Editor’s note: John Rice has the week off. Enjoy this revised Wednesday Journal column from Jan. 5, 2005.
The human race is split into two species: night people and morning people. As a night person, I have no problem with people who rise 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? At parties, they try to impress you with their break-of-dawn schedule, just before they yawn in your face.
I’ve been a night person for as long as I can remember. The tradeoff has been that I don’t function very well in the morning. School always started too early for me. Most of the jobs I worked also had unearthly starting times, like 8:30 a.m. I would cower under the covers as long as possible, make a mad dash to the office and rush in at 8:35. My brain would arrive about four hours later.
There would be no point in using my brain any sooner, because it would still be wrapped in cotton. Through my foggy thought processes, I only comprehend one word: lunch. I feel my way through the mental mists until lunchtime arrives, after which I’m yearning for a nap. After this urge passes, 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. By 9 p.m., I’m able to fully operate the remote control. From there, my thoughts keep soaring until I reach genius level around 1 a.m. I’m so overwhelmed by my brilliant ideas that I slump over sideways on the sofa and wake up to cartoons.
Lately though, I’ve been displaced on the living room sofa and have lost control of the channel changer. So, I’ve been going to bed early and becoming a (gulp) morning person. Let me say to my fellow night people, who might be feeling morally delinquent, that getting up early is overrated.
The first time I tried it I staggered downstairs at 6 a.m. and found someone else slumped over on the sofa. After turning off the cartoons, I entered the bathroom. There was something suspicious about the toilet and my worst fears were realized when the water came up instead of going down.
This was one law of gravity that must never be violated. I started a pot of coffee to sustain me in my struggle. I plunged and routed and, when I went for my first cup, I found the grounds and water had exploded all over the place. I filtered what was left but still drank down so many coffee grounds I was too full for breakfast.
So, here’s the moral to the story. Night people should sleep late and let morning people deal with broken toilets and coffee makers. Besides, who wants to climb out of warm covers just to get, what is it, a worm?