Don’t Get Up

I am not, nor have I ever been, a “morning person”. I enjoy the peace and solitude of the nighttime; it’s my only opportunity to think long, slow thoughts without interruption.

It’s generally cooler at night. Bars are open, bands are playing, and drinking is encouraged. If you’re driving somewhere, there’s little or no traffic. You can look up and see the stars, and you never have to put on any sunscreen. You won’t be jostled on the sidewalk; in fact you might not even have to encounter anyone at all. The park is deserted; I can take my long Chinese weapons out there — my kwan dao, my tiger fork — and train without without attracting curious onlookers. You’ll always get a seat on the subway.

The world is just a better place at night, hands down.

As you might imagine, I do not greet the morning kindly. Left to my own devices (which, pathetically, I never am), I would hit the hay around three or four AM, and rise at about noon. All my life, however, I have had to endure smug and sanctimonious bromides about health, wealth and wisdom, early birds and worms, and similar such hogwash — all touting the salubrious and morally advantageous effect of leaping into action at first light, as if one were some sort of pea-brained domestic fowl.

Finally, it’s science to the rescue. It turns out that early rising is not only a bad idea, as I knew all along, but that it also puts one’s very life at risk. Learn more here.


  1. Kevin Kim says

    …leaping into action at first light, as if one were some sort of pea-brained domestic fowl…

    You’ve just insulted the entire Buddhist monastic tradition! Ha ha!

    (baldies wake up at 3am here in Korea)

    Posted September 7, 2007 at 4:17 am | Permalink
  2. Ahem! Kevin, are you insinuating…

    Anyway, Malcolm, about this:

    “I can take my long Chinese weapons out there — my kwan dao, my tiger fork — and train without without attracting curious onlookers. You’ll always get a seat on the subway.”

    I reckon you will if you carry threatening weapons!

    …Malcolm, pointing with his lance at an occupied seat, “This seat taken?”

    Terrified old lady springs up with an alacrity belying her years and scurries away…

    “Thanks,” growls Malcolm, settling in…

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted September 7, 2007 at 4:28 am | Permalink
  3. Kevin Kim says

    I wrote:

    “(baldies wake up at 3am here in Korea)”

    Jeff wrote:

    Ahem! Kevin, are you insinuating…

    Why do you wear that hat, Jeff? WHY DO YOU WEAR THAT HAT??


    Posted September 7, 2007 at 6:42 am | Permalink
  4. Hat? I don’t wear a ‘hat.’ It’s a cap. And you call yourself an English teacher!

    As for the insinuation referred to, I meant the state of my health, not of my putative hair. You’ve seen the top of my head and can report your observations to the world.

    Meanwhile, I’ll just say this: I wear my cap for protection against cold, against heat, and against ridicule.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted September 7, 2007 at 7:22 am | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Good morning, gentlemen.

    <yawn/> <eyerub/>

    I should consider editing that sentence slightly, Jeffery, if it is so amenable to such slanderous parsing.

    As for the Korean monks, Kevin, if they want a piece of me, they might have to get in line.

    Posted September 7, 2007 at 10:05 am | Permalink
  6. Kevin Kim says

    Caps and hats: a topic in itself!

    This source says:

    What’s the difference between a bonnet, a cap, and a hat? The bonnet has no brim at the back and is usually tied under the chin. The cap fits closely to the head and doesn’t have a brim, but it may have a visor. Hats vary in shape—they may or may not have a brim, but they are usually grander than caps.

    Another says:

    What is the difference between ‘hat’ and ‘cap’?

    (V. Prabhakar, Krishnagiri)

    Both are used to cover the head of an individual. Caps usually fit tightly around the head, and they don’t have a brim — a flat edge that goes all around a hat. A cap is usually made of soft material, and is equipped with a visor in the front. Hats, on the other hand, are grander than caps. They vary in shape and are usually worn on formal occasions; caps are never worn to official functions such as state dinners. Both men and women have been wearing hats for a long time. In fact, a couple of centuries ago, a married woman had to wear a hat when she went out — this was to let people know that she was married. Single women, on the other hand, were allowed to go hatless.

    (boldface mine)

    Intellesting. Do you wear your cap to official functions?

    On a serious note, I think I’ve long labored under the misapprehension that “hat” was a generic term, and a cap was a kind of hat. Live and learn. Considering the fact that I work in a hagwon-style department, I doubt I should call myself an English teacher.


    Posted September 7, 2007 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Interesting that both sources refer to hats as being “grander than caps”.

    I remember that when I was a young boy, and voraciously devoured everything I could get my hands on about paleontology, every text referred to the proto-horse Eohippus as being “about the size of a fox terrier”. I had no idea what a fox terrier looked like, so that was no help at all.

    Obviously they were copying from one another. Many years later Stephen Jay Gould, having noticed this also, brought it up in one of his books. I was gratified to see that he had been bothered by it too.

    Posted September 7, 2007 at 1:00 pm | Permalink
  8. I also remember the ‘fox terrier’ comparison and was similarly mystified. The “terrier” part sounded terrifying, but considering that tiny little foxes — which I did know from having seen them and their tracks — were terrified by this sort of dog, and apparently no other creature worth naming the dog for, I figured that the dog couldn’t be all that terrifying and that the eohippus must also have a bark worse than its bite.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted September 9, 2007 at 5:23 am | Permalink

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