I believe in brain chemistry: endorphins, serotonin, etc. I also believe in self-control, positive thinking, cognitive therapy. But in the morning I believe in the chemical stuff more. I hate mornings. As soon as I open my eyes, I have this awful feeling of grief as if I just remembered someone died yesterday. And I have to be awake. I have to get up anyway. I have to face the world. And I really would rather go back to sleep and wake up when it’s over. The thing is, no one died yesterday. And this is just how I feel, before I have a single thought. There are no thoughts. Just this feeling. A feeling of dread, of sorrow, almost one of hatred. But then cognition gets going and I remind myself that this is just my pre-coffee self. Once I force myself to get up, and drink some java, the anger and dread subside, and the mind begins working better, and the feelings flee and become an echo of some forgotten misery that never really was. And the age-old debate continues: Do thoughts precede feelings? Or do feelings precede thoughts? There is no doubt in my mind the feelings run all amuck on their own. And my poor brain must interpret and regroup and redirect them at every turn. With the help of a cheap and legal stimulant. Thank God for coffee. It makes for a nice transformation from ugly muck-covered sewer lizard crawling to land (that’s me waking up) to an ethereal optimist emerging from said creature with a heartfelt smile of gratitude while the lizard withers away to oblivion. Until the morrow.