Morning Sickness

I pretend to be a morning person.

One of the musical artists that God and I really admire is Ben Folds. Back in 1995 Ben wrote a song called “Best Imitation of Myself.” It’s a song about putting on a facade, but a facade that none-the-less strives to show a version of the real you. Your public persona, as it were. That’s not the kind of pretending I’m talking about.

There are lies that people tell themselves until they begin to believe them. And even lies they tell other people until both they and those other people begin to believe them. That’s closer to the sort of pretending I’m talking about.

But in a good way.

God says it’s like telling myself “little white lies,” until I believe them.

The human mind has an enormous capacity to ignore reality and substitute its own. That’s really the basis of hypnotism, we use trance states and mental gimmickry to program a new reality into our brains. We can tap into that ability to ignore the tremendous hurt, pain, and devastation that our selfish actions thrust upon the world, as so many Wall Street execs have amply demonstrated; or we can use this quirk of human nature to make ourselves into better people than is our natural inclination, to encourage ourselves to every day make some small contribution to the betterment of all mankind.

I’m doing none of that. I’m just pretending. And I’m doing it to make my own life a little better but not at the expense of everyone else. In fact, by making my own life a little better, I’m actually making other people’s lives a little better too, but that’s a completely accidental side effect.

See, like so many people I’m really fond of electric light. It allows me to do things when the sun isn’t bothersomely out visible in the sky. Ever since I read Tolkien’s most famous works back when I was in Junior High, I’ve called the sun by its rightful name, “the evil yellow-face.” This has a lot to do with having what George Carlin refers to as “phosphorescent Irish skin.” I don’t tan, I freckle. And as a lot of people can tell you, the road to freckles is paved with second degree sunburns. So like I was saying, I like to do things at night, which leads to staying up late, which leads to sleeping in late, which leads to not being a “morning person.”

But then I moved to Arizona, to the Sonoran Desert. As much as I dislike the morning sun, that’s got nothing on the sun that’s out in the afternoons in Phoenix. So I learned to do things like go to the zoo from seven in the morning until no later than nine or ten. I did my grocery shopping when the store first opened in the morning. Anything I could do before noon, I did. And I discovered that even in Phoenix, when it came to not being a morning person, I was a pauper. I could pretend to be a morning person and go out and get stuff done. Other people, didn’t seem to be able to do this.

So I not only got to do things in the cool of the day, I got to do them relatively alone. And I may have mentioned before, I’m rather fond of being alone. So I’m not in Phoenix anymore but I still look for ways to do things when other people aren’t, I still pretend to be a morning person, it’s just that now I do it to save my sanity, not to save my skin.

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