Skip to main content

Shame Yourself Into Good Health: A lazy man learns to love getting up at 6:30 a.m.

Okay, so I'm not lazy, per se. I'm just not a morning person. If I had my way I'd go to bed at 4:00 a.m. and wake up at noon every day. This is due to some weird quirk in my body chemistry which causes my overly-neurotic brain to stay fired-up until (and actually work better) well after midnight. Then, as a result, I'm unable to budge the next morning (any morning) when the alarm goes off. I hit the snooze an average of nine times per day. Average.

And yet...somehow for the past two weeks I've started learning how to wake up before dawn to go the gym. How is this possible? I'll give you the answer in one word: shame.

U.S. society is not geared for late sleepers. There's this whole "workday" business that starts at 9 and ends sometime after 5, with nothing so civilized as a seista built into it. Furthermore, we late-sleepers take a lot of flack from the rest of the seemingly-normal, early-rising world: "Oh, you just got up??" ... "You're still asleep??" etc. So you see there's this constant build-up of shame that happens over the years.  

Then of course, if you have some self-loathing tendencies to begin with, you naturally start to hate yourself for your late-sleeping habits. I've been trying for years (decades) to break myself of the luxury of late-morning sleep, but to no avail. I've never even been able to enjoy it (okay maybe a little) for all the shame I feel at being groggy and unkempt at 10:30 a.m. whilst others have had a four hour jump on the day.

Why was I never able to break myself of this habit? My desire to get the extra two or three hours of sleep simply out-weighed the shame I knew I would feel at waking up late. However, for some odd reason, now that I'm ## years old, the shame has built up to a point that I am now able to do it.

This very morning, I lay in bed -- wide awake -- at 6:15 a.m. trying to convince myself to go back to sleep and forget about going to the gym. But somehow I was able to talk myself around to realizing that if I stayed in bed and started my day my usual time, I'd so overcome with shame (I'm talking King Priam type shame) that my day would be ruined otherwise. And then there was the moment when my arm extended involuntarily and snapped-on my light, then involuntarily tore the covers off my body, and thrust me to my feet and it was too late to protest any more.

How did this happen? Shame, my friends. It's a powerful motivator.


Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review #146: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Issue: May 9, 2016

Story: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Rating: $

Review: I feel like this is a somewhat tired technique, straight out of Creative Writing 101: write a story consisting of three or four different snapshots or snippets out of a character's life at different ages, sort of like a series of written photographs. Fun perhaps, but strikes me as a bit amateurish. However, I also think L'Heureux succeeds here by pushing it a bit further, playing with the character's tentative attempts at something close to faith -- in childish, adult, and mature adult ways -- and tying all three "Short Moments" together in a subtle and readily decipherable way.

L'Heureux's prose and his frank humor and his ability to glorify and find the meaning in the mundane events and thoughts of every day life, and thereby turn the life of an ordinary person into a drama with meaning and significance puts me in mind of John Irving. As well a…

New Yorker Fiction Review #151: "The Bog Girl" by Karen Russell

From the June 20 issue...

My loyal readers (if there are still any, which I doubt) will know I'm usually not a fan of Magical Realism, which, as you may also know, is Karen Russell's stock in trade. That said, there's nothing I love more than having my antipathy for magical realism shattered by an awesome story like "The Bog Girl."

Briefly, an Irish teenager discovers the body of a young woman who as been buried in a bog for over 2,000 years and begins to date her. What more do you need, right? If I'd read that one-line description somewhere else, and wasn't on a mission to review every New Yorker short story, I doubt I'd have read "The Bog Girl." But maybe I should start doing a George Costanza and do the opposite of everything I think I should do.

Where Russell succeeds here is in two main areas: 1.) Making us really love Cillian, the teenager who falls in love with the bog girl, and 2.) pulling the unbelievable trick making the characters…

Water Review: San Pellegrino 250ml Bottle

Damn you, tiny little bottle of San Pellegrino. So little. So cute. But what are you really good for other than to make me wish I had a full bottle of Pellegrino? 
Good as a palate cleanser after a nice double espresso, I will give it that. But little else. The suave yet chaotic burst of Pellegrino bubbliness is still there, but with each sip you feel the tragedy of being that much closer to the end of the bottle, that much faster.

This is a bottle of water made specifically for the frustrated, for the meticulous, for the measurers among us with a penchant for the dainty. This water does not love you in the wild, on a sunny porch or with the raucous laughter of friends. No...much the opposite. Whatever that may be.

Best drunk in tiny, tiny sips, while forcing oneself through an unreadable and depressing Russian novel one does not want to read but feels one should, on a cold, wet day in December that promises four months of gloom and depression...or in pairs or threes and poured over …