Wednesday, May 10, 2023

We Have an Alarming Problem

We have an alarm clock problem. The main problem is I still like my alarm clock. I don’t want to have my phone plugged in and charging right next to my head all night. I want it in another room where it can’t bother me. I purposely don’t call or text people in the middle of the night, and I don’t want to know if they call or text me.

Also, when I want to know what time it is in the middle of the night, I just want to roll over and look. I don’t want to have to pick anything up and make it shine in my face.

Also, one of my favorite things in the world is waking up and thinking my alarm is about to go off, then rolling over to look at the time, only to gleefully discover that it’s still the middle of the night and I get to sleep for four more hours. That moment of joy somehow wouldn’t be the same if I had to extend my arm out from under the cozy covers and pick up my phone.

None of this would be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that my current alarm clock is failing. It’s failing in a really weird way, though. It still tells the time perfectly well, and it has never failed to wake me when I’ve asked it to. The problem is it wakes me - or more to the point, it wakes my wife - when I haven’t asked it to.

In addition to my alarm schedule, it seems to have one of its own.

It has a switch to turn the alarm on and off. In the “on” setting you can choose between a beep, or the radio. The switch even has an indicator light on the display, confirming your desire to have an alarm or not. The clock doesn’t seem too concerned about the status of that switch anymore.

As an example, this past Sunday was a sleep-in morning, so I had chosen “no alarm” with the now, apparently, meaningless switch. The clock had other plans, and fired up a Spanish radio show at 5:30 am, but then kindly shut itself off almost immediately. It’s often considerate like that.

It fired up a second unasked-for and unappreciated alarm at 6:00 am, and that time I had to shut the beeping off myself.

At least my rogue alarm clock tries to keep it fun, though. In addition to random Hispanic talk shows, it occasionally decides to do a completely different alarm noise. Instead of the standard beep, beep, beep sound, it does some funky electronic celebration song, like those ancient hand-held video games made when you scored a touchdown.

That’s not an advertised feature of the clock, and there does not seem to be any switch or setting where I could choose the Mattel football fight song. It just happens every once in a while in place of the regular beep, as if to say, “Hey, it’s time to wake up, champ. Go out there and be your best self. Score a metaphorical touchdown today, winner!”

Here’s the thing: none of this bothers me enough yet to get rid of it. I think the weird celebration song is fun, and I have been blessed with the ability to fall right back to sleep if it’s not time to get up. My wife, however, was not blessed with that ability.

She does not like my alarm clock. At all.

I tried to replace it. I really did! No one makes good alarm clocks anymore. The display on mine is green, and it’s just the right amount of non-intrusive brightness. I tried one with red numbers and one with white, and they both lit up the room like a desk lamp. I think the red one was actually giving us a tan.

I would steal my wife’s alarm clock on her side of the bed, because she uses her phone now like the rest of the world, but her clock absolutely sucks at being a clock. It gains at least a minute about every two days. Left unchecked, I would be getting up an hour earlier than I wanted to within a month.

My wife has made countless pleas for me to get rid of it, along with more than a few threats on my life immediately after unscheduled alarm incidents. I’m going to have to give in sooner or later, for the sake of my marriage and health, but I think the clock just bought me a little more time, so to speak.

Our power was out overnight a few days ago, so I was forced to have my phone by my bed. My alarm clock was completely off. No display, no nothing. But wouldn’t you know it, at exactly 5:30 am, that bad boy sounded a steady beep, beep ,beep to wake me up.

No lights, no display, no power anywhere in the house, but by God, that wasn’t going to stop it from doing its job.

It may be crazy, random, broken, and possibly possessed, but it’s still strangely and incredibly reliable. How can you abandon a trusted friend like that?

I mean, I really wanted to get up at 6:00, but still…

See you soon,



Copyright © 2023 Marc Schmatjen


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