Back in the dark ages of the 80's, I became friends with a kid who attended a neighboring high school. We were bunkmates at the now defunct, but once best summer camp ever, Twin Oaks (long live Ga-Ga!).
The first time I went over to his house, he met me at the end of his driveway. We walked toward the house. He told me that his mother was an art therapist.
The house was filled with his mother's artwork... in every room...in every hallway. And each painting an homage to motherhood, depicting little fetuses nestled between motherly thighs.
Anyhow, here's the thing: prior to meeting this kid, my musical taste was extremely limited (read: Hot Hits 98.1 FM). I owned two cassettes, Thriller and Synchronicity. But this new-found friend had musical taste that Rand would have admired. He sifted through his albums, pulled one, and told me to borrow it.
Life's Rich Pageant
Now, I know that REM is too mainstream today. The move from IRS over to Warner Bros. was a big harbinger of commercialism, but hey, they had families to feed.
I listened to the album. Again. And again.
I wrote my 11th grade research paper on REM.
I own every album.
Why I like them isn't important, but what liking them has meant for me is of immeasurable value.
They show up with a new album at all the right moments:
- Document (1987) - date first girlfriend
- Green (1989) - graduate high school
- Out of Time (1991) - father's cancer goes into remission
- Automatic for the People (1992) - enter education program
- Monster (1994) - father re-marries
- New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996) - begin teaching
- Up (1998) - officially begin dating Jess
- Reveal (2001) - marry Jess
- Around the Sun (2004) - birth of first child
- Accelerate (2008) - birth of identical twin girls
But this list is bound to grow. The timely release of this most recent album will most assuredly cause the list to double.
One band. One wife. Two parents. Four children.
My life is timing, and REM, my well-timed alarm, awaking me to savor the moments in my life that have the most meaning and importance.