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Dry Martino: Wakey-Wakey

This column originally ran on Dec. 4, 2008

I have always been an early riser. From the time I could walk—or even before—I was up early in the morning. My parents talk of the days when they would wake to the Star Spangled Banner. This was before 24/7 cable TV, 30-minute infomercials and the like. For those of you who don’t remember these times, I assure you they existed. Networks would literally sign off for a period of time, and then you would only get the dreaded TV snow and awful hiss out of the speakers. Then, the station would begin its broadcast day with the national anthem. And I was there to greet them.

No matter what time I fall asleep at night, I am usually up before 7 a.m. Even after a long night of revolution, my eyes are open when first light cracks over the horizon. Maybe this is why I have always loved fishing—it’s never been a problem getting out of bed and to the water before most people greet the day. I have always loved these early hours because they really are mine. I have seen the sun rise countless times from a jetty, beach or boat and probably missed some fish for the purpose of just standing there and being alone when the sun begins to paint the water purple, red, orange and every other color imaginable on some days.


The early morning has allowed me to find time to read and meditate in my unconventional way. I have watched full movies before 8 a.m. With the advent of cable, anything is possible. Last year I found out the original Star Trek runs at 6 a.m. on TV Land, and although I am a Comic-Con type of fan I have always loved the campy nature of the original series. Shatner can be such a tool. These are the hours for infomercials, too, and thankfully I have never fallen victim to one. However, I want to give props to my favorite. It is for a male enhancement pill. The set is a living room. A smarmy, creepy guy is sitting in an easy chair talking to a few women seated nearby. They all giggle nervously as they praise the pill, which has presumably acted like an air pump to their partner’s, um, balloon. The best are the man-on-the-street interviews they do to bolster the show. Each man looks proud, while the woman gives the old wink-and-nod treatment to the camera. (Note: This paragraph took over an hour to write, since everything could have been a double entendre. Plus, in my sleep-deprived state, I always debate the question—if I knew it worked, would I pick up the phone?)

The most beautiful mornings I have ever spent were in my daughter’s earliest days, when I would take her from her bassinette or crib and feed her in the pre-dawn, looking at her most beautiful face as she settled in to the crook of my arm, her little fingers exploring my hands and grabbing on for dear life. As she grew older, we still enjoyed the mornings. These days, she can be a bit of a pill on school days, but on weekends the earlier she is up, the happier she is. Sometimes it works for me, too.

I can’t say I leap out of bed with a jump in my step, ready to greet the day with a smile. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I am extremely envious of people who can sleep as long as they would like, provided they needed the sleep—which I desperately need as I write this column. Some of my saddest moments have come in the morning, after a fitful sleep fraught with worry and concern. The point is, the bad also gets to me in my sleep, so I might as well face the day.

In my waking hours, I have the chance to fix things. I can spend some time gathering myself and my strength. I can walk along an ocean or strum a chord. To me, the mornings are a blank slate, uncrowded and serene. And since most people want to sleep them away I will keep them to myself. I will always be a morning person.

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