By Knight Pierce Hirst

What a difference a day makes – unless you’re going through life on automatic. Scientists are no help. They say we shouldn’t sleep late even if we have the chance. Supposedly not getting up at the same time every day has a negative effect on our biorhythms. Obviously, those scientists don’t have young children.

I try to get up before the alarm clock goes off. There’s no pushing the snooze button. If I snooze, I lose what I hope will be a head start on the day. For me getting up means washing my face, brushing my teeth, exercising, showering and dressing for the day. If I wasn’t running on automatic, I’d stall.

Because I can’t drink coffee, I can’t use it to jump start my day. Coffee pots that run automatically were invented for the millions of people who say that can’t do anything until they’ve had their morning coffee. Maybe Homeland Security should be protecting coffee importers, as well as public buildings and transportation.

Detroit invented automatic shift because drivers were tired of shifting. Because we’re so busy, we travel through our lives on automatic – especially men. They’ll travel for miles on automatic instead of asking directions.

A friend asks a favor, a neighbor needs help, a repairman asks if I can be home at a certain time and I automatically say yes. Later I ask myself why. I realize it’s time to shift gears. I need to give myself permission to say no, but not to say no to myself when I ask permission.

By the end of the week the refrigerator can run automatically. So can the stove and the microwave, but I’m out of gas. Instead of stopping to smell the roses, I smell leftovers to see if I can transform something into dinner. Can I use leftover minestrone to top baked potatoes or did I do that last night?

Although I’ve promised myself this will be the weekend I start reading my new book, the weekend turns into a blur of grocery shopping, errands and chores. Then it begins all over again.

If it’s Monday it must be laundry, car pool, dry cleaning and work I get paid for. The rest of the day, like the rest of the week, is a game of fill-in-the-blanks with miscellaneous appointments. Suddenly it’s Friday again. If I had time, I’d think of a way to slow time down.

KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life. Take a minute to make yourself smile at

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