I read Paul Theroux‘s “The Mosquito Coast” two or three years before Peter Weir‘s 1986 screen adaptation, which has a reputation today (among the few who even remember it) of being a grimly fascinating tale of obsession and neuroses, and particularly one that failed at the box office.
But I’ve never forgotten “four o’clock in the morning courage,” an Allie Fox phrase (actually stolen from something Napoleon Bonaparte once said) that Theroux used once or twice during the novel’s first half.
Ever since that phrase sunk in, I’ve been telling myself that the real movers and shakers in life are those who can hop out of bed at 4 am (or any hour when it’s still dark) and man up and drill into the task at hand. Losers stay in bed and huddle until the break of dawn — winners wash their faces, put their boots on and face whatever adversity may be waiting. The world is for the few.
All my life I’ve been waking up at 6:30 or 7 am at the latest, going back to junior high school. But since falling and bruising my back a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been snoozing until 8 or even 9 am. Partly because my body needs the rest and rehab, and partly because I always wake up around 3 or 4 am, surf Twitter for a couple of hours, and then go back to sleep at 6 am or so.