Al Batt: If it could happen to anyone, why doesn’t it?

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.

I staggered into the kitchen at 4 o’clock in the morning.

It’s hard not to stagger at that time of day.

Email newsletter signup

I’m a recovering morning person. As with most people, I’ve had various jobs that required different times of arising each day. I milked cows early in the morning. I worked swing shifts, including the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. one. For years, I got up at 4 a.m. to write before the noise and distractions of the day appeared.

I no longer milk cows, so I’m trying to awake at a more civilized hour. It’s hard. Change is difficult and early mornings are lovely.

According to a survey I just made up, a person isn’t a morning person unless he or she tells you that he or she is a morning person. Not everyone is happy with mornings. Not everyone is a morning person. I hope you wonder why that is.

When I was a boy, pajamas were for youngsters. Adults hadn’t yet begun to wear pajamas while shopping in stores. Anyone who wore them to the local grocery store would have been considered loopy and someone who would bear watching. That’s why I don’t own pajamas.

So I was in the kitchen. I figured I should have a bowl of raisin bran. I like cereal and a fellow needs to eat.

I grabbed the handles to two doors of our kitchen cabinets. The cereal is located on the right side, so I wouldn’t have had to open both doors, but I did. I made it look easy.

It gave me the feeling as if I were Marshal Matt Dillon opening those swinging batwing doors of the Long Branch Saloon on the old TV western, “Gunsmoke.” That Dodge City, Kansas, enterprise is where Matt found Kitty, Chester, Doc Adams and breakfast cereal. Life was good.

I couldn’t help but like Marshal Dillon. He was a tall drink of water. I’m a lengthy galoot. The actor portraying Dillon was James Arness. Arness was born in Minnesota. I hatched in the Gopher State.

Back to the kitchen. There I was, sans pajamas, but I was wearing underwear. I’m not a troglodyte, despite the consensus of opinion of my wife’s family.

I flung open the cabinet doors and a container of Uncle Ben’s Instant Brown Rice took that opportunity to leap from a shelf. It was a quiet morning. You could hear a container of Uncle Ben’s Instant Brown Rice drop. On the counter below the cabinet, the Uncle Ben’s encountered my wife’s tall travel mug that had managed to become separated from its lid. The mug, no doubt surprised to be hit by a falling package of Uncle Ben’s Instant Brown Rice, tipped over.

This incident wouldn’t have been worth mentioning had the mug been empty. There was coffee in it. Cold coffee. My wife had run out of day before she’d run out of coffee.

The freed coffee became a flash flood. It might have been a tsunami. It would still be flowing had it not encountered the front of my Fruit of the Looms.

You can’t get that at a coffee shop.

I’ll bet Marshal Matt Dillon never had that happen to him.

It was a less than enjoyable experience. It put a crick into my entire body and caused me to forget what a hypotenuse was.

I might have said, “Yipes!” or muttered something in a foreign language that I don’t speak. It did get the morning off to an interesting start, but I’ve never delighted in such a coffee experience and I always will.

I don’t blame Uncle Ben’s Instant Brown Rice, and Uncle Ben’s Instant Brown Rice doesn’t blame itself. Stanislaw Jerzy Lec wrote, “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

As each of us kicks the can down the road of life, we will encounter people who are definitely not morning people. You run into them here and there. They are grumpy or groggy or both. Some may be allergic to mornings. Others are morning persons only on Dec. 25 and in the afternoon. They leave being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to the squirrels. Before you judge such a person harshly, please remember that they may have had an encounter with Uncle Ben’s Instant Brown Rice and an unsteady travel mug full of cold coffee.

If so, they may be shopping for splash-proof pajamas.