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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Time and Time Again We Slowly Tick Away.

Occasionally I drift away from the hustle and bustle of news, both current and the old fermented stuff. Beyond my back door lives a noisy world where lately our whole planet seems to have become hostile and very angry.

In my apartment, if I so desire I can create calmness, or at the flick of a button allow a little circular piece of plastic covered with digital information to create music, speech or movies with thunderous reverberations or tinkling of a fine misty rain falling against my television screen.

Digital is wonderful. In my lifetime numerous changes have taken place to produce music, including but not necessary in this order; 78's, 45's, 33 and a 1/3's, eight tracks, cassettes and CD players. I have no idea about the new gadgets people are plugging into their heads like MP3 and Apple something or others.

In this age of depositing digital chips in every conceivable doohickey, from the family car to the voting machine, a person begins to surmise perhaps something is missing and I believe it is ingenuity since younger folks feel like a rocket scientist with just a computer chip and a hand full of wires.

I ask you this simple question, who is in charge of clocks nowadays.

On my wall ticks away a rare made in Japan school clock that is over a hundred years old and by moving a tiny little weight up or down a pendulum it will keep perfect time for three days, then with a key I wind the antique time piece and forget it.

There once was a time when a clockmaker had to sit down and design a clock with multiple gears, little bitty axles, main springs and a brass knob to set the time. I am amazed how they designed just the right little parts to allow it to keep near perfect time.

Now likely you are wondering what brought me to the pinnacle of this story. It is the fact people (me) can be suckered into paying sixty five dollars for a RCA alarm clock that makes Inspector Gadget look like a quadriplegic. The ninety-five page instruction manual, printed in 32 languages, states all you need do is plug it in and the time magically appears. Well it did for about two days.

From that moment on the clock had a mind of its own, likely controlled by an evil chip implanted deep within the hunk of plastic. The alarm went off when ever it so pleased and resetting the alarm, well let me just say, was impossible. The background digital dial color kept changing, the CD player would start to skip and trying to move on to the next song became futile, as was attempting to use the volume control.

I took the monster back to Best Buy just before Daylight Savings Time began, since the time control was linked to an atomic clock, likely in Iran. I just knew it was a James Bond style bomb with its digital seconds flashing just before a ground zero nuclear detonation took place. Somehow it found a space on my night stand. While dripping in fearful sweat, the clock was unplugged and returned.

I thought perhaps the Best Buy clerks would smirk under their breath, hand me another clock from under the counter and shove me out the door, but when the young lady looked on the computer and said with sadness in her eyes they no longer carry that brand so perhaps I would like to find something else to spend my credit on, feel free.

For some unknown reason I rode my wheelchair back to the alarm clock section only to find a Timex clock for ten dollars more than the returned one. I could only stand in fear thinking of the devastation a more expensive clock could wreak upon humanity. I slowly backed away.

As I laid down my pile of DVD's on the counter in order to use my return credit, a back-in-time flash took me to grandma's house and thoughts of how I was lulled off to sleep with the loud ticking of her wind up Big Ben alarm clock. Waking up in the morning seemed so simple and safe for neurotics like me.

Now, if you folks will excuse me I need to get on ebay and find a Big Ben ASAP. Only one problem--there is a chip somewhere in the computer that remembers my previous visits.



boberin said...

It's amazing how "easy" life is and how much time these devices "save" us each day, isn't it?...NOT!
Reminds me of the original tag line meant to sell us all on nuclear power (you have to be old to remember this) "the power generated in this manner will be too cheap to even monitor"

MargeinMI said...

In my speed reading, I originally thought you said 'evil chimp.' Been hanging at Blame Bush too much I guess. :o)

ontopic: I bought a nice wall clock for my livingroom last summer at a garage sale. It runs on batteries, which is great as every other clock in my house goes blinkyblinky every time the power blinks. It also has Roman numerals instead of numbers. This was a challange for the boy, as he had no idea (lesson time) what they were. The concept of where the hands are pointing took some 'spainin' too, as this is a digital world now. He's getting it, but the phrase 'quarter to' needs to be translated into 'hour 45.'

Ms. RightWing, Ink said...

I know what you mean with children and digital clocks. The idea of moving hands is about as foriegn to them as a sundial is to me.

PS, The evil chimp is hidden in the story along with Ronald Regan's Bonzo

JAINPHX said...

What ever happened to the days when we would sneek the old roman numeral clock in Mrs. O'dells room ten minutes fast every Friday to get a jump on the weekend.cant hardly do that no more.Oh well!

The trotting Possum said...

I am going to wind my "railroad" pocket watch, and sleep with it under my good ear tonight.

I have a Big Ben, but it's only right twice a day, at 2:30.

The switch the DST this week only required resetting four digital clocks, the coffee maker, and an answering machine.

One of the best ways to calm young puppies, newly weaned from their mamas, is to put a loudly ticking analog clock into the bed with them. If you aren't going to sleep with them personally, and give them the benefit of your respiration, a loudly ticking clock is the next best thing.

Ms. RightWing, Ink said...


Glad to see you made it to the cafe. We had a seat reserved for you ya know. (sorry it had to be in the smoking section)

I used that clock method before, it worked but when I got my basset hound puppy I put her in her dog carrier/cage with warm blankets and she slept like a log. From that point on until she died, that was "her" home within my home.


We had glass enclossed clocks that had hands which jumped every minute. The manufacture was IBM, that is what it said on the dial. I asked my older brother what IBM meant and he said International Bomb Maker. Being a cold war child I feared that thing on the wall, I guess that is why I fear clocks that are set by ?radio waves? to a nuclear clock.

I shall return to using my little cheap digital AM/FM clock radio a Newhall, Ca bank gave me in 1989 for opening an account. It didn't cost $63 and wakes me up to my favorite conservative talk radio program.

Better than a toaster anyday

Nylecoj said...

Speaking of puppies and clocks, my grandson, who will be two in July loves clocks. The ticking ones at least. So I guess that trick is good for 'people puppies' as well.

Ms. RightWing, Ink said...


I was off correcting a few boo boos found on the story, which answers my question, if I am editing can people still read it. I guess so.

Maybe there is hope for the new generation. Do they have a name yet like boomers, gen x and so on

JAINPHX said...

All this new technology ah progress.

JAINPHX said...

Margeinmi; was born an raised in Detroit lived there for fifty years before moving here to Phoenix 15 years ago

Nylecoj said...

I sure hope they haven't been named yet, just what we need is more labels.

camojack said...

"Only one problem--there is a chip somewhere in the computer that remembers my previous visits."

No problem; empty your "History" and "Temporary Internet" folders...

MargeinMI said...


Good move on your part! I left in 1977 and never looked back.