Written TV Shows, and it was an awesome list in my opinion. As many of you know, I’m obsessed with Seinfeld – it permeates my life with uncanny and frightening relevance on a daily basis – who would have thought that a show about nothing could represent my life and the people in it so aptly.  Seinfeld, highly expected to come out on top on the list came in at a respectable second place after The Sopranos. I’ve never seen an episode of The Sopranos but I do plan to hire the series on DVD to check out the writing for myself. As a side note, it was sad to see that James Gandolfini, the star of the show, passed away last week at the very young age of 51.

My other all-time favourite TV Show particularly for its clever writing, and perfect casting – Arrested Development – comes in at 16, which is a great result considering it was axed despite being acknowledged for being incredibly good. It is hard to understand why it wasn’t more popular – perhaps there aren’t enough lovers of ‘quirky’ out there and it failed for that reason to build on its almost-cult following.

M*A*S*H aired from 1972-1983 and even though I was too young at the time to ‘get’ a lot of its humour (and as a child in those days, we didn’t watch much TV), I do recollect having a sense that it was clever and entertaining without understanding why. Max Klinger, who cross-dresses to prove he is insane and should be discharged from service, is much like a character out of another favourite story of mine, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. John Yossarian wants to be grounded from combat but in order to prove he is unfit he needs to request a mental fitness evaluation, which in itself proves he’s sane. I made reference to this character and storyline in my novel, RAIN as a tribute to the book but also because I love the concept of the ‘Catch-22’ — a term adopted in common language to define those situations.

Other shows on the list I’ve enjoyed over the years include Mad Men, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Modern Family, 30 Rock, Homeland, The Office (UK), LA Law, Fawlty Towers, Absolutely Fabulous, The Wonder Years and Get Smart. What about you? What shows on the list are your favourites?

Regards
Leigh

Contact Leigh at:

Website: http://www.leighkcunningham.com

Email: leigh @ leighkcunningham.com

Twitter: @leighcunningham

Facebook: Leigh K Cunningham

marine biologist independent george the desk lord of the idiots summer of george