On Not Being an Early Bird
This is for the benefit of those people who honestly can't understand
why everybody doesn't wake up early every morning, even when they don't
actually have to.
put it, "the early worm deserves
- Alternatively, and also according to Heinlein,
"if the early bird catches the worm, that only proves that the
worm should have stayed in bed".
- Heinlein's character Lazarus Long goes on to explain:
...But getting up early does not get more work done...
any more than you can make a piece of string longer by cutting off
one end and tying it onto the other. You get less
work done if you persist in getting up yawning and still tired. You
aren't sharp and make mistakes and have to do it over. That sort of
busy-busy is wasteful. As well as unpleasant. And annoying to those
who would sleep late if their neighbors weren't so noisily active at
some ungodly cow-milking hour. [...] progress doesn't come from early
risers – progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do
character Jake Stonebender has a similar opinion:
I had been a professional musician for a quarter of a century until
I gave it up to tend bar; Zoey still was one – or had been right up
until carrying both a baby and a bass guitar got to be too much for
her; it had been decades since either of us had willingly gotten up
at dawn. Dawn was what you occasionally stayed up as late as.
Sunlight gave you the skin cancer, everyody knew that.
Civilians got up at dawn, for heaven's sake.
- Montreal newspaper columnist Josh Freed once suggested that
"the early bird should catch something serious".
- John D. McDonald's character Travis McGee has a slightly
different take on that:
"The early bird who catches the worm works for someone who
comes in late and owns the worm farm."
- Besides, even if the early bird does get the worm, Ernst Berg
reminds us that it's the second mouse which gets the
- Worse still, Mike Sphar observed that,
"They say 'the early bird gets the worm'. What they often fail
to consider, however, is the early cat."
- Of course, anyone who thinks of programming as "quality time"
only see the sun rise if they've been
up all night". (That's partly because "in general no Real
Programmer works 9 to 5, except those on the night shift".)
- After all, according to Ron DeBlock, "if God had meant
for Man to see the sun rise, He would have scheduled it later in the
- That may be because, according to Orson Scott Card, "Early
to bed, early to rise, makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes."
- The following definition comes from
The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce:
The time when men of reason go to bed. Certain old men prefer to rise
at about that time, taking a cold bath and a long walk with an empty
stomach, and otherwise mortifying the flesh. They then point with pride
to these practices as the cause of their sturdy health and ripe years;
the truth being that they are hearty and old, not because of their
habits, but in spite of them. The reason we find only robust persons
doing this thing is that it has killed all the others who have tried it.
- Or, in other words, "Early to rise, early to bed, makes a
man healthy, wealthy and dead".
- ...although the fact is that everyone is an early riser;
it's just that
some of us live in the wrong time zone.
[ SMW, June 2014 ]