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Let Early Bird Have The Worm

by Stephen Lautens

February 26, 1999

I'm part of a great oppressed minority whose basic human rights are trampled every day. I'm not a morning person.

All the glory goes to the people who are at their desks by seven am - usually after having jogged ten miles, read the paper and solved world hunger.

Just because you're not up with the birds, people automatically think you're lazy. It doesn't matter how late you work into the night - your co-workers only remember who was in first.

In fact, working late isn't even a virtue anymore. It's a strike against you. It now seems to mean you're not smart enough to get your work done before five.

Of course the morning people don't have to wait for five o'clock before they can leave because... "they were in early."

Every morning my voice mail is full of messages from people like: "Hi, it's Bob. It's quarter to four in the morning, but I guess you're not at your desk yet. Call me when you get in."

Of course when you call back at nine or ten Bob is nowhere to be found. It's just another example of how early risers mock the rest of us. You see, if someone calls you early enough in the morning they have the moral high ground all day, and don't have to return your calls - until of course the next morning at six-thirty, when they know you're still in bed.

The real pity is, I have no way of checking their story about being in early. The only thing I can see before eight is the inside of my eyelids.

And what sadistic fiend invented breakfast meetings? Having to go to meetings is bad enough, but dragging yourself into some conference room for a stale muffin and weak coffee at seven in the morning is something you should be able to report to the Human Rights Commission.

Anything I'm likely to do before 9 am is likely to be gibberish anyway. I'm at my mental best (and remember it's a sliding scale) between noon and the wee hours of the morning.

I'm sure there must be a vampire somewhere in the family tree, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has looked at the pasty faces in my photo album.

This whole early rising thing was a virtue before the invention of the electric light bulb when you had to make the most of daylight hours.

My great grandparents farmed in Manitoba in the mid-1800s. I'm sure they got up early to make the most of the day. But within a generation we had moved to the city and were sleeping in late.

Forget "organic", if I was a farmer these days I'd be raising a new line of produce called "well rested" food. I'd let the pigs, cows and chickens sleep in as late as they want.

Then they could stay up late and watch Letterman and the midnight movie with me.

I'm sure the result would be produce from more contented animals. Late riser bacon and eggs would be completely free from the stress of getting up at the crack of dawn - and that's got to make them taste better.

The early bird may get the worm, but I say he's welcome to it, as long as he lets the rest of us sleep in.


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