Early rising isn't worth the worm


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By JOHN RICE, Columnist

The human race is split into two species: night people and morning people. As a night person, I have no problem with someone rising early, as long as they do it quietly and don't brag about it later. Have you noticed, though, that morning people act morally superior to night people? They think there is something virtuous about getting up with the chirping birds. At parties, they try to impress you with their early schedule, just before they yawn in your face.

Me, I've been a night person for as long as I can remember. As an infant and toddler, I rocked my bed on all fours rather than sleeping. When I reached school age, reading at night became an obsession. With the aid of a single Christmas light bulb, I'd spend the still hours of the night with a book under a blanket. It could get pretty spooky, especially when I was reading Dracula.

Of course, I didn't function too well in the morning. School always started too early for me. Most of the jobs I later worked also had unearthly starting times, like 8:30 a.m. I would sleep as late as possible, make a made dash to the office and rush in at 8:35. My brain would arrive about four hours later.

My brain is mush in the morning. It's wrapped in cotton, and my foggy thought processes can only comprehend one word: LUNCH. I fight my way through the mental fog until lunchtime arrives, after which I'm ready to go back to sleep. By about 3 p.m., though, the skies in my brain begin to clear. And I'm functioning at 40 percent capacity by quitting time.

During the evening, my brain gets sharper, and by 9 p.m., I'm fully able to operate the channel changer. From there my thoughts keep soaring until I reach genius level around 1 a.m. or so. I'm so overwhelmed by my brilliant ideas that I fall over sideways on the sofa and wake up the next morning to cartoons.

Lately, though, I haven't had control of the living room, sofa or the channel changer. So I've been going to bed early and becoming (gulp) a morning person. Let me tell all you night people who might be feeling morally delinquent: Getting up early is overrated.

The first time I tried it, I came downstairs at 6 a.m. and found someone else slumped over sideways on the sofa. After turning off the cartoons, I entered the bathroom. There was something suspicious about the toilet, and my darkest fears were realized when the water came up instead of going down.

This is one law of gravity that must never be violated. I decided to make a pot of coffee to sustain me through the struggle. I plunged and I routed, and when I went to get coffee, I found that the grounds and water had exploded all over the place. I drank down so many coffee grounds that I was too full to eat breakfast, which is supposed to be one of the good things about getting up early.

So, if there's any moral to the story, it's that people who sleep late can avoid dealing with broken toilets and coffee makers. Besides, who wants to climb out of warm covers just to get, what is it, a worm?

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