Convenient alarms? I don’t think so…

Engaged in a seemingly endless search for a reasonably priced clock radio last weekend, I was thoroughly overwhelmed by the remarkable number of special features offered by eager-to-please manufacturers – multiple speakers, compact disc players, emergency weather alerts and, in one case, the awe-inspiring sounds of an Apache helicopter gunship taking off.

One much-touted feature of 21st-century clock radios, however, caught my eye again and again: “Convenient alarm!”

Uh-huh. Convenient alarm…

Sorry, amigos. There is no such thing as a convenient alarm. After all, the purpose of an alarm is to wake you up and, no matter how you look at it, that’s damned inconvenient.

When that alarm goes off, you’re asleep. The only convenient thing you can experience when you’re asleep is more sleep.

Oh, sure, you can dress it up all you want: “Wake to the sounds of a gentle waterfall!” or “Greet the dawn with the subtle music of songbirds!”

(Or the less-than-subtle sounds of an Apache gunship taking off to take care of business…).

Of course, you might opt to set your convenient clock radio alarm to your favorite radio station, in which case you’ll probably be awakened each day by the sounds of an early morning talk show – you know, something like “Tweak an’ Spud in the Morning!”

These intellectually stimulating programs usually revolve around a couple of broadcast cretins arguing with some call-in cretins over whether George W. Bush or Ted Kennedy is the bigger cretin. Yeah, that’s gonna make you want to leap out of bed and take on the world…

Unfortunately, the end result is always the same no matter what alarm option you finally choose – that infernal piece of intrusive technology relentlessly hammering you into wakefulness whether you’re feeling wakeful or not.

And your “convenient alarm” cares not whether you’re dreaming about a romantic encounter with Angelina Jolie, accepting applause from an adoring crowd at your debut rock concert or about to cross the finish line at the Indy 500.

I know what some of you are thinking – “But, like, duuuude, that alarm could also save you from a reeeeeal bad nightmare, like you were falling out of a hot air balloon into a live volcano filled with rabid rats or something….”

Nice try, but that just doesn’t cut it, amigos. Even the most horrific nightmares have endless possibilities the longer they’re allowed to play out in your fevered mind. Before that nightmare’s over, you may fall into the that active volcano but land in the arms of the aforementioned Angelina Jolie.

If your alarm goes off before your nightmare reaches its logical – or illogical – conclusion, you’ll roll out of bed, eat a bowl of misshapen wheat byproduct and trundle off to work, never knowing what was waiting for you inside that volcano. This is, like, a neurosis in the making.

Convenient alarms? Never going to happen, amigos…

Originally published January 1, 2006

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