91. Old alarm clock
© Bruce Goodman 9 January 2014

For thirty-two year, Lionel had the same wind-up alarm clock on his bedside table. It was green. It went tick-tick-tick softly during the night. It was reliable.

But why, thought Lionel after thirty-two years, should I put up with the tick-tick-tick softly through the night? Why should I wind it up faithfully night after night at bedtime? Why should I have to turn the bedside lamp on during the night when I want to know the time?

Lionel stored his faithful alarm clock on a shelf in the garage and bought a digital clock. It would shine in the dark. It could play his favourite classic rock to wake him. Lionel set the alarm for six o’clock.

He lay in bed in the dark. The clock said 23:44. He watched and waited. Soon it went 23:45. Ah! thought Lionel, now I can get to sleep. But soon the clock said 23:59. He waited for it to turn 00:00. Now! To sleep!

Soon it was 1:11, and then 1:23. It turned 1:34. There’s a pattern there, thought Lionel. That’s 1 plus 3 equals 4.

And then it was 2:22, and then 2:34. Now it was 3:01. Lionel couldn’t think of a pattern in that number. And then it was 3:33, and then 3:45, and then 4:44, and then 4:56. Now it was 5:05. That’s 5 plus 0 equals 5. And then it was 5:55, and then... Lionel fell asleep.

Suddenly it was 6:00.

Shrieking out at top volume, it was WHAM! of the 80s:


Lionel felt rotten tired. Before he left for work, he retrieved the old alarm clock, and posted online the sale of the digital: FREE TO A GOOD HOME OR ANY HOME FOR THAT MATTER. The offer was taken up in an instant.

That night... tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-

It was 5:55 in the morning. Lionel picked up his old alarm clock and threw it at the wall.

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