I remember when I was little, and I haven’t been little for a long time. Since I’m over six feet, I had to start very young and just keep at it to get this tall. Nevertheless, when I was little, I was confused by the saying “hit the hay.” I grew up on the farm. I knew what hay was. My grandfather grew it. His field of alfalfa was across the road from our place. That was hay. Why anyone would want to punch the alfalfa was beyond me.
However, after a long day of plarking* which had followed a very short previous night of sleeping, I’m soothed by the knowing that sometime a smidgen before nine, I’m going to be in bed. Fortunately I had figured out some years back, maybe when I was medium, that I didn’t have to spend the night slugging an alfalfa bale. What they were really talking about was straw, which would make a much better mattress anyway with fewer poking stems.
So right after dinner, I head back to the bedroom to prepare for bed. Oh, yes, there are still jobs that could be done, squeezed into the last crack of my consciousness. But I suffer no guilt or shame because I read it right at the top of the “Things I get to do today: hit the hay before nine.”
*You’ll just have to figure out the meaning of this word on your own this time.