Al Batt: ‘I got too much sleep,’ said no one ever in their right mind

Published 8:26 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Tales from Exit 22 by Al Batt


I got out of bed and tripped over a toenail clipping.

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That put a bruise on the morning’s sweetness.

Note to self: Do not clip toenails in the bedroom.

Everyone is a morning person. Morning may come later for some folks than for others. Some might find their mornings in the afternoon. There’s nothing wrong with that.

I’d just become one with my bed when the alarm went off. I had to punch the alarm clock many times before it agreed to be silent. Every day is the same but different. Morning has many moving parts.

There is no right way to start the day. The secret is to start. This time of the year, I move to a screen window to listen to a robin singing, “Cheer-up, cheerily, cheer-up, cheer-up, cheerily. Cheerily cheer-up cheer-up cheerily cheerily cheer-up!”

If it’s the first day of the month, I say “Rabbit, rabbit.” They’re supposed to be my first words on the month’s first day and bring good fortune. There’s nothing wrong with that. If I forget to say “Rabbit, rabbit” the first thing of the first day of the month (and I do forget), a friend told me that I could say “Tibbar, tibbar,” right before going to bed that night and still get a month’s worth of good luck. FDR apparently was a devotee of saying “Rabbit, rabbit.”

I say that on the first day of the month. What do I say the rest of the days of the month upon arising? I say “I don’t want to be a grownup, I don’t want to be a grownup.”

Checking a cellphone is the first thing done by many. I keep my cellphone out of the bedroom unless I employ it as a backup alarm clock. Habits have power. Getting out of bed is productive and a wonderful habit to have, even if you’re creaky and cranky while doing it.

I make the lengthy commute from bedroom to kitchen. A friend sleeps on the sofa when he wants to shorten his morning commute. My journey isn’t without peril. I need to not wake my wife and there are a couple of bends in the trail. There is no automobile required, which is a fine thing, but I do miss Gravy Thursday at the cafe. You could order whatever you wanted and the gravy was free. Gravy covers a multitude of sins, but not a closed eatery.

I have a homemade breakfast of hot or cold cereal, a banana, a slice of toast (made from potato bread, an odd yellowish-colored bread) covered in creamy peanut butter laced with honey, hot black tea and occasionally a glass of orange juice without pulp. I read as much of a book as I’m able at breakfast. I use a leather-covered, weighted bookmark to hold the pages open. A wonderful gift from my wife.

Morning is a mad rush for many people. They tell themselves how tired they are, shower with the dirty dishes, and chew some coffee beans while drinking a cup of hot water before making a return trip to the bathroom to inventory the toilet paper supply.

Having eaten, I step outside and walk. I walk uphill only. I walk until my bad knee barks. Every man has to have a bad knee. I recall an old joke made popular by Ellen DeGeneres, “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.” I’m lucky. I know where the heck I am. I listen to the radio via earbuds as I walk and do a risk assessment by checking the weather and the news.

After that, I tackle my list of things to do and think of a mythical land where I’d get them all done. I also have a list of things I’m not going to do. It’s a poor man’s agenda. I used to shave each morning back when that mattered. I deal with any family things I’d been made aware of and check the calendar for appointments. I make some phone calls. I like to hear important voices.

I recommend avoiding carp pudding for breakfast and not getting up too early. Look how that last part works out for an early worm. But get up earlier than someone somewhere. That way, if you’re ever accused of shiftlessness, you can say, “At least I’m not that guy. He sleeps later than I do.”

The best morning routine is to have gotten enough sleep the night before.

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday.