Rick's Space

How Cool Are We?




I resent some of you “early-risers” because you’ve gotten smug about your ability to get out of bed early.

I’d love to get up at the crack of dawn, believe me. It’s so peaceful. The rising sun is so magical. The birds sing their morning songs.

At least that’s what I’m told. The only time I ever got up early was when a had a prostrate exam scheduled — the freaking birds (and bees) were the last things on my mind.

I’m a sleeper. I get up at 8, pour a big mug of coffee, and sit down at my desk — only because I have to, because I work for a living.

“You’re missing the best part of the day,” you early-risers say. I hate hearing that.

“I’m up and out by six.”

“I get up at the crack of dawn,” you brag. “I get up when the rooster crows.”

Big deal. When people say that to me now I reply, “Yeah? I got up at 12:01 AM! That’s right. One second after midnight. The beginning of morning. It is literally impossible to get up earlier than me!”

I have hated leaving my warm bed since I was first forced to attend school as a five year old. It’s been that way — school or work, for the past 50 years.

Truth is, people who get up early often have no choice — we are the working class.

Then there are those born into money. There is a new breed of successful people — the Hamptons is the epicenter — who have it made, but that’s not enough. They want to rub it in our faces, very subtly.

“George and I have made a commitment to healthy living. We realize now our bodies are a sanctuary for purity. You should try it!”

There it was. The putdown. That they were doing something we weren’t, the implication being whatever we were doing (and they don’t care) couldn’t possibly have been as exciting as what they were doing.

“We’re going to Aruba for three weeks! You should come!”

They know we are not going to Aruba, or we would have said something. They also know even if we wanted to at that point it’s too late to get a flight, a hotel, and so on.

“Actually we were all set to go but I canceled last week,” I replied.

“Why?”

“I found out you were going. We decided to go to Flint instead.”

We have friends who go to every big movie, usually on opening night. They look at us like we are crazy when we say we didn’t see the movie. The wife, who I’ll call Agnes, gets a bit teary-eyed.

”What do you mean you didn’t see it? It was one of the great cinematic experiences of my life!”

I never know what to say. “I’ll just have to find the inner strength to survive until ‘The Chipmunk Movie’ comes out on DVD,” I finally mutter.

We watch movies cuddled up on the couch with our beloved Coca Belle in between us. And if I occasionally put it on pause to make a hot fudge sundae with Haagen Dazs vanilla, melted milk chocolate, and fresh whipped cream, is it so bad? Is that such a depraved life?

But see? I just did it. I flaunted. I related a pleasurable thing that I had and by implication I felt pity for you because you either didn’t have a hot fudge sundae or, even worse, used a supermarket-brand vanilla ice cream.

Next time you eat at some swanky restaurant and brag about it ask yourselves why you didn’t invite the guys working in your yard to attend with you.

Next time you want to discuss the new opera at The Met (“You didn’t see it? Why?”), ask yourself why you don’t go over the wrong side of the tracks and ask the migrants what they thought about it.

It’s all about contact.

When we vote, we too often vote because we want the little guy to get a fair shake and then some: free medical, food stamps, higher wages, and so on. That’s a good thing.

But when you live your sanitized life in such a way that you don’t even realize what a arrogant phony you’ve become, that’s when you get the country in trouble.

You can’t assuage your guilt by voting one way and living another.