Welcome back boys & girls. From the bottom of my artistic, sarcastic, grammatically & politically incorrect heart, I want to apologize for my absence. My daytime revenue generation duties have occupied almost all of the bandwidth in my head for the last few months. When the left side of my brain is the dominant player, there’s very little space for sensitivity, humor and hijinks. I truly hope that someday I’ll figure out how to create a world of balance. For whatever it’s worth, if you are someone who misses the Large Man when he is away, please know that I miss him too. Only 2 things give me more pleasure than opening up a blank Word doc and typing out, The Large Man Chronicles.
Today’s story isn’t really a story, it’s a lament. I’m channeling a little bit of Seinfeld here:
“So what’s the deal with alarm clocks? Do they really suck, or what?”
Yes, Jerry, they really suck.
They suck like ticks on a huntin’ dawg, like distant cousins on a family trust, like leeches on a nut sack. (See Stand By Me)
I’m lucky that I usually don’t need an alarm clock. Most of my life I’ve had an internal rooster that crows sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 AM every day. You can insert some double entendre right there next to my internal “rooster” if you want, it’s taking all my literary discipline not to get sidetracked with that.
For as long as I can remember, as an adult, I wake up in that time slot and make a determination if I have to stay up. I have never missed a meeting, flight, or been late to work because I’ve overslept – I’ve been absent and late for lots of other reasons, but never for oversleeping.
But when my schedule changes, or when circumstances dictate rising earlier than 6:00 am, I must employ the services of my Sony “Dream Machine” digital clock radio, or the evil alarm app on my dumb phone, or the dreaded (and less dependable) wake-up call provided by whatever Hilton or Marriott property I’m currently sleeping with. As I stated earlier, I have been navigating unusually intense and treacherous waters in my day job over these last few months. Nothing sordid, evil, or unkind, just untypical…early flights to and fro, time zone changes, etc. So…lot’s of alarm clocks.
I didn’t have an alarm clock when I was a kid, I had my mom. Initially in the wake up process, my mom was very sweet. She would come downstairs to my room, and give my shoulder a gentle nudge, “Wake up, sunshine… it’s time for school” Never harsh, never mean, and never unkind… as long as I got up with the initial nudge. If a second reveille was required, it wasn’t as sweet.
As I grew older, and took a wife, the same loving and respectful treatment was always delivered in those wee hours of the morning, “Rise and shine, Handsome…time to conquer the world! You’re going to be President some day!”
I don’t think my wife really thinks I’m going to be President, she just likes for people to start the day with a great attitude. It’s one of the things I admire about her the most. Our children hop out of her car when they start their school day believing they can…whatever “can” entails. I love that.
That’s how one should start their morning – gently, calmly, and LOVINGLY, stirred into the new day. Not mechanically, electronically, or digitally shaken into it with sterile, heartless, LOVELESS buzzers, bells, whistles and beeps.
Stirred, not shaken.
Being mechanically or electronically, or even musically awoken is an assault on one’s spirit. It’s a sin against our humanity. It is a symptom of a society that has lost its way.
Alarm clocks don’t send us out into the world with confidence and security, Moms do…loving parents & spouses and partners do. Alarm clocks hurl us into the gravity of a given day and remind us that we are not in charge of our schedule, and therefore our lives.
A little internet research on alarm clocks and their inventors led me back to the mid 1800s. A French inventor named, Antoine Redier was awarded a patent for an adjustable mechanical alarm clock in 1847. There is some argument that a guy named Levi Hutchins from New Hampshire made one in the late 1700s. The Seth Thomas Clock Company got a patent on a small bedside alarm clock in 1876. Sometime around 1940, James Reynolds & Paul Schroth invented the first clock radio with an alarm.
All those guys are dicks.
I am of the opinion if employers and educators didn’t know the public had access to these soul sucking mechanical and electronic devices, they would have started office, store, factory, and school hours a little bit later. It’s the inventors of alarm clocks that screwed it up for the rest of us.
It is a known fact that a lack of sleep is detrimental to our health. It causes bone deterioration, skin irritation, digestive disorders, nerve damage, colds, flu, obesity, heart failure, whooping cough, and all forms of venereal disease. So…one could conclude, if there were no alarm clocks, we would all reside in a healthier world.
The only time alarm clocks should be employed in our daily lives is for waking up to fish, or to watch a sunrise at the beach, or to make babies (I think I read somewhere that female ovulation is at its peak when the male “internal rooster” crows…sometime between 5:30 – 6:00 AM). Otherwise, alarm clocks should be banned.
I love the early morning. I love the still and the darkness of the pre-dawn, and then listening to the world slowly wake up and begin its dance and song of a new day. Being in that moment, being able to witness that sound and motion – that symphony, is one of my most favorite things. But I love those things on my terms. I don’t like anyone, or anything, telling me what I have to do, and when I have to do it.
ESPECIALLY … with a soul sucking mechanical or electronic device.
I have 12 to 14 more years to work. You are all invited to my retirement party. If you can’t get there due to your schedule or whatever, I’ll just describe it for you here:
1. My boss will say a few words and shake my hand
2. I will say a few words about how I couldn’t have done it without all the love and support of my wife and family, and the amazing team of co-workers who allowed me to be part of their “family”
3. I will be given a nice gold watch
4. …and a hammer
I think you know what happens next…
Thanks for reading.