Nothing Good Ever Happened Before 9:00 PM

"Nothing good ever happened after midnight."

I've heard that more than once from people who say it with tight-lipped disapproval. People who clutch their pearls whenever someone has fun after dark. People who still don't do things "on a school night," even after their own kids have grown up and moved out.

Except after midnight is when all the best stuff happens.

It was the best, most important secret I learned in college: All the great conversations happened after midnight, the good parties went on way after midnight, and all the good stories take place after midnight.

After midnight was so cool, Eric Clapton recorded a song about it. He said he was gonna let it all hang down. "We gonna get some satisfaction, We gonna find out what it is all about."

There was even some talk of tambourine shaking, although I still don't know if that's a euphemism.

As great as midnight is, the best stuff happens much later.

"We talked until two, And then she said, 'It's time for bed,'" sang The Beatles in Norwegian Wood.

The Dropkick Murphys said in Famous For Nothing, "The barrel fire's fading, My pals are disappearing, another night is passing but I won't go, It's 2AM at townie, and things are going my way."

Mötörhead sang in Fast and Loose, "Two o' clock in the morning baby, I know it's late, I know it's late, I'm dark and I like the night, And I can make you feel alright."

But it wasn't just the rockers who were causing trouble in the wee small hours. Glenn Miller's In The Mood was all about late nights: "I said 'Hey, baby, it's a quarter to three There's a mess of moonlight, won't-cha share it with me.'"

Even the Andrews Sisters were a naughty bunch. They sang in Three O'clock in the Morning: "It's three o'clock in the morning, We danced the whole night through, And daylight will soon be dawning, Just one more waltz with you."

Midnight isn't the problem, it's 9:00 PM. Nothing good ever happened before 9:00 PM. No good song ever said, "I watched a little television, and then turned in at 9:00."

Billy Joel's regular crowd started shuffling in at 9:00 on a Saturday. And Chuck Berry said in Reelin' and Rockin', "Well I looked at my watch, it was 9:32. There's nothing I would rather do than dance with you."

But I have yet to hear about cool stuff happening in the morning. I mean actual cool stuff, not the stuff the Type A overachievers like to talk about.

I can't stand Type A overachievers in the morning. Don't get me wrong, they're wonderful people, but only after 10:00 AM.

They're ones whose eyes pop open 30 seconds before the alarm goes off at 5:00 AM, excited to face the day. They're excited to go for a run. They're excited for their breakfast kale smoothie. And they're excited to listen to their new Tony Robbins audiobook, "I Don't Actually Need The Money."

They post Instagram pictures of themselves achieving, achieving, achieving ("#SmugLife"), just a little achievement factory chugging along, popping out accomplishments like rabbit pellets.

In my family, 5:00 AM is a monster story we tell our kids so they'll go to bed by 1:00. As in "If you don't go to bed, I'm going to set my phone alarm for 5:00 AM and hide it in your room."

That's the great thing about a family full of creatives. My wife is a singer and actor, I'm a writer, and my kids are all home schooled. That means none of us ever goes to bed before midnight, and we typically don't get out of bed until 9:00 the next morning.

It doesn't hurt that most of our friends are writers and entertainers. We all have that shifted schedule of working late, going to bed late, and getting up late. When we hang out with friends, it's not uncommon to be out at 12:00. On a school night, no less. No one looks at their watch and shrieks, "12:00? I should have been in bed three hours ago!"

No, our friends look at their watches and say, "12:00? I got a few more hours."

Wilson Pickett waited for the midnight hour before his love came tumbling down. KISS said at 12 o'clock, they gotta rock. Journey's small town girl took the midnight train going anywhere. And Patsy Cline said "I go out walking after midnight, there in the moonlight, That's the place I want to be."

There's nothing wrong with being a night owl. If you like working late at night, don't let those Type A overachiever business articles shame you into getting up early. Just like they're more productive when they get up in the morning, some of us do our best work when the rest of the city sleeps. You're not missing out just because you didn't get up early enough to sit in rush hour traffic for an actual hour. For some of us, 6:00 AM is still three hours before we wake up.

Or as Sir Paul McCartney wrote and Ringo Starr sang, "Six o'clock in the morning, you've just gone to sleep."

Photo credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

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